A Heart Warming Thank You From Kaitlyn Brennan
When I was first diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, I felt far from pretty. I felt weak, sick, and undeserving. Becoming sick can take a lot of confidence away from most people. You get annoyed with needing to be accommodated for. You feel too sick to go out and do the things you love. You begin to feel like you don’t deserve to have friends and support because you believe that you will drag others down.
I went through this cycle of emotions when I was first diagnosed with EDS. I proceeded to go through this again with every added diagnosis. Each diagnosis makes you more sick, which I correlated to being more of a burden. I went through periods of time where I could not eat due to undiagnosed celiac disease. I went through times where I could not walk, talk, or write correctly due to undiagnosed hemiplegic migraines. My hearing was so bad that I was forced to read lips for an unknown reason. Through these times, I missed school, I missed plans, and I was always the center of attention.
Being the center of attention wouldn’t be an issue for a lot of people. They would love to have all eyes on them, but I’m not like those people. I hated needing extra help from my teachers to catch up. I hated dragging my mom from doctor to doctor. I hated that my brother was constantly home alone while doctor after doctor said “I don’t know what’s wrong.” After hating my diseases for so long though, it hit me that this is a lifelong problem. There will always be more doctors, teachers, and accommodations needed. Instead of hating myself for years to come, I need to accept that I will always require a little extra attention.
Companies like Changing The Face Of Beauty helped me accept my reality while regaining confidence. Every day Changing The Face Of Beauty posts pictures of others with disabilities overcoming obstacles. These pictures show me that I not only can handle my struggles, but I can do it with confidence and beauty.
Accounts like this inspire me. They show me that even on days that I am confined to a wheelchair or millions of braces due to dislocated joints, I am beautiful. In the last year, countless hashtags about chronic illness and beauty have trended on social media.
#Disabledandcute was a very popular hashtag for a while, and I truly believe that something as simple as this campaign changed a lot of people with disabilities’ attitudes. People in my communities began to post photos of themselves in wheelchairs with tubes and oxygen. When they posted these photos in the past it was to complain, but this time was different. When they posted these photos with one simple hashtag, it changed everything. That hashtag instilled confidence in them that they did not have in the past.
I am forever grateful to these campaigns and accounts such as Changing The Face of Beauty for their positivity and inspiration. These accounts are the ones that keep me moving on a bad day. These are the accounts that I go to when I am in 10 braces and feel far from beautiful. These are the accounts that change lives.
I want to say thank you to the creators and workers at Changing The Face Of Beauty. You are truly incredible people doing amazing things. You may not see it now, but you are not only changing beauty standards, you are changing lives.