TWSC Series: Broken but Beautiful – Learning to Appreciate my Body

Photo: Justus Nandwa

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it.” Psalm 139:13-14 (NLT)

I was supposed to write this in December. I even had an outline. But when I sat down to type out the words, my mind went blank. It was unbelievable. Where did the psych go? I lost it. My inner person was quiet and numb.

So, I chose to use that time to grieve. I grieved the violations that my body had faced and the foods that I could no longer enjoy because my body would overreact. But I paused and acknowledged the abilities that I have, and this helped me appreciate my body even more. I also appreciated the foods that I can eat without worries; they’re more than those my system can’t bear.

I appreciate the ability to listen to my body. I know what harms me and what rejuvenates me. I know when my system is tight and when I’m easy. I can now hear my gut, and it’s not as confusing as it used to be in the past. Will you please sit with me as I share my journey with you to the end? Thank you. 😊

I loathed my body for many years. This was after I was first molested at 5. I would harm myself subconsciously. I believed the lie that my genitals were my enemy because that’s what brought me problems. I hated it because I got infections after the abuse, but I couldn’t speak up. Somehow, as strange as it may sound, the itchy, burning sensation gave me relief. It gave meaning to the emotional pain that I was experiencing. My body felt numb, so physical pain made me feel alive somehow. I felt as though I was a guest to my own body.

I remember burning my hands with candle wax sometimes. And for a long time, I would hold burning charcoal with my bare hands. When cooking, I often held a hot cooking pot with my bare hands. I somehow lost sensitivity on my fingertips. This affected my fingerprints too; I knew this when I went to get my voter’s card. And when I went to vote a few years ago, they had to use an alternative way to get my fingerprints because the electronic machine could not detect my fingerprints.

After the abuse at 10 and 12, my system began overreacting. The allergies got worse. My skin had endless wounds that would take longer to heal because I kept peeling the dried wounds. The physical pain gave me relief from the internal pain and fears that I had.

In high school, I used to cut my left hand when I felt unwanted, angry or when treated unfairly. My long-sleeved clothing covered my secret. This went on for a while until one day a friend called me out. He noticed that I had cuts on my hand that were never healing. I just told him that it was fun, that those were my tattoos, and it didn’t hurt. But he was firm and asked me to stop. I didn’t stop; it wasn’t easy to stop.

When I turned 20, the infection got unbearable. I was also afraid that it would turn into some cancer, thanks to the cervical cancer campaign. I made an early morning visit to see a gynaecologist before going to work.

It was embarrassing to tell the doctor how long I had had the infection. They were compassionate and gave me a good dose that cleared the infection. I think that was the first kind, intentional gesture I ever gave my body.

Then I began making more visits to different doctors to know how to best reduce the allergies and the gynecological pain I suffered.

Soon, I began eliminating foods that didn’t favour my health and introduced healthier options. My skin got better, the abdominal pains became bearable, and my hospital visits reduced. I was able to achieve this when I began changing how I viewed my body. I stopped comparing myself to others. I began appreciating my skin texture, tone, and looked for ways to care for my body.

Looking back, I can only show compassion to my younger self. I recently discovered that the human body renews itself every 7-10 years. It replaces the old cells with new ones (you’ll want to read on that.) Yoh! That means that the effects of sexual trauma on the body can reduce with intensity as we put in the healing work. Isn’t that amazing? Your body is your friend. No matter how damaged it is, each part of the body collaborates with the other parts of the body to give you quality life. You are beautiful.

We can cooperate with our body, nourishing it by:

  1. Giving it what it can bear.
  2. Going to places that give us good energy.
  3. Hanging out with people who make us feel good about ourselves.
  4. Using products that best serve our hair and skin.

There are unique features in you that reveal something special about God because we’re created in His image. Your body is blessed. God delights in making your body His home (John 14:23) because He bought you with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). He wants you to prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John: 2).

It’s possible to stay healthy and still look and feel beautiful. Our bodies are not at fault for what happened to us. Let’s be gentle with them as we heal.


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