In a world in which we’re constantly inundated with images of what the perfect body “should” look like, it’s hard to feel great about your body unless it meshes with what you see in movies and magazines. That’s why body positivity — the movement of celebrating the body you’re in — is so important.
But while body positivity has helped us embrace people of all shapes and sizes, making the choice to celebrate yourself if you’ve got a visible (or invisible) disability can still stir up plenty of fear. Aimee Rouski, a 19-year-old who’s living with Crohn’s disease is facing those insecurities head on — by posting pictures of herself with and without her ileostomy bag.
In a post on Facebook, Rouski detailed the surgeries she’s been through and their aftermath. With her simple and powerful message, she’s letting the world know something incredibly important: No matter what your body may look like, everyone has the right to feel beautiful and everyone deserves to feel good about their body. Having an illness can and will change you, but as Rouski points out, it’s not something anyone should ever be ashamed of.
I’ve wanted to do this for a while because I always see body posi posts for weight, but not many for disabilities / invisible illnesses.
First off I have Crohn’s disease, it’s a serious incurable illness that nearly killed me, not just a stomach ache like most people seem to think.
A person with crohns will go through many different treatments including surgery, and it’s the surgery I want to touch on now.
My Crohns has left me with a permanent ileostomy, no large intestine, colon, rectum, anus, or inner thigh muscles as they were used for plastic surgery on my wounds.
I’ve always been okay with the stuff that has happened to me, but some people have real difficulties accepting these things so I just want to say this.
No one will know unless you tell them.
People who know will still love you and still find you beautiful.
Your illness is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about <3
And here are the pictures she posted:
Rouski’s post has already garnered thousands of comments of support, including those of people who live with the same condition that she does. One woman, who also suffers from Crohn’s, commented that she’d been feeling exhausted and feeling depressed due to a flare-up of the disease. Seeing the pictures, she wrote, “really helped me today.”
In 2014, Bethany Townsend, another woman living with Crohn’s, pursued a modeling career and was celebrated for posting pictures of herself with her colostomy bags, inspiring more people with the disease to come forward and share their stories. Here’s hoping that Rouski’s brave words and pictures will continue this trend.