Boston Marathon Bride-to-Be: Learning to Love My Flaws

03/03/2014 at 03:35 PM EST

Boston Bombing Couple Gets Dream Wedding Planned by America
Courtesy Rebekah Gregory
Please welcome back Rebekah Gregory! Rebekah and her fiancé, Pete DiMartino, will wed in Asheville, N.C., on April 4 in TheKnot.com's Dream Wedding. The two had been dating just over a year when they were both injured in the April 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. In the midst of their recovery, Pete, 29, proposed, and the rest is becoming history. In the weeks leading up to her wedding, Rebekah, 26, will be blogging for PEOPLE.com about her recovery, her relationship and the wedding planning process. Follow her on Twitter @rebekahmgregory and visit her Facebook inspiration page.

I think pretty much everyone in the world has at least something about themselves that they just don't like. Especially women. And I'm no different. In fact as ashamed as I am to admit it, I have gone pretty much my entire teenage/adult life hating about 75 percent of my body in general. And do you know what I've always despised most? My bulky man legs.

If that isn't bad enough, try having these feet (stolen from a giant) attached to them. I have even gone as far as wearing shoes a size smaller than what I need. (All it did was give me blisters and crooked toes, but that's neither here nor there.) Am I certifiably crazy? Probably. That is why I find it so ironic that the same legs I have despised all this time literally got blown to pieces last year. And while I am without a doubt scarred for life, I have also never felt more beautiful than I do right now.

You see, it's easy for people to focus on everything that I lost on April 15, 2013, but look past to everything I have gained. And while it's probably more natural to dwell on the 16 reconstructive surgeries (with many more to come) and the amputation of my left leg later on this year, what I concentrate on most is my new development of true self-acceptance and the ability to move forward.

Through this I have learned that a leg is just that … a leg. But my life – that's so much more. And if I am blessed enough to survive a bomb blast that was less than 10 feet away from me, then I sure as heck am not going to waste any time beating myself up over the changes to my physical appearance that it caused. I have truly accepted that to the average outsider, I will look like leftovers from a shark's meal. But what I see when I now look in the mirror is not an insecure little girl afraid of the world ripping her apart, but the true beauty of a young woman who has overcome.

Moving On

This week, TheKnot.com readers voted on the wedding rings Rebekah and Pete will exchange at their April nuptials.

Boston Marathon Bride-to-Be: Learning to Love My Flaws| Couples, Engagements, Weddings, Boston Marathon Bombing

Courtesy Michael C. Fina

"Classic Cool" (above) ended up being the winner, and it will accompany the engagement ring that I have quite nicely, so I'm pretty stoked. But most importantly, the ring is a symbol that a wonderful man thinks I'm beautiful, scars and all, leg or no leg. It is a commitment of someone who vows to love me for the rest of my life regardless of the flaws my mind has created. Every time I look down at my finger, I will be reminded of the silliness that I have put myself through wishing I was anything other than myself.

So some quick words of advice: Don't let a (figurative) bomb go off to recognize your own self worth. Each person is designed in a way that is totally unique from anyone else, and it's high time we quit wasting valuable moments trying to change that.

This week, visit TheKnot.com to vote on the dresses Rebekah's bridesmaids will wear on the big day!

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