#MyBodyStory is a series of reader submitted pieces about what it’s like to live in your body. Because every body has a story, and every story deserves to be heard.

Do you have a #MyBodyStory to share? Send it to [email protected]

And now, here is Shantel’s Body Story:

The opinions expressed in #MyBodyStory are the writer’s own.

What’s it like to live in my body? This is an interesting question. It has it’s challenges, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is the only life I’ve known. Being born with Spina Bifida and a life threatening condition called Gastroschisis has not made this body or life a walk in the park, but to change that would probably mean changing who I am as I person and I am absolutely in love with this girl! I am so proud of the person I have become today. And if you would’ve told this screaming newborn baby that life would be what it is now, I don’t think she would’ve believed you. I love me for me. My friend who currently lives in Philadelphia is due to have a baby soon (hopefully with no complications) and I’m so excited. I have told her though that if anything happens which she thinks is due to the negligence of a medical practitioner, that she should get in touch with a birth injury lawyer in Philadelphia to see if she can make a claim. But I have also mentioned that there is enough of my love to share with her baby if it is born with a condition. Even though it isn’t easy living with a condition like Spina Bifida, the baby will have all the support in the world!

To be more specific, to live in my body means working 10x harder in my field of beauty showing that it doesn’t have to look a certain way. I live on my own and rely on no help from others. Working out and staying fit both physically and holistically is something that I value. I’m sure my body appreciates it as well for I rarely have pains, and I do not take any daily medications.

All day to day tasks rely on myself. I take pride in taking care of myself and doing the things that I desire to do, not concentrating on the limitations the world has placed on people with disabilities. I want to change that perception and narrative that the world may have. I’ve met some amazing people along the way with the same mindset. We want to be the example of and promote more inclusion in all areas of life. Whether that be beauty, fashion, acting, music, the health industry, or sports; there is a statement to be made. I am a thriving nail technician and a blooming wheelchair model. I love this life and I look forward to where it will take me.

With love,


Follow Shantel on her personal Instagram or her professional nail page