Society taught me from an early age that my body is for the consumption of others. That my body had to meet standards someone else set (never what I wanted). That being a woman meant waiting for Prince Charming to come save me and fix everything (they didn't tell me the prince would be a villain in disguise...)
Growing up in and out of hospitals teaches you that your body is just an object; another number for research, another body part - never a whole person, another test result, etc. It dehumanizes you.
Being sick makes it hard to love your body/be body positive. In my case, it is the very thing trying to kill me after all (but hey, the only thing strong enough to take me down is myself.) Because of this, I have never felt worthy of the standards set for women and in truth, I never will be, but that's okay. Hell, it's more than okay. Those standards are complete BS anyway.
I am proud of each scar and the stories of survival behind them. I am proud of my curves because I fought to have them. I love my ghostly-white skin because it is beautiful, not sickly. I am proud of my brain because, despite being damaged, it is still sharper than many others' and has worked hard to be that way. I am proud of my voice and its ability to continually scream louder despite protests from my lungs.
I am reclaiming my body. It is mine, not yours...and it never will be again.
Happy International Women's Day.