Inspire – Janine’s story

Lying on my back at five years old in a ditch, grass around me,  I asked the Paramedic where my mother was.
She pointed and said “over there.” So I lifted my head to see but I couldn’t.  My head felt too heavy so I gave up and allowed my body to slump back downwards into the ditch.

In hospital I made the nurses laugh, apparently.
Family came to see me constantly.
I don’t remember their faces, their tears or their pain but I remember they were there. Always there.

The paramedic that day, which felt like night at the time, was pointing to the car wreck, where my mother laid lifeless.
I didn’t know this then.

Doctors didn’t hide the inevitable; that I wouldn’t make it.
With both legs broken in several places, a head injury which left me in a coma, along with internal injuries, it was too much trauma for a five year old.

They were wrong. I survived. I learnt to walk again. There were more operations than I can remember, even up until very recently. Perhaps it was love that got me through.

And the scars. The ones I cant hide from, on both my legs and my stomach.
Growing up it’s been the most challenging thing I’ve faced, apart from losing my mother.
But I noticed something: I still make people laugh. Inside I haven’t changed. I am loved, wanted and needed.
I was afraid of not being accepted because of my scars but nobody cares about them as much as I do.
I am not my face or my legs.
I am inside and behind what the eyes see.
I am what people feel and who people love.

It’s amazing when I show someone for the first time and their reaction is “Is that it?”
When someone looks at me and tells me I’m beautiful
I’m surprised at times but they mean it. I can tell.

I still face challenges because we all, for some strange reason (when you think about it), want to look perfect, whatever that is.

But If they see beauty then so do I.
With or without the scars, I am me.
And that realisation is beautiful isn’t it?

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Follow Janine on Twitter @J8ne_Alison

If you want to share your body image story with me send an email to leyahatbcr@gmail.com.

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About Leyah Shanks

Positive body image activist and advocate for mental health.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Can you show that you’re body confident? | idgaflap

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