For most people going to the doctor can be a boring, awkward and sometimes painful experience. For Karolyn Gehrig it’s a daily dilemma.
The queer artist was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) in 2003. A genetic connective-tissue disorder, EHS occurs when the body can’t regenerate collagen. This results in frequent joint dislocations, organ rupture and other painful effects which send he to the hospital on a daily basis.
But Gehrig has responded to her daily dilemma with fun, strength, humour and a bit of lippy.
The LA based artist began navigating her experience with the illness on social media.
Through a series of her own cleverly crafted portraits Gehrig has created a powerful way to promote positive body image and take back her own power in a space that often makes people feel powerless.
“The act of taking the photos reasserts my agency over my body in a space that is otherwise uncertain,” she told reporters.
“Sharing them transforms it into a way to normalise the experience of living with illness and hopefully lessens the stigma of taking care of yourself.”
But what started out as a way of making herself feel better about her body and situation has quickly turned into a hashtag, #HospitalGlam, and a social movement, one that gives hope to others with chronic illness and banishes shame.
“I want everyone who goes into a doctor’s office to feel empowered, and that they can be themselves,” she said.
“There’s nothing about being disabled that I should be ashamed of. Taking care of yourself is really important.”
You have more experience with your body than anyone else. Wear whatever makes you feel good about yourself. Bring the parts of you that you love into that office. If lipgloss starts the revolution, so be it.”
#flatlayfriday #hospitalglam edition #fashion #hairbrushmic #superstar #gpoy #bikeshorts #croptop #layersheadphones A photo posted by Karolyn Prg (@karolynprg) on
This waiting room #hospitalglam kicked off a discussion about disability, peer support and self care. Having #ehlersdanlos means my #disability is often an #invisibleillness and maintaining a visible presence in my non-disability communities while doing #hospitalglam has been valuable. I care for myself and I have no shame attached to the health issues that make up my life, and the lives of the people who mean so much to me. We are all fucking gorgeous, especially when seeking treatment. Taking care of ourselves is paramount and no matter how you feel when you walk into that office, know that you are fucking flawless.