Archive | January, 2019

Self Acceptance and Relationships.

3 Jan

Just over five years ago, I wrote a post about how having pseudoachondroplasia affects me emotionally, and about my attempts to accept myself as someone with pseudoachondroplasia and all of its complications (True Emotions & Self Acceptance). Within that post, I had written about how I’d avoided relationships, and my fears surrounding relationships:

…I don’t see myself as an attractive girl, so why would any guy? And how will I know if someone can genuinely look beyond my appearance, or just doesn’t want to offend me? I aim to overcome this ‘fear’ as I know most people are self doubting to some extent, but I do think it’s an area of life which would be a little easier if PSACH hadn’t led to me having a fairly poor body image of myself. I’ve also fretted in the past that if I were to be in a relationship, would I be a burden to my partner? For instance, I couldn’t go on a skiing holiday (well, not to ski, anyway!), nor could I go on bike rides, for example. Then there are the times I will HAVE to go into hospital… Would I want to impose my recovering self on someone who could be getting on with their life in the ‘normal’ way? I don’t know…

Well, now I’d like to return to that topic. I have met a man who has, and is, shifting my views on how relationships can work with this condition – and is also helping me to accept myself, and my condition more fully.

We met online, and whilst he knew my height, the reason behind it never came into conversation, and I didn’t bring it up (When do you bring up such a thing? Should you have to? Both questions I had always asked myself…). During our first date, I mentioned how I write a blog – and that’s when I felt I should “own up” about the condition. So I did. And as I did so, I avoided looking at his face, fearful that the words ‘disability’ and ’dwarfism’ would put an end to any interest that he may have had in me, and it would be written all over his face (if, he hadn’t already been put off by my physical appearance in real life, I thought…). His reply was not one of disgust as I had feared, nor one of pity or patronisation as I have previously experienced with other people, but he was genuinely interested to know more. He wanted to know my experiences, to know about the people I’ve met through the blog, he wanted to read the blog. I. Have. Never. Felt. So. Relieved. As we spent more time together, I became more comfortable letting him know my limitations caused by the condition, and he became more comfortable asking the questions he wanted to ask. Now, a few months later, he knows I have huge body confidence issues, he knows I will need many more surgeries, he knows I struggle with managing pain on a daily basis, and he knows that having this condition bothers me in many ways.

He accepts this. He accepts me. He is helping me to accept myself and my condition:

He has even said that he knows I don’t see what he sees in me still, but that he will make it his goal to make me realise, no matter how long that may take.

He has naturally started doing little things that make my life a bit easier; he will carry things I would usually try to carry, to save my shoulders; he will adjust the shower before I use it so I can reach it as I need to; he will, without request, reach things for me if they’re out of my reach…  He doesn’t make a big deal out of these things, nor dwell on the limitations I have because of the condition, he just addresses them with care and consideration.

He has massaged my shoulders on particularly painful days recently, and encouraged me to seek treatment, despite my reluctance to start the ball rolling on another inconvenient pseudoachondroplasia issue being resolved, as he knows the pain needs to be addressed so I can sleep properly/move properly (another blog post to come on these shoulder issues soon…).

Having read the blog post I mentioned I had written a few years ago, he said that my fear of the condition being a burden on the relationship is one I need not have, that he will be by my side through whatever pseudoachondroplasia challenges me with. (We actually had a bit of an emotional moment about this… and I can tell he really means that!)

He has made me realise that having this condition does not mean that I am completely unattractive, nor a burden, nor inadequate. I never thought I would think this way, having always been repulsed by my own body, and fearful of sharing my limitations with someone else, but day by day he is showing me that I was too worried – that whilst pseudoachondroplasia does bring its own challenges, it is not the focus of our relationship, he does not see it as a problem or barrier to ‘us’, just something that’s a small (excuse the pun) part of me, that he accepts entirely. He still wants to learn more, he wants to know how he can help and support me with it all, and that, means the world to me, as a girl who has always tried to hide how I could do with some help… as I genuinely feel that asking him for that help won’t change his view of me one bit. He has made me more comfortable with this condition, and as a result, more comfortable in myself.

Essentially, I have been on a learning curve for the last few months, learning to be open about my condition, my limitations, and my emotions about it all too – to let someone in on the ‘real situation’… and learning to accept that someone else can fully accept all of the above, and not see it as an inadequacy in me, or a barrier to a relationship with me! I wanted to share all of this positivity, as I know I could have done with reading something like this for the last few years whilst I’ve been trying to improve my self-acceptance, and confidence with the idea of dating/relationships. I wanted to write about this, for anyone who may still be doubtful about dating or relationships, when you have pseudoachondroplasia (or dwarfism more generally)… for anyone who may want, or need, to read some positive experiences about just that…

There are good humans out there, who don’t dwell on our limitations and differences, but accept them as part of us, and can see that there is much, much more to us beyond our condition!  Don’t lose hope when you receive derogatory, ignorant remarks from people (sadly, there are many of those people about!), don’t give up… search for someone who will accept your condition as just a part of you, who will make you feel like you can take on pseudoachondroplasia with them by your side!

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