Woman in Gold

First off: I want to give a big thank you for 4000 subscribers! I am truly humbled and grateful for the outpouring of love and support in this little community. I appreciate each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. 🙂

Alright, onto tonight’s post.

I’m writing this from my old bedroom in my childhood home. I’m surrounded by bookshelves filled with yearbooks and old photographs, now collecting dust, reminding me of who I once was. Capturing the past and fitting it into a 5X7 frame.


So many memories here.


But for as much reflection as I’ve done about this place, I’ve gotta say, I love being home.

Whenever my family is together, we love watching movies after dinner. Granted, my mom falls asleep half way through every. single. time – (it’s actually quite impressive) – but nonetheless, we’re movie junkies.

So tonight we watched a film that touched me profoundly, as it vividly captured my journey of recovery: Woman in Gold.

GREAT film. 110% recommend it. It’s about Maria, played by Helen Mirren, a Jewish woman who is taking the Austrian government to court, because during WWII, the Nazi’s stole a painting of her aunt during a raid on their house. The painting, a family heirloom which was willed to her, ended up in the Austrian national art museum after the war. They are now refusing to return it to its rightful owner: Maria. It is now worth over $100 million dollars.

She’s seeking restitution.

 And there’s a scene in the movie where her lawyer (played by Ryan Reynolds, heart eyes) reads the definition of restitution:

Restitution:“The restoration of something lost or stolen to its proper owner. The restoration of something to its original state or former condition.”


Allow me to pick my jaw up off the floor.

I mean, is that not recovery in a nut shell?!

The restoration of something lost or stolen to its proper owner. The restoration of something to its original state or former condition.

Ok let’s just take this a step further:

Restoration: the act of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition

Restoration is a big word in eating disorder recovery. Let’s just address the elephant in the room: weight restoration is of highest importance when recovering from anorexia. But there’s a lot more to recovery than just that.

And as I was reflecting on the movie, the scene with the definition really stayed with me. Because all I could think about was how it was an allegory of recovery.


There was something that just wasn’t quite right.

Restoring something to its former condition.

Here I am, writing this is my old bedroom, face to face with photos and images of me growing up.

And it couldn’t have been more apparentI’m not who I used to be.


Who I was, is not who I am today.

Sure, I can be restored to my former weight and be physically back to my “original state,” but I, intrinsically, can never be restored to my former condition –-my former self– pre-anorexia.

Because it changed me.

It strengthened me. It gave me courage. Gave me faith. Made me a warrior.

Those are things that I had to learn through struggle. Through pain. And that will now, forever, be part of who I am.

When (not if) we go through times in life where things are hard, trying, painful, — we are transforming. Growing. Maturing. Learning.

Can we really go back to our former condition after enduring and surviving times of trial? No.

Struggles change you.

But that’s not a bad thing.

Looking at my smiling childhood photos, sure I was a cute kid. I was reminded of all the laughter and silliness. Captured were moments of joy and celebration. Also captured, were photos where I was in my disease, and only I knew the pain behind the smile. But for the good times and hard times, the girl in the photos is no longer me.

And only when I stop trying to recapture that time, can I move forward.

That’s the thing. People think that, in recovery, once the weight is restored, that things just return to normal. That *poof* all of a sudden you’re restored to your former state.

But the fact is, that’s not the case.

Because the new self has a wisdom and strength that only comes from overcoming incredible odds.

The photos I take today, the face I see is that of a survivor. Is that of a young woman who, with the help of Jesus, reclaimed her life and left ED behind.

She is worth being celebrated.


The photos and memories on my bookshelves have become just that: memories. I’m letting go of trying to recapture that girl. Because this girl today has so much ahead of her. So much life to live. So much to love and to be grateful for. And so much more to offer – because she made it through the dark and survived.

The final scene in the movie, Maria returns home for the first time in 50 years, a new woman, having reclaimed not only her artwork, but her past. And she’s walking the halls of her former home, and has one final flashback, no longer painful and in black and white, but color. And this time, the family in the memories are welcoming her back. Beckoning her to join the dance, to sit by the fire, — reenter the past that was filled with so much love and joy, but was lost to her because of the filter of pain with which she saw her history.

And the final image, is of her last conversation with her father before her escape, remembered now for the first time. He says with loving tears in his eyes, “Go. Claim your future. Just promise one thing: to remember us. Remember me with love.”

By the end of the movie, I was bawling. I saw so much of my story in this

And let me just say, I am in no way comparing my battle with anorexia to the Holocaust. That was the epitome of human calamity, and I would never trivialize what those innocent people endured by comparing their experience to an eating disorder.

