Today’s post is written by Ailsa Marie at Thrive Not Survive. She is 26 years old, from the UK. She is beautiful, not broken.
I have a rare vascular condition (congenital venous malformation/klippel-trenauny syndrome) that has caused a leg length difference and Osteoarthritis to one leg. My leg looks very different to the “norm” with many large veins and clusters of veins sitting just below the skin. This leg is also now 3cm’s shorter than the other so I limp. This causes me chronic pain. Thought-out my life I have hidden my leg and made excuses, avoided questions, events and clothing etc in an exhausting attempt to portray that “I’m fine”. So many people have asked me questions “What have you done to your leg?” “How come you limp?” “What’s wrong with you?” and all I have previously replied has been a lie, “I’m fine”, or some variation where I am hiding my illness and pain. My loved ones ask me so regularly if I’m ok, need help, want to rest etc that my automatic response is “I’m fine”. I know I do this because on some level I fear people viewing me as less, as weaker, as a burden or an inconvenience. When I was younger I never thought anyone wanted to know or cared enough to listen or they were being nosey rather than concerned. Why when I am in pain do I wear a constant smile and try not to let it show? With my family I never wanted to regularly upset them with the truth about my pain. I’ve come to realise that I am letting myself down when I do this; I have every right to tell people why I limp, how I am feeling or how much pain I am in. If people ask how I am, I tell them. This is me and why should make excuses for that fact? I am now trying my best to be honest with myself and with others that I have nothing to hide. I am not always fine but I know that there will always be people now who know me and my illness enough to realise that and help me along the way through the minefield that is living with a chronic illness.
How are you doing today? ♡