This week’s guest is the amazing Jessica Smith. Jessica is a Paralympic Swimmer and a strong body image advocate. I am so grateful for Jessica’s work, which aim to increase awareness about poor body image and eating disorders and I wish there would be more people like her on this planet. These issues have been deeply impacting the lives and happiness of too many people and Jessica (and I) strongly believe that we can have a positive impact by fighting to increase awareness around us with our work.
Jessica has created a beautiful and inspiring video about her story. I really recommend watching it on her website by clicking here.
Currently in recovery, Jessica travels Australia as a Public & Motivational Speaker and is working as a Research Data Manager in Medical Oncology.
Could you please explain what brought you there/how did you find your path?
I was born missing my left forearm, then at just 18 months of age I suffered 3rd degree burns to 13% of my body. Growing up I battled with negative body image and I developed bulimia and anorexia in my early teens. Growing up was at times extremely difficult, especially in my teens when I was trying to accept my appearance and the way I viewed my own body. I battled with Eating Disorders from a young age, more than a decade of my life was lost to bulimia and anorexia. Fortunately I am now in recovery and doing my part to communicate to society the significance and complexity of negative body image and the pressures that many young women and men are facing today. I travel Australia as a Public & Motivational Speaker and have recently launch a campaign called “Join The Revolution” which is aimed at simply encouraging people to start a positive conversation about body image. Negative stigma and a lack of awareness and understanding unfortunately shrouds the topic of Eating Disorders and I feel that as someone who has endured and overcome the traumas of these insidious diseases, I have a responsibility to be a voice for others who are currently trapped in the vicious world that I was.
I was fortunate to have a loving and supportive family who helped me through my battle, in addition to receiving professional treatment at the right time – I am definitely one of the lucky ones.
What’s new and good regarding your projects & what do you plan for the near future?
I am about to revamp and re-launch the ‘Join The Revolution’ campaign. Knowing exactly what to say and how to say it can often be difficult when you are trying to get a message across to the rest of the community or the world for that matter. I’ve had to really concentrate and articulate my message and delivery. The next 6 months is a really exciting time for me and the people who are involved in the campaign. So stayed tuned
Could you please share the best thing recovery has brought into your life?
Freedom… the freedom to feel and the freedom to learn. Prior to recovery, I was trapped in a world of guilt and anxiety that was so suffocating and debilitating I felt as though I never had an outlet or a choice. But recovery has taught me that I choose my own reality and I choose freedom simply by choosing my own reactions.
What was your best holiday/trip & why?
I have been extremely fortunate to have done a lot of travel so far in my life, and I have many places at the top of my list. But recently I went to Ubud in the hills of Bali and it was amazing. So peaceful and relaxed. The locals were so friendly, the food was amazing and the weather was ideal. I also visited a local orphanage and the experience is something that really touched me and one I know I’ll never forget.
What’s your favourite beauty product/cosmetic?
What’s your most important health secret?
My skins feels cleaner and clearer and my entire body feels so much fresher when I get plenty of sleep and drink at least 2-3 litres of water a day. I can’t function unless I have that.
Life is a continual improvement, what did you learn lately?
I think we are constantly learning, mostly from our mistakes. I think I’ve finally learnt to accept that making mistakes isn’t such a bad thing … it’s only a problem if you continue to make the same mistakes.
What tip/advice would you give to our readers to help them reach their dreams/happiness?
Don’t get caught up in the dogma of today’s so called societal-norms. We are all exactly where we are supposed to be right now, so rather than wish you were somewhere else just accept where you are now and what you are doing, because no matter what you think, you chose that outcome for yourself. If you set out on a journey to find happiness… I dare say you will spend the rest of your years still searching. Instead if you focus on being content right now, happiness will be a guaranteed by-product.
What tip/advice would you give to our readers who are currently struggling with ED or poor body image?
Know that there is hope, recovery is possible and support is available. I honestly believe that a combined effort of professional treatment along side self determination and self belief is what will start you on your recovery journey and what will keep you on it. But you have to do it for yourself and you have to be willing to accept your reality. No one else can take this journey for you, it won’t be easy but it will absolutely be the most rewarding journey you will ever embark on.
I believe that our ability to adapt is one of greatest assets as human beings.
I know that I am a very fortunate person, but the successes that I have experienced in my life to date have not come about from some capability of being able to side step or circumnavigate the presumed downside or difficulty of a life having one arm, scars, depression and Eating Disorders… or what other people perceive to be my disability, quite the opposite in fact. I have been and still am ‘marked’ by all these things, and we are all changed of course by a challenge, whether physically or emotionally or both, and I think that is a good thing.
So at the end of the day, you have to believe in yourself and you have to have trust and faith in the recovery process.
I love anything & everything Italian!
Season & why
Spring, I simply love the fact that it’s not too cold or hot.
Shopping (it has amazing therapeutic benefits!)
You could not live without… Lip Balm