Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent
“It is really red. Is that what you wanted?”
This is what my husband said after I dyed my hair last week. My hair went from a dark brown to red red. It is fire truck red and it is exactly what I needed.
Back in January I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. It is an illness that sucks the life out of me and causes incredible amounts of pain every day. Pain that will only get worse as I get older.
Before this diagnosis I was able to look at my body with acceptance (and a smidge of pride). Sure, things may not be where they were 10 years ago and I have a few stretch marks on my stomach, but they came from carrying my three kids and I wouldn’t change it for the world. But now when I look in the mirror, I see a failing body. I can look past the stretch marks and the widened hips, but I cannot look past the shoulders that won’t stay in their socket, the fingers that dislocate while washing my hair, or the hip that goes out more than I do. I began to hate what I saw in the mirror.
So I changed what I saw.
Now I look in the mirror and all I see is that bright red hair.
The hair that makes me forget about my failing body.
The hair that makes me feel fierce and unstoppable.
There are days when I wear a splint on my wrist, a pain patch on my neck, or walk with a subtle limp. As a (insert my age here) year old woman, this is not exactly how I want to present myself to the world around me. Growing up, my mom told me that when you feel your worst, dress your best and no one will notice. While that may not be true, and people may notice the limp or the patches, the new found confidence I have allows me to not give a hoot.
As silly as it sounds, that hair helps me get through my day and show my kids that this illness won’t get me down. Because the reality is this: my condition is genetic and it looks like I passed it on to all three of my kids. They need to see that this illness won’t stop me, and it can’t stop them.
Miranda is a Navy wife and mother to three kids: Hailey, Josie and Teague. All three have a swallowing disorder, Teague has ASD and Josie has Chiari. She was recently diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos syndrome. Miranda is the VP of Community Outreach for the Military Special Needs Network. You can contact her at MirandaFort@MilitarySpecialNeedsNetwork.com
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