I’ve recently got back from a lovely holiday in Greece, and it got me thinking about how I felt about my back while I was on holiday.
Ever since I was diagnosed with scoliosis, body image has been a difficult subject for me. All my body confidence issues seem to magnify by 1000 whenever I go on holiday and my back is on ‘display’ more. For me, post surgery, dealing with my body image hasn’t got any easier. Pre-surgey I thought that all my body image issues would disappear post surgery – I was so wrong.
I’m aware that my back doesn’t look that bad but it’s not “normal” and somehow I feel even more conscious of it post surgery.
I dread wearing a bikini and generally, when I’m on a beach style holiday, I have several ‘techniques’ to try and hide my back from others:
1. I try and get a sunbed as close to the pool / sea as possible to avoid walking past others when getting in and out of the pool.
2. I won’t go to the pool bar etc without getting dressed again even if it’s really hot.
3. I won’t go to the swim up bar incase people notice my back while I’m sat having a drink.
4. I won’t go into the pool without a vest/t-shirt on over my bikini, some days I even avoid going into the pool at all (even if it’s hot) as I don’t want to walk past people.
5. If I want to get up off my sun lounger, I won’t even stand up in case people see my back, so I will try really hard to get my top on over my bikini before standing up.
In addition I get REALLY paranoid about people looking at me, to the point of obsession almost. If people look at me, I assume they are looking at my back and thinking bad things.
So what worried me this holiday, is that these behavioural traits that I’ve been doing for years pre-surgery, I STILL can’t seem to shake 3 years post op.
It’s really, really difficult for me to be in public in a bikini on holiday. To the point that I’d avoid it at all costs because I find people looking at me and my back too hard to cope with.
I write this post because it highlights that surgery is not a ‘quick fix’ for all the body confidence issue scoliosis causes. Yes, it improved how I looked, but it did not fix the psychological damage living with the condition for 10 years had already caused.
It may not be this way for everyone but this is my experience, and it kind of makes me sad that I still feel this way and that it affects what I do or don’t do on my holiday.
To try and overcome this, on this holiday I purposely made myself do things I was uncomfortable with. I went into the pool without my vest top over my bikini several times, I sat on the edge of the pool reading (without a vest top over my bikini) AND I went to the pool bar, which were big things for me to do.
However, I have still not managed to walk past people just wearing my bikini.
I think I’ll have to work up to that.
I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.