Friends, this series makes me so so happy. What does it all entail? Freedom. Whether this freedom encompasses letting go of your eating disorder, removing yourself from a toxic relationship, freeing yourself of depression or anxiety, breaking away from orthorexia or exercise addiction… I want to hear your story. And I want to share it. Your story is precious and deserves to be heard. If you want to be featured, email me, DM me on Instagram, contact me in some way, and let’s chat. I have a set of ears that’s willing to listen and a blog that I want to use to share your journey to freedom.
My sweet friend @vanessapalencia15 is sharing her story today. I have had the privilege of meeting up with her before and she radiates nothing but positive energy. I hope you all enjoy her story on her journey to freedom!
**A few years ago, when I thought ‘freedom,’ I pictured the Boston Tea Party and the Declaration of Independence. I still imagine that sometimes, but lately whenever I think ‘freedom,’ I picture a life of happiness, a life free from the destruction of my mental and physical health that was caused through the hatred of my body and subjecting it to extreme ways.
I find it ironic because I never thought that I needed to be set free from this lifestyle. I thought that I was free from the tangles of being deemed ‘unattractive’ or ‘fat,’ but I only sunk myself deeper into the pitfalls of self-hatred. You see, I had a phase in my life where I was considered the “chubby girl” at best and it was during that time in my life that I had convinced myself that the only way I could be seen as socially acceptable and be considered worthy of love was to lose weight. And so began my spiral down into the world of orthorexia, obsessive exercising, and body dysmorphia.
It wasn’t until over a year ago that Nick, the love of my life, sat me down and tried to slap some sense into me. While I considered it briefly that there might be something wrong with the way I approached food and exercise, I decided to brush it off. In my head, there was no way that I had an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. I was simply doing what everyone else was doing. I was doing everything I ‘needed’ to be doing to stay ‘fit’ and ‘healthy’ in an effort to obtain my ‘ideal’ body. It wasn’t until a few more episodes of me not eating because I ‘didn’t deserve it’ and a few more intense conversations about my mental health with Nick that I knew something was very wrong. I didn’t quite know how to handle it because I went through a pretty big paradigm shift. My belief system in everything regarding health and fitness had been shattered. But regardless, I took the first step towards recovery by abandoning my regimen of macro and calorie counting. Thus began my journey to a newfound freedom of self-love and mental health.
It’s been a struggle ever since. You would think that the road towards loving yourself and embracing your body would be such an easy road to take, but it isn’t. It isn’t easy because the beauty and diet industry have spent countless years trying to highlight what the perfect body looks like and offering products to help us get there in a subtle attempt to tell us that, unless our body resembled the ‘ideal body,’ we weren’t enough, and we needed to fix ourselves. Unfortunately, I was one of millions of girls who readily took to this distorted perception of beauty and self-worth. And let me tell you, it can be extremely difficult to break free from many years of brainwashed ideologies; difficult, but not impossible.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried because I’ve lost count. I can’t recount the thoughts I’ve had during bad days because they’re too gruesome to pass onto someone else. What I can tell you is that it took a long, arduous journey to get to where I am now. But even then, I’m not finished yet. I’ve found freedom in truth, so I’m no longer bound to the shackles of restrictive dieting and severe over exercising, but I’m still fighting to keep this freedom. I fight everyday for my right to love myself exactly the way I am. I fight to remind myself that I deserve to eat and that my health doesn’t depend on spending long hours at the gym. I fight every single day to ignore and challenge the diet and beauty industry’s perceptions of beauty and to love every supposed flaw on my body. But regardless of these continuous fights, I know I’m free because I am no longer blinded. I’m free because I know my value and my worth are far greater than anyone on this earth can estimate. And once you realize that you are in charge of yourself and that you worth so much more than what others say, then you will find freedom, too. **
Keep working towards a life of greater freedom friends. Happiest of weekends friends. 🙂
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