On Wednesday, October 18th, Momentum will join forces with Handful Activewear to celebrate National Love Your Body Day in a unique and visually powerful way. Our BE YOUtiful campaign will encourage everyone everywhere to reclaim the beauty and power within. We continue our series of inspirational blog posts with a BE YOUtiful message from Gelcys at Runner Unleashed.
One of the hardest things you can do is love yourself, but it's also one of the easiest. I haven't had it easy. Ever since I was small, I've had problems with my spine. It hurt a lot and caused a lot of issues, but I never knew why because it wasn't visible. When I was 13, right at the peak of being a teenager, the problems started to show and that's when my insecurities began. When I was 15, I had my first operation. I was diagnosed with Scoliosis.
My spine was so crooked, it looked like a snake had crawled in there and petrified itself in an "S" shape. I was embarrassed and was already shy, and my spine just made me feel worse. Spending 14 hours in the operating room, and the resulting stitches that started at the base of my neck and went all the way down to my bottom didn't help. Add to it the pain of recovery and the whole walking (and moving) like a robot thing.
During my recovery, I was rear-ended and one of the metal pieces that was put into my spine to stabilize it from further curving had come out of place. So back to the operating room I went to remove that one piece. But, it was left on top of a nerve that went to my leg so it caused a hair-raising amount of pain. I made another trip to the operating room to repair that, but it didn't help.
I said, "take all the hardware out of my spine! I've had it." It wasn't doing me any good.
All through high school and college, I hid my scar because they cut into it so many times that it got bigger and darker. I felt like it just showed what I was going through. I was born in Venezuela and lived in Florida, minutes from Miami, surrounded by bathing suits and beaches. It fueled my insecurities.
But as I grew older, and to this day, I realized that it's not about how you look on the outside. Society is at it's worst right now when it comes to being a negative influence. It's time to look in the mirror and put all of that aside and look at yourself.
My spine is still curving and I have a hump that sticks out. My scar is crooked and hasn't gone away. You know what? I show all of it. I no longer hide it. Yes, people stare and people point—but I don't care. I will gladly educate them on Scoliosis, why I look the way I do, and how they can prevent their child from developing it. And if that child is afraid of it, I can help them not be.
No one should be afraid to beYOUtiful.
It is something all woman of all shapes, colors, sizes, and disabilities should be. Smile because it looks good on you. Be that brave woman inside you. Don't be afraid to show the world the true beauty within you. Don't hide it inside like I did for so long. Many call me brave for letting my "disability" show, but I don't think of it that way. I am allowing my true beauty to show because it's all beYOUtiful.
Embrace what makes you different, don't hide it. You never know who you are giving strength to by being beYOUtiful and open. Never be ashamed of who you are and who you've become. You shouldn't be comparing yourself to others anyway. Everyone is on a different journey. So shine bright, and whenever you need a hero—look in the mirror because that hero is you.
And you are #beyoutiful. Show it to the world by downloading your free beYOUtiful poster. Snap a selfie with it, then post it to Instagram on Wednesday, October 18th—National Love Your Body Day.