A letter to my Ileostomy Bag…

Dear Ileostomy Bag,

Although you were scary, you made me sore and were completely unexpected; I can’t thank you enough for saving my life. In just a month you have managed to alter my mind set in a number of ways. You have turned me into this positive, dedicated person that I actually respect. I must admit still look in the mirror from time to time and feel a little irritated when I look at you, but it’s not because of you; more for the fact that you’re covering up most of what I now love,  most of what I used to hate; the stomach I used to squeeze and cry and insult – the stomach I wish I appreciated before I was forced to. Although you weren’t my first choice, I mean I wasn’t really given a choice – you took my pain away and I finally feel free for the first time in years. My life no longer revolves around stomach cramps, frequent runs to the toilet and a dependency on tablets. You’ve given me control over my life. You’ve given me a chance.

I spent so long wanting to write, but I struggled to find anything I was passionate about. I loved performing and I loved writing music, but I didn’t love writing about it. I tried my hand at fashion, but I found no interest in writing about the seasonal change of materials. I tried lifestyle writing, composing lists that I felt other girls could relate to, but they were never good enough. They were never things that came naturally. I’d spend ages planning, writing, deleting, re-writing… and I’d end up with something I wasn’t proud of. But this? Writing about you? Writing about the thing that saved my life? The thing that I carry around on my body with pride? You come naturally. You’re something that deserves pride. You deserve recognition. I don’t even need to think about what I’m writing when writing about you. I don’t worry that something’s too open, too embarrassing – you’ve given me this need for honesty that I just want to share.

I’m sorry for every time I’ve wished you away. I’m sorry for every time I’ve felt angry with you and blamed you for things going wrong in my life. Things that couldn’t possibly involve you. I’m sorry it’s taken me time to accept you. But know that I will never look back to before you entered my life. Before you saved me. Not just physically, but mentally. I finally appreciate the person I am, and others around me.  I finally appreciate that it doesn’t matter how much makeup I wear, how little I eat, and how much others like me. What matters is far more than that. I feel embarrassed that it took me so long to look beneath you. The idea scared me, it took me weeks, I was convinced I’d hate what I saw; but when I looked at you, I felt okay. I felt relief. I felt lucky. I realised that all I could focus on now was moving forward, and you helped me do that. I guess it’s true what they say. Beauty really is skin deep.

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