I love discussing self-care, especially for chronic diseases like lymphedema or lipedema. Through the various social media outlets, I have discovered some incredible people who have found ways to incorporate the best self-care, love, and acceptance for themselves and their diseases. Some of them are so inspirational that I have to share them. I hope that they will inspire you to practice more self-care in your life. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Kathryn and how she found healing and acceptance through her creativity. Here’s her story; enjoy!
Before I knew about lipedema, I hated my body and thought I was a failure because I understood my body to be “wrong.” Then, in 2016, weeks before I learned about my chronic illness, I heard an episode of This American Life on public radio entitled “Tell Me I’m Fat.” I was riveted to learn that some people who lived in bodies like mine were okay with being fat. It felt revolutionary, like freedom. It felt like something I wanted.
I learned about lipedema thanks to PBS as well. My body seemed to buzz as I read the description of what it felt like to have this fat disorder. I emailed my doctor immediately; she researched and diagnosed me at my next appointment.
I threw myself into online community support groups for lipedema and the fat liberation movement. Eventually, I realized that if I were going to get free from body shame, I would have to get creative.
HEALING THROUGH CREATIVITY
I yearned to see bodies like mine, to believe I could not just be okay with my body but heal my relationship of neglect and bypassing my body’s needs. Thanks to all these fat people living free from shame, I believed I could, too! I would use art to help me get there.
I wanted to work from actual peoples’ silhouettes, not sketches. Over time, my work improved and evolved. And so did my relationship with my body. I am the model for over half of the hundreds of images I have created. My body has changed. As it evolves, I continue to do the work to love and accept myself exactly as I am.
Loving my body provoked what I understand as a spiritual awakening. Of course, I have always been somewhat spiritual and was an ordained pastor for a decade in my past. But somehow, tuning into my body opened me up in ways I could never have imagined.
I learned how to live in a state of deep self-compassion. I knew my dignity was inherent and unrelated to living in a more petite body, being productive, or any other external measurement. A great deal of healing continues to happen in my life. I listen to my body and say “no” at least as often as I say “yes.”
AN OUTSTANDING TEACHER
In my story, my body forced me to slow down significantly. My body taught me how to bloom in stillness. My body is my most outstanding teacher. And the art I make feels like a love letter to that teacher and all our teachers. I see so much beauty in my form. I revel in other people’s beauty as well. Other humans who look like me.
LOVING MY BODY
I no longer hate my body, but I sincerely love it. I care for its high needs as best as I can. Furthermore, I am gentle with myself on hard days and celebrate the good ones. This journey has changed me profoundly. I am astoundingly grateful to be on it!
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT KATHRYN AND HER WORK!
I hope you enjoyed hearing about Kathryn and her body image transformation. If you want to learn more about Katheryn and her work, you can find her on Instagram @fat_mystic_art. You will also want to check out her Etsy account, Fat Mystic, if you would like to view or purchase some of her work. I also just learned she has a podcast called Kat and Val, which I must check out.
Disclaimer – This blog is for general information purposes only. Furthermore, the information in this blog is not a substitute for medical advice – always consult a licensed healthcare professional for advice on your specific condition.