But…ED did steal from me. And I, too, have spent so many years allowing that contempt I had for the “lost years” to color how I viewed my childhood home.

Looking at those pictures in my room of the happy-go-lucky childhood I was blessed with – I can’t let ED make me blind to those beautiful times. I have to reclaim them. Readopt that little girl and say, this is who I am. This is my past. My home. My family. This is where I come from.

I felt such a connection with Maria in where I am today: returning home, seeing it with new eyes – changed eyes — and having my past welcome me back. Those memories were always there, I was just choosing not to see them. But I am not who I was. I am new. I am transformed. And it is from that changed place that I can now see history for what it truly is.

Yes, a tragedy happened here. Yes, ED did rob me of several years. But I cannot and will not let that episode continue to rob me of the joy to come and the beautiful history I have within these four walls. It does not and will not define me.

139 responses to “Woman in Gold”

  1. wow, this post brought me to tears doll face. I ‘get’ where you are coming from, and appreciate your candor.

  2. Hey you – you got me thinking… (which, in the stories on my blog, is often the turning point between the story I’m writing and the story I’m telling – and they’re often two different things) – thank you for sharing the moments there reminiscing in your childhood bedroom, and recognizing and sharing the wisdom you’ve gained through your hardships.

    Take care of yourself, and thanks for sharing your stories…


    • Hi Tom, I’m glad this got you thinking ☺️ thank you for such kind words. It was really nice to have the time and opportunity to reflect and reminisce. I appreciate you stopping by and for your comment!

  3. Great observations beautifully written. I too have had to let go of a lot of my past, and have found the rewards of moving forward and living are amazing. I appreciate your bare honesty.

  4. Can totally relate! Beautifully written- honest and real! Thank you for being brave enough to share!
    May Jesus continue to bless you through your gift of words, comforting, encouraging and inspiring others!

  5. Lovely read. I’m sure if you’re not a woman and can still appreciate this piece as a man. You’re still a man right? ;_; lol congrats on 4k subscribers. =D

  6. Hi, beautiful post and congrats on your success! Life is what we make of it and I only started reading your posts but realised you chose right – to live… The woman in Gold is a film based on a true story described on a book… The book is amazing and full of details of that Klimt Austria….I srongly recommend the reading…. Valentina….

  7. I just love this. So much. Thank you for your inspiring words of encouragement. We are all on a journey. If we choose to continue to press on we will grow into something so beautiful and strong. xo

    • Hi Jess! Yes you are so right. We are constantly evolving and growing. And into something beautiful indeed. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your affirming words. Hugs and love to you!

  8. You have been, and you remain, an inspiration to so many. You are courage for those who are afraid; strength for those who believe themselves to be weak; confidence for those who struggle with believing in themselves; wisdom for those who think they have none; and a light to the Truth for those who live in darkness.

    Quiet though I may be lately, don’t think I haven’t been paying attention!

    Merry Christmas and may a blessed, fruitful year stretch before you!

    • Hi Tony, wow, your words humble me. Seriously thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have been such a great friend and supporter. I appreciate YOU so much 🙂 All I know is that God is good. Truly, the words on here are His words. I’m just the broken mouth piece. I hope you’re having a beautiful Christmas. Sending blessings and love your way! Xx

  9. Another powerful post. It reminds me of how Christ says He will restore the years the locusts have eaten. Incredible image, isn’t it? Imagining the detailed damage locusts do as they ravage every inch of a soul. Relentless. And somehow He makes whole what was fractured and splintered. I did not struggle with ED, but the abuse I endured as a child was severe and released me, broken, into adulthood. So many dark years… AND YET I can now look back on them with tender eyes. Oh the young woman, so very lost, has emerged a powerhouse because of the power of Christ. He has indeed taken every sorrow and added a multitude of joys in their stead. Your writing is transparent and honest. You epitomize the quote, “write clear and hard about what hurts.” I learn so much from reading your work. I am praying for you today, dear one. Stay strong.

    • Thank you so much for the encouraging words and prayers. It means a lot. I am so glad that you’ve found freedom in Christ. Yes he heals all wounds, even ones we can think are unhealable. I am so sorry that you had to endure that. Know that you are precious and loved and worthy of the dignity you have in Him. Sending so much love to you friend. Xoxo

  10. You have written another beautiful and inspiring post 🙂 How was your Christmas? I hope Santa got you some really nice presents 🙂 Anyway, that restoