Image Copyright: Loretta Hedley, 2020
Image Description: Image of two people taking a picture of their reflection in the mirror. Person holding the phone is wearing sunglasses, wearing a black and purple coat and is holding a purple phone case. They are being hugged by a person standing behind them with red hair and glasses, wearing a black and flowered dress. The background is a hotel lobby with yellow walls and beige and red chairs.
I was sweating, my head was throbbing with a migraine, my fibromyalgia was sending pounding pain through my hip and back, my eyes were so sensitive to light I had to wear my sunglasses indoors… in other words, it was a typical day in my life.
When my chronic pain began, all I could think about was loss. How I’d lost my mobility, my independence, my identity, and my future. I was certain the chance of a happy life was gone.
This photo captures a moment over ten years since my pain began. It shows how difficult a day out can be. But it also shows so much more.
It shows me in a town that became my exciting new home. It shows me with my trans-feminine fiancee, a woman who I’ve had countless adventures with. It shows how I’ve grown comfortable with my body and found a new identity. It shows things I never thought I’d see.
Becoming disabled and developing chronic pain did not end or ruin my life. My pain does not define me. Since it started I’ve learnt that I’m so much more than it. I’m an artist. I’m queer. I’m loved. I’m proud.