• Leslie Jespersen

My Healing Journey: 2.5 Years In

TW: body dysmorphia, disordered eating, illness

What you saw vs. what you didn’t see.

What I battled vs what I healed.

Visible evidence of the healing I’ve done

Visible evidence of the work I have ahead of me

A reminder that for me, a number on the tag of my clothes or on the scale, does not equal health.

This full moon brought it ALL up and made me face it.

In 2018, I was very sick. I was battling unknown autoimmune disease, excruciatingly painful rashes, a damaged liver, and was on steroids and water pills. I tried so hard to hide it. Not many people knew how sick I was.

Because I was at my ideal weight. I covered my face in makeup, took diet pills daily, and felt so sexy, finally, for the first time in...I have no idea. I felt on top of the world (lol that was the steroids hellllloooo) but when I would try to come off of them...oooof.

The end of 2018, I was in a new relationship and cared so much about making my body smaller to compensate for how awful my face looked. I couldn’t comprehend that he was falling in love with me for ME, all of me, not for the size of my body or the smoothness of my skin. The amount of times I tried to push him away, I can’t even count. Queen of self sabotage over here!

I had started working with an Ayurvedic coach and learning about what was going on internally. I knew that if I wanted to start healing my physical body, I had to stop the diet pills and the shakes and the chemicals, let my body heal, and start doing the inner work to love myself completely unconditionally. Exactly as I was.

I stopped drinking alcohol for 18 months, got off all steroids, and began a new relationship with myself. This meant a lot of trial and error with how I viewed food, eating, diets, self soothing, my sexuality, body image, SO FREAKING MUCH WORK.

Especially when medical doctors continue to this day to prescribe me diet pills and ask me, “have you tried diet and exercise?” Like it’s a new concept that I haven’t heard of. Diet culture triggers the shit out of me because it’s so superficial-fueled instead of health-fueled.

It’s still really hard for me to look at my smaller body and not want to be that. But there are things that I want MORE than I want a smaller body.

A healthy liver.

Freedom to enjoy food without obsessing over if what I just put in my mouth will make me hate myself for the next 48 hours.

To be strong and active.

Freedom and confidence without makeup.

To find clothes that fit me in any store.

I know I have a long way to go to check off all these goals, but I also know there’s no rush. I’m happier, finally, than I have been in years. I am loved and supported by others, but most importantly, by myself.

I absolutely, without a doubt, have rough days where I don’t love every inch of this skin I am in. Those days are hard.

Those days will always be there, no matter how much weight I gain or lose.

There will be days that I look in the mirror and cry because I miss that constant positive feedback whenever I lost a pound.

(Today is one of those days, and writing this is therapeutic for me.)

I allow myself to sit with these emotions and let the tears flow, because I know the only way out is through.

Bodies are bodies. Some days I wonder if I put to much emphasis on it, because I see the message that says “my body is the least fascinating thing about me.”

But I don’t feel that way. I am so connected to this body. It doesn’t define my worth, but the truth is, body size is what people see first.

And the truth is, no one called skinny Leslie disgusting names and no one made her body a fetish. No one said awful, vulgar things about me when I was smaller.

What I know to be truth, also, is...

I can spend my time hating this body, or I can embrace it, love it, and work to make it feel amazing. I’m choosing the latter. I make a conscious choice, every single day.

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