Anna: Today, I joined my first flickr photo group. It's called Love My Parts, and is a particular self-portrait group. While I don't expect to be doing anything as fantastically creative as some talented people, I have been interested in the concept, and I think this group fits the bill.
The purpose of the group is to take pictures of those parts of your body you might not be comfortable with, and to learn learn to accept our bodies as they are. Personally, I really don't have any parts that bother me. Living in a culture that constantly bombards us with images of what we "should" look like, or what beauty is suppose to be, I think it's a great idea to show what real, non airbrushed bodies look like.
This is my first Love My Parts photo. My broken up, battered feet.
Some 15 years ago, I was a little more active than I should've been (ha! Now that's an understatement!) and hurt them pretty badly. I did mention them to the doctor during one of my regular visits, but it seemed downright silly to complain about sore feet. After all, everyone gets sore feet, right? I also come from a family that, if it isn't broken or bleeding profusely, we just patch ourselves up and keep on going. Sometimes, we keep on going even when things *are* broken, which I seem to have done all those years ago. I now believe I had developed a whole bunch of stress fractures. I should've stayed off my feet to let them heal, but that just wasn't an option.
It was about 3 years before I was able to walk without constant pain, though the bones did sometimes dislocate unexpectedly.
About 6 years later, the pain came back - and then some. Not only did my feet hurt as badly as when I'd first injured them, but I began to have shooting pains in my lower legs. It got to the point that just getting out of bed was almost more than I could bear, and walking from one end of the house to the other was a major accomplishment. I've never lived with such pain before in my life - and that's saying a lot with me!
I finally dragged myself to a doctor; someone I'd never seen before, as we were in a new province. When I told her why I was there, she looked me up and down and gently suggested that it "might be because you're a bit large." Which is a polite way of saying, your feet hurt because your fat. *eyeroll* I pointed out to her that she had it backwards. I was gaining weight because I could barely friggin' walk. So she sent me for blood tests to make sure my thyroid wasn't screwy, and that I wasn't diabetic. *sigh* I figured it would be faster to just go for the blood tests, which I was due for anyways, than argue with her. My blood tests came back, in her word, "perfect." When I reminded her of why I was there, she sent me for X-rays.
Which is when I found out that I had developed severe osteoarthritis in both feet and both knees. I also had bunions. And bones spurs in both knees. And a bone spur in one heel (I now have them in both heels).
Getting that diagnosis was the best thing ever. It didn't help my feet any - nothing helped until we moved away from the "wet coast" and back to the dry prairies - but knowing that I wasn't actually a wuss complaining about my 'poor widdle tootsies' changed my thinking.
Today, my feet still hurt sometimes, though nothing like they did while we were living on the coast. The bones still dislocate, and sometimes my knees like to "sing" to me, letting me know it's time to slow things down.
But - I can walk. Not very fast and sometimes not very far, but that's ok. I can walk. And that's something I've learned to appreciate a great deal.