Setting Jenna Free

She wore her troubled past
like scars-
She had been through battle
And though no one could see her demons
They could see the face that conquered them.

I am taking a huge leap of faith by posting this for very few have ever seen the face of Jenna on the left. Very few have ever met her. Very few even know she existed. Very few I brought into that world.

I kept her hidden. I did not want her seen. It was an act of protection for I wanted to her to not be exposed to any judgments or unkind words or additional pain that would break her. I needed to keep her safe. While I may no longer look like her, I still carry her within me. She needs to feel wanted and loved and defended or I am never going to heal moving forward. Understand I still keep her close because I am the me of today due to her existence.

Her pain is my purpose. Her hurt is my hope. Her struggle is my strength. It is the presence of that Jenna which has formed the words I speak and has created the light I emit and has produced the story being written.

I carry no shame towards her. I hold no anger. Although it breaks my heart to see that face and those eyes void of life, I am able to find peace from it because I see the image on the right and am reassured that she is going to be okay. I have nothing to fear because she is going to make it. She is going to muster up all the fragments of strength and the specks of hope and sweep up the dust of faith she has left within her after the crumbling of her soul to give life one more try. For that, I am so proud of her. For that, I am honored to say I once was her.

I know the controversy that comes with posting before pictures with an eating disorder. I know it can be triggering and upsetting. I validate that and understand it. But I also know the flipside. I know the power two pictures side by side depicting a transformation can hold. A picture can convey more words than I could ever write or speak and more emotions than I have the ability to describe. To see it is possible to overcome, to conquer, to go from death to life, to witness what hope can do. Those things can be what shifts a mind from defeat to victory and a heart from fear to faith. I am doing it with that belief within.

That picture on the right did not come without a war and many days of wanting to surrender. But I kept going and still do because I know this battle is not for me. I do not get up every morning and face the constant thoughts and fight the urges for myself. I do it because there are people breaking and drowning and screaming out for help right now pleading for relief. There are people who are dwelling in the dark praying for some light to shine on them again. There are people begging to be heard and seen and validated but are being ignored. If this picture can speak to one of those hurting people than it is completely worth the risk I am taking.

By posting this picture, I am setting myself free and letting all the Jennas I ever was get a moment to be celebrated for how far they have come. It is time for the broken Jenna to see firsthand the product of her relentless faith and her persistent hope and her stubborn heart and her tenacious spirit. I am getting my wings today…

J.L.

Jenna LairdComment