You Are a Beautiful Mess

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

by Sherri Woodbridge |

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Several years ago, I was introduced to Barney Saltzberg’s children’s book titled “Beautiful Oops!” In it, a bent piece of paper becomes a penguin’s beak while a torn piece of paper becomes a crocodile’s mouth. The point of the book is that almost anything damaged can become a beautiful piece of art.

But that’s not how our messy, broken lives feel. We often feel that we are becoming anything but beautiful. After all, who would want us with our disfigurements and disease-ridden movements, or the messy mood swings that Parkinson’s can throw at us? 

It is often easy to fall into a negative thinking pattern about who and what we are when we are dealing with a chronic illness. Whether you have Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, or whatever other disease, having a negative outlook isn’t difficult to achieve. This is especially true if we struggle with how we think we come across to others.

We may feel self-conscious and embarrassed as we wriggle and writhe about when out in public. People may not know what to say, so they pretend not to see us, adding to our insecurities and warping how we see ourselves. 

Wriggling and writhing naturally draw attention to ourselves, and so do laughter and tears. These are two other uncommon symptoms that can leave others confused, bewildered, and perplexed. You may laugh at nothing for no reason at all. The same with tears. You may succumb to crying spells. You may not feel sad, and yet you act sad. You cry and you laugh at the strangest time and for the silliest reasons.

Your body feels broken. It doesn’t work the way it used to. It’s a mess that you work at trying to repair day after day. However, it seems that it’s a one-step-forward, two-steps-back type of living. 

Sometimes you feel like an “oops,” sometimes a mistake, sometimes a mess. But you are a beautiful mess. Not an accident and not a mistake, not an oops or an ugly mess. And don’t ever forget that.


Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Richard Malmsheimer avatar

Richard Malmsheimer

Thank you. I needed that reminder today. Maybe every day.

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

Richard - so very glad it spoke to you. Have a beautiful day! -sherri

Grace Mills avatar

Grace Mills

Thanks very much, that's exactly how I feel, most times I am afraid to leave my house. Now I'm motivated.


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