My name is Jessika. I am a survivor of abuse, and I worked in adult entertainment for 12 years. The messages I received in life based on my experiences were that my value was in my sexuality, the size and shape of my body, and the things I owned.
I fought year after year to be the most desirable to men. I starved to keep my body the ‘right’ size. I bought cars, furniture, and airplane tickets on credit so that I could keep up with the other ‘successful’ people in the world around me.
What I got in return was divorce, cancer, and debt. I thought if I played the game, if I followed the rules to success, there was no way I could lose. The problem was I entered in to relationships with men who were sex addicts. Not nourishing my body caused it to be vulnerable to breaking down. Buying on credit doesn’t allow for sudden changes in income, or even worse, a recession.
My values were just plain wrong… but I got them from somewhere. My first abuser was in my life from the time I was born. After that ended, I met one predator after another. I was conditioned to give in to bullies. All along the way I found ways to medicate the pain that stemmed from my confusion about my value and identity as a woman, and those habits caused more issues in my life. As I got older I actively pursued recovery from my past hurts. I fought for it! I was blessed to be surrounded with leaders like the Baker family, and others in the Los Angeles area who were willing to teach me all they knew about how to recover from my hurts, hang-ups, and bad habits.
What I have learned over the years about the value of a woman is so completely different from what I believed as a child. I have come to know that I am valued because of my character, because of my heart to help hurting people, and just because I am. I have value simply because I was born. That one is still hard for me to wrap my head around. I want so much to achieve something in order to feel valued, but the fact is the people who love me don’t need me to prove my value to them.
I have changed. My identity has changed. The things that are important to me have changed. There were two things that happened to help me understand what my value was as a woman. I pursued it. I reached out and looked for people, places, and books that would help me to change my viewpoint. People loved me in to changing. I slowly weeded out those who bullied me and surrounded myself with people who valued me for my heart, my character, and my uniqueness. They didn’t want to change me, they just wanted to live life with me. They loved me in to the person I am today.
Between the abuse that many women suffer in the world, and the false messages we receive from culture about what is desirable, it is no surprise that sometimes we value women for sex, physical beauty, and the perceived power that comes with those things. I believe that women are valuable because of the way they nurture, because of their strength to overcome not only physical pain, but adversity. Women are valuable because they have a guiding wisdom. Each woman is different. Some have loud voices, some soft, some are athletic, some introverted. We are each valuable because there is no one like us. There is only one Jessika. There is only one you; and you are loved.
I hope that each person reading this is able to view the women in their lives as a true gift. Take a moment today to tell a woman in your life what you love about her; what makes her unique. The world is a beautiful place when we give each other hope. Leave a legacy of hope today everywhere you go!
Written by Jessika Fuhrmaneck
Contributing Writer, Two Wings