Lipedema becomes very disfiguring in later stages, which can make it extremely difficult to “fit in”, and feel good about ourselves. The psychological distress can be overwhelming.
Early on in my diagnosis I felt this way, it was gradual, and got worse and worse as I listened to the advice being given to newly diagnosed, to not exercise, as they thought it would make our condition worse. Then in 2013, realizing I was already worse by listening to that advice, I began training in CrossFit (with my husband, a CF instructor).
I have gotten a lot stronger, and reclaimed all my mobility that was lost due to following the advice, but the shape of my body has not changed.
So what did change?
I changed. Emotionally, I changed. I began joining plus size fashion and fitness groups, and following body positive (bopo) people on Instagram. I soon realized I really liked seeing folks my size doing sports, working out, moving their bodies, and taking up space in our world.
I began to realize that I would not say anything negative about any of the bodies I saw in these groups, so why was I saying them about myself? And that began to change how I thought about, felt about, and talked about myself.
I began to thank my body, I began to love my body. I have no control over having Lipedema, but I do have control over how I respond to it, how I live with it, and I’m so thankful my body is such a fighter.
This artwork came about after I shared a video of my lifting a heavy bag during one of our workouts to a body positive fitness group. A group member, Kristen Pednaud commented on the video with this incredible picture she drew of me. Kristen is such a wonderful artist, I highly recommend checking out her page on Instagram (@kristenpednaud), or her website: www.dobbydoodles.com - she does pet portraits, too!
I was so touched and fell in love with the artwork, I think I look like a character from the movie The Incredibles! I talked to another Lipedema artist friend about this, how moved I was by it all, and she loved it and asked me to be her muse, which started another series, which I will share soon.
Having someone turn you into art is such an honor. Seeing yourself as art, is life changing.
My journey with Lipedema has been an interesting one. Filled with self discovery, and growing self love, and I’m excited to see where it continues to go. I’m not healed, in fact I’m progressing, as Lipedema is a progressive condition, but emotionally I’m healing more and more every day.