For one woman who absorbed her twin in the womb, having two sets of DNA naturally programmed to not get along has come at a steep price…
Taylor Muhl’s unusual ‘birthmark’ was the first clue that something was ‘different’ about her. Her stomach is two different colours – split perfectly down the middle. Doctors discovered that Muhl has Chimerism – a genetic conditions which means that she is one person who actually contains two sets of DNA.
Muhl was meant to be a ‘twin’, but their bodies fused together in the womb, leaving Muhl with two different immune systems and two different blood streams. The condition means that her body can end up ‘attacking’ itself, seeing the ‘twin’ as an invader.
To stay healthy, Muhl is on a strict regimen of medication. She is a powerful advocate for body positivity, and is on a mission to “change the stereo typical visions of beauty”.
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I want to thank @dove @girlgaze @Getty images who have partnered together to do an incredible project called, Project #ShowUs It’s to “change the stereo typical visions of beauty.” Their project has inspired this post and myself to talk openly about an experience I’ve had and still have with my advocacy work. I’ve never talked about this publicly, but once. _ If you don’t know, I’m an awareness advocate for body positivity, autoimmune, and a rare genetic condition (I was born with) called, Chimerism. Which means, “I Am My Own Twin.” I’m a fraternal twin who fused together in the womb with my sister and carry her DNA, blood, and immune cells within my body. _ Having Chimerism has split my torso down the center displaying two different colors of skin pigmentation, mine and my twin’s genetic makeup. My case of Chimerism causes autoimmune symptoms and physical sensitivities from the two sets of genetics clashing. _ Before I was an advocate, I thought all body positive communities welcomed any ethnicity, body shape, size, and difference, but I was wrong. Since advocating, I’ve been turned away by many communities and social media sites suggesting I’m “too thin” and look “too much like a model” to advocate for body positivity. _ Throughout my life I’ve been “body shamed” for my stature, but this happening specifically by others who are supposedly against that, has been shocking. Having a rare genetic condition, a two colored torso, and autoimmune disease doesn’t qualify me to be an advocate, all because I’m thin? My frame size is from genetics, being diagnosed with a hyper active metabolism, and autoimmune issues. _ With my advocacy work I hope to encourage all body positive communities to accept anyone, regardless of their body size and appearance. There should never be a physical stereotype that needs to be met, but especially not for communities who pride themselves on embracing people’s differences. Fully accepting, supporting, and loving “all walks of life” should be the only stereotype! _ Photo by @jimjordanphotography _ #dovepartner
“Having Chimerism has split my torso down the centre displaying two different colours of skin pigmentation, mine and my twin’s genetic make-up. My case of Chimerism causes autoimmune symptoms and physical sensitivities from the two sets of genetics clashing.”
“With my advocacy work I hope to encourage all body positive communities to accept anyone, regardless of their body size and appearance. There should never be a physical stereotype that needs to be met, but especially not for communities who pride themselves on embracing people’s differences. Fully accepting, supporting, and loving ‘all walks of life’ should be the only stereotype!”
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Thank you @volition.mag for featuring me on your website today. To read my full feature about being a Human Chimera go to volitionmagazine.com Regardless some of the photos from my feature are already on my Instagram, I’ll be re-posting them to show my gratitude to the magazine. Photo @jimjordanphotography #chimeraawareness #chimera #taylormuhl
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