She Snaps A Picture-Perfect Photo is an inspiring story of a young woman named Meagan Barnard. Meagan was faced with the difficulty of living with lymphedema; a condition she’d developed in adolescence. Lyphedema (also called “lymphatic obstruction”) is a chronic condition that retains fluids and causes tissue to swell excessively. Meagan has five pints of excessive fluid it in her right leg.
As a result of having lymphedema, Meagan was bullied to no end in school. The meaner kids would make derogatory comments about her leg. Meagan harbored a fear of wearing garments that would show her legs. She would hide her legs to avoid being ridiculed. Imagine how hard that must be for a kid, to be considered an outcast as you are growing up? Being called “Michelin Man” every time you walk by?
Children are innocent, but they can be the meanest individuals alive. Meagan experienced this hatred firsthand as a child. She was no stranger to being bullied as a child. Meagan was burdened with lymphedema all the way into her teen years. If that wasn’t enough, by the time Meagan turned 24, the right leg had more than doubled in size.
Meagan was scared. Meagan even had a boyfriend she wouldn’t show her leg to. Meagan was feeling the shame that a lot of kids, teenagers and adults with diseases (or birth defects) feel. Children can be very hateful and manipulative. As a child, Meagan probably felt like an alien. Her adolescent peers sure treated her as such as far as she was concerned.
Meagan had ventured the idea of committing suicide. She’d reasoned that she couldn’t take any more insults from her peers. What’s the point? It’ll be all over in the morning. Right?
Wrong! That’s what is so inspiring about this story. After all the ridiculing and pestering from her peers; she’s still here. After living in the fear of being the butt of people’s jokes; she’s still standing. No one likes to be ridiculed and feel like the spotlight is on them every time they come in the room. Meagan Barnard felt like this in her childhood. This would continue through her tender years of grade school and middle school. Lymphedema; a disease she had nothing to do with contracting, had outcast Meagan from her peers even through high school. Meagan still found a way to roll with the punches.
I think about the countless days she was thinking about escape and was able to endure the hardship of having to live with lymphedema. That’s a fighter’s courage at its finest. Meagan felt like she had to hide one of the most intimate details about her body to her boyfriend for a long time. She probably feared losing him as well, but she stuck to her guns about hiding her legs. I was inspired by this too. Most guys probably would have left Meagan in a heartbeat. He stuck it out with her. True blue, through the good and bad times.
I was really touched by the story when Meagan decided she would let her legs come out of their shell. The valor of looking fear right in the face is what made me admire Meagan Barnard. Meagan decided she would debut the unveiling of her leg in a professional photo shoot. Her boyfriend felt a quick sadness for her longtime suffering, yet an immediate admiration for her courage. I applauded him here as well, because even he knows it couldn’t have been easy for her. I’m sure he put himself in her shoes. Keep doing what you are doing, Meagan.