Learning to Accept My Scoliosis

Learning to accept my scoliosis has been a journey, and if I’m being completely honest here, it hasn’t been the easiest one.

Despite the endless amount of x-rays, day trips to multiple hospitals, brace fitting after brace fitting, physical therapy sessions and the teasing of ignorant middle school kids, I wouldn’t change a thing. Scoliosis is a part of who I am, and I’ve finally learned to not be so ashamed of it.

It all started the summer going into seventh grade. What was suppose to be the usual check up at the doctors ended up being the appointment that would change my life forever. The doctor began to notice my terrible posture and uneven back and told me that I had scoliosis. I had no idea what scoliosis even was or what this would mean for me, but I quickly found out.

After multiple x-rays, it was concluded that I had severe scoliosis, as there were four curves in my spine making an "S" shape. This meant I would need to be placed in a back brace immediately.

The brace was made of a hard plastic material, and it was important that I wore it for at least 22 hours a day for the next two to three years to ensure any new growth of my spine was straight. I was absolutely devastated. 

I felt so alone and overwhelmed. No one else I knew had a scoliosis back brace like me. There was no one who understood what I was going through. I still remember the car ride home from the appointment when I got my brace. My mom and I cried the entire drive back, as we both knew how difficult these next few years would be.

As the weeks went on I began to struggle with self-confidence, as well as finding clothes to fit over my bulky back brace. I started to compare myself not only to girls at my school but to models and celebrities I would see in the media. I spent many nights crying, hating my body, wishing I could have a straight spine like everyone else.

Eventually, I became tired of feeling so alone and wanted to reach out to other girls like me, so I created a YouTube channel with the hope of turning this negative situation into something positive.

I made videos ranging anywhere from where to find the best shirts to wear over your brace to advice on how to stay positive when things get rough. YouTube became a powerful outlet for me, as I couldn’t find anyone who had made accounts based on scoliosis or back brace related issues when I was diagnosed. It was all of the positive feedback from this scoliosis community I had formed that made me realize that I am so much more than my diagnosis and that having a crooked spine isn’t the end of the world. Scoliosis might be a part of who I am, but I will never let it define me or my self-worth.

Don’t get me wrong, I still feel insecure at times and have bad days, but I wouldn’t be nearly as strong or as optimistic as I am today without having gone through this journey. When I looked into the mirror in middle school and saw a flawed girl with a crooked spine, it made me feel completely hopeless. Now, when people ask, I say I am thankful. How blessed am I to have the first initial of my name carved into my spine like artwork.