There’s something about a doctor leaning over you, speaking in a very clinical, sterile way, “You have multiple sclerosis” that takes the breath out of you. It isn’t just your breath; many things seem to fall out when you first hear that diagnosis like your sense of self, dreams, rest, peace ... and even your sexy.
It’s like all of these ‘things’ were in your handbag, and the diagnosis spilled your bag all over the floor. After the initial shock wears off, you find yourself on all fours, desperately trying to collect them to put back into your handbag where they belong, zipped in and protected. In my four years since my diagnosis, I’ve spent time reclaiming all of these things, but I can’t lie, getting my sexy back was the hardest.
How do I feel sexy with a degenerative disease, exhausted and disabled, walking with a limp? This was a big lesson to learn. The ironic part is that after so many years of yearning to be thin, I finally was. So you would think I would be feeling great about my new body. But when the thin comes as a result of MS, working and raising young babies, it’s not the same. You aren’t thin and full of life and sexiness. I felt sick, and more like a raisin. For me, sick and thin just didn’t feel sexy.
This battle in my mind soon started to impact my relationship. Forever tired and feeling damaged did not make me feel desirable. And yet, I am a wife with a good husband who deserves sexy, and so I decided to dig deeper and try.
In my late teens and early 20’s, my beauty was wasted. It was never enough. I always felt fat, and self-conscious. Dating wreaked havoc with my self-esteem. I wish I could say I had a stronger sense of self, but I didn’t. I never really felt beautiful or sexy enough. Six months after my son was born, I was diagnosed with MS. Everything I felt about beauty and sexy was different overnight. I quickly learned that sexy wasn’t equated with big breasts and full lips and how my body looked. But as I shifted my path away from cosmetic measurements and more towards wellness, inner peace, and connectedness - these became the things that helped me regain my physical confidence and brought my sexy back.
The attempt to nourish the inner parts of me I’d forsaken all those years was HOT! And my husband thought so too. Sitting still and being mindful of my soul was beautiful ... and eventually it began to show.
The thing with sexy is that it isn’t a pouty selfie you post on Instagram. Sexy is the thing that comes when you begin to love yourself and take on a lifestyle that loves you back. I feel so sexy juicing. Can you imagine? Juicing kale in my kitchen with my husband watching at how I’m taking care of myself. I feel beautiful letting my children see all the things I do, within my control, to nourish and replenish my body.
For me, this empowerment of beginning my health regimine led me to the slow path of getting my sexy back. Let’s face it, health and empowerment are sexy! I have so many days that my legs may not work, or when other MS symptoms try to make me feel less than, but I try hard to take these challenges in stride and keep doing things that make me feel good about myself.
It’s easy to be attached to the aesthetic of the outside world. We are bombarded by media images of what sexy is, and it usually does not involve chronic illness. If you are struggling like I was, I hope you can love yourself from the inside out this New Year and don’t be afraid to get your sexy back!
If you have a tip on how you got your sexy back, please let us know! I learn from YOU and these conversations! Share with us on Facebook.