A Four Year Walk to the Starting Line

Life…this precious, beautiful, blessed existence was almost no longer on this very day four years ago. I reflect back on this day humbled. It was December 28, 2011 that I was sure would be the end date of my life. I went into the hospital prepared to not leave. This was it. The disorder was going to claim its next victim. The battle would be over. This ravaged body would be at peace. This soul would be home.

The night was a blur. I was in and out of consciousness to actually be able to piece any of it together. However, I am not concerned with the details of the night. I am not writing to focus on what transpired in those painful hours and what happened to me, but to speak about what DIDN’T happen. I did not die. I did not let the disorder win. I did not leave behind a void on this earth. I did not let my purpose never be fulfilled. I did not let my destiny never be seen. I did not depart from those who love me. I did not disobey my soul’s desire. I beat all odds and baffled all doctors and survived. And here I am today embarking on the journey that will bring to light the purpose of that experience.

I am truly just at the starting line of my destiny. Yes, it has been four years, but that time was needed to help me reach a place of gratitude for surviving. I wasn’t always blessed to have lived through the disorder. For a long time, I held great resentment over it. I shut people out and shut myself down not ready yet to let go. Death didn’t scare the disorder away. It only tempted it with seeing how far it could go without me dying.

In the years to follow, I had a lot of healing to do to even get me to the start of the true recovery journey where my heart was being heard, my mind was willing, and letting go was my desire. I had to go through even more setbacks, relapses, defeats, and pain. I had some unfinished business with the disorder to take care of before I could move forward. There was more I had to do and experience so that I could reach the purpose, so that I could gain more to be used in the fulfilling of my destiny, so I could acquire more wisdom. I had more overcoming to do, more lessons to be learned, more of myself to discover, more hope to be found. And I am blessed that I had those additional years to face my demons for they brought me to this path I am walking today in which slowly my promises are being fulfilled.

That is not to say I did not have moments when I wanted to rush through to the end. I had the moments where I wanted to just wake up and have it all be over. I had the days where I wanted the immediate satisfaction over going through what I did. I had my moments that I desired so deeply to bypass all the bad stuff to get to the good. But then overriding all those times was the moments of my soul speaking to me telling me to be patient for all of these things are serving you and healing you.  Don’t rush through the experiences and circumstances that have the most capacity to transform you. It is very often the experiences that have the greatest capacity to put us through a metamorphosis are the times of great trial and discomfort.

When I reflect on the moments that have most transformed me into the Authentic Jenna of today, the first that arise in my mind are the failures, the setbacks, the losses, the painful, the ones where I looked death in the eyes. The worst things that have ever happened to me from childhood to today are the very same things I can call my blessings for they have created me into ME. And all because I did not rush them. I did not force them to move through my life faster, teach me the lesson quicker, mold me at a more rapid rate. I let them be. I let them work in their own time, in the time they needed to work their magic and create a masterpiece. It was the faith in what I was promised in the middle of the downpour that kept me moving forward even when I was soaked to the bone, patiently dancing the time away until the storm passed.

If I rushed through it because it scared me, because it hurt to the bone, because it looked too difficult, because it meant confronting my feelings, I would have missed the best part. If I wished away the past three years from my rebirth to this moment right now of infancy creating who I am and walking into my true self, I would have missed the greatest portions. I would have missed the opportunity to end up on the other side of it full of deep wisdom and understanding, more connected to me, stronger, more powerful, firmer in what my destiny is, more illuminated to bring light to the dark. If I rushed through the challenges, the magnitude of what today stands for would not be as powerful. It was the stroll through the fire, allowing myself to feel the heat, and to get burned that has brought the meaning of today to a great depth beyond words. I am a survivor, and I will forever wear that title with pride. I thank life for giving me the struggle every day and I show gratitude towards it by turning that pain into purpose. I show life that I knew what it was trying to do, what it was wanting to tell me, why it wanted me to take my time through it.

I've a feeling in my soul that the life I have now is only the beginning. Everything is before me. I get the opportunity to experience firsts for the second time which very few get in life. All things are new including me. Because of that, there is no possibility to return to the old. There is nothing left for me to see in that life and while some days I crave and ache to call that place home again, I know it would not be the same. Not because it has changed but the woman revisiting has and she knows too much now to find peace and solace in that prison. I now know freedom in its truest sense, not the false idea that my past offered. I have become too close of friends to the light to turn my back and run into the arms of darkness. I have had the breath of life lovingly and graciously blown into me now making me keenly aware at the slightest feeling of the air keeping her alive being robbed right out of my body. I would suffocate if I returned. The past cannot offer anything to me anymore that the future has not promised.

With my eyes looking forward and my legs ready to move, there is no stopping me as to what I can become. Land is ready to be marked with my footprints. With each step, I celebrate my second chance, the struggles that made it possible to have, the joy that I get to feel with each breath of this journey, and eagerly await what comes next. This is the start of a beautiful adventure and I am ready to go along for the ride.

Hope, love, and blessings, J.L.