hi, this is av

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the road to health can be ugly

I've been thinking recently about what I associate with "becoming healthy" or "being on one's health journey". We've all seen these phrases thrown around online - usually accompanied by pretty food, a toned and thin body, or some supplement to be marketed. It's all so presentable and already physically visible.. the shiny fuller hair, the clear skin, rocking the pretty outfits, screenshots of workout stats or short videos of gym workouts. The events, classes and festivals they now attend, the pictures of a group of people smiling. Those journeys are about better choices, not necessarily starting some treatment for health. And man, the latter can be so ugly. But that's okay. It's necessary.

Sometimes, becoming healthy is about trying medication after medication and dealing with its side effects. It's headaches and nausea and body pain and resting in bed. It's cancelling on plans because the recent dose increase is messing with you. It's explaining why your chest has a rash and why your face is so bloated and swollen. It's not wearing your fanciest clothes for now, because you need to be comfortable, and you don't feel like drawing attention to a body that doesn't look like yours for now. It's finding your hair everywhere - the floor, the drains, the bed, all your clothes, your food somehow. Sometimes it's liquid food drinks or blank rice. Or some bullshit, because if you already feel bad that day, sometimes you deserve that! Instead of fancy supplements with cute packaging, you're spending ages filling a pill box with 70 pills in total and cursing the pharma company whose tablets are too hard to split. You're supposed to say that focusing on your health has returned your attention span and brought you some new hobby, enabled you to finish your degree or get a promotion, but realistically, you're probably on sick leave, maybe trying to wrangle the paperwork around disability, accommodations or insurance, don't have the energy for your hobbies right now and may have to drop out temporarily this semester or severely reduce the workload.

But it's not fitting for a highlight reel and it's not marketable. When you're making "the choice to be healthy" and "taking care of your health" you're supposed to look good and be in a good mood and be very visible and show it has brought you new achievements and "made you stronger" via your willpower or some magical product, not hole up at home in granny clothes popping pills not having seen the inside of the gym in months and paused your plans. But that's often the reality and it's needed to arrive in the other part! It's worth it to fight through that and look forward to the part when the effort you put into recovering will finally show on the outside. And even if it is not visible to others or not conventionally beautiful in the end, you yourself know how bad it used to be and what you had to fight through to get there.

I'm focusing on my health right now, and most of the time it isn't cute, but I still am. May we all recover, achieve remission, and become as healthy as possible ♡ gotta get the roots before you get the fruit.