I absolutely feel what you’re saying here, Peter. One of the hardest lessons of our lives- and many never reach this point of recognition- is that we are not our bodies. We inhabit them. They are the vessel which allows us to experience life. Their forms and challenges don’t define who we are- this despite all the media attention of the size of Kim Kardashian’s ass. Frankly, nobody really cares. What we are is the sum of our stories, our loves, our emotions, our willingness to live out loud. Our bodies provide a way to enjoy what it gorgeous and beautiful on earth. They allow us to experience each other. They give us the senses to engage everything that is. Each of us is unique- in your case, you’ve manifesting a set of challenges (just like I did, as we all do) in order to overcome them and be what you came here to be. To give us the gifts that only you can offer. How you do that is up to you. And no, it isn’t easy, given the way society places such a high value on our looks. However let me just make a point: We just lost the great Stephen Hawking, whose twisted body and physical limitations didn’t prevent him from being one of the great minds in all history. What he did, what he gave us, and how he found a way to change the world despite his physical form are monumental lessons to all of us. There are quadruple amputees who find a way to the top of Kilimjanaro. Blind men who summit Everest. What we are given can be the crucible upon which we make ourselves who we really can be, or they can be lead weights that prevent us from enjoying our lives. It took me until I was 58 before I walked away from the disorder that crippled me most of my adult life. It takes what it takes. But it also takes choice. You always and forever have choice. That choice involves where you wish to put your attention: on what is right with you or what is wrong with you. Where you place your attention blooms. As is said in Buddhism, you can water the seeds of love or water the seeds of unhappiness inside you. Knowing you have that choice is potent. It takes what it takes for us to bloom, and sometimes a few of us are very late bloomers. Who cares? That was OUR path. That’s how WE do it. All that matters is that you reach a point where you recognize that, as we all are, sacred stardust, in our own unique forms. We have a right to be here. We have a right to make our own differences our own way. And we do NOT owe it to our families our our self-absorbed society to be physically perfect. YOU owe it yourself to suck as much out of the marrow of life as you possibly can. Your example: how you deal with the challenges you were give, how you rise above them, how you give yourself the right to RISE, is an example to everyone who knows you. That becomes you gift- not just to you, but everyone you meet.

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Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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