I used to get really upset whenever someone would refer to me as “fragile” after I had yet another injury or surgery. The word itself, in relation to a person, means “not strong or sturdy; delicate and vulnerable” (Oxford Dictionary). For so many years, I’ve wanted to nothing to do with the word “fragile.” However, the new slogan for EDS Awareness Month “Fragile But Unbreakable” has completely changed my relationship with this word.
After living with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome for 23 years, I’ve finally started to accept that my body is more fragile than the average human. I’ve dislocated my shoulder holding a door open for a stranger, dislocated my knee while coloring as a child or just rolling over in bed, I’ve developed stress fractures in my spine from just the stress of gravity, and have survived countless other injuries caused from simple tasks. My intestines become inflamed if I eat the wrong foods, many of my joints are developing early onset degeneration, and I honestly never know if I’ll wake up with a new injury or pain. So yeah, that sounds like a fragile body.
However, I am not my body. Yes, my body belongs to me, but I refuse to be defined by the genetic mutations that have weakened the collagen holding my body together. My body will always be unstable and fragile, but my limitations do not determine who I am. My soul and spirit will continue to remain strong and tough, despite the fragile shell they live in.
Yes, my body is fragile. But I am unbreakable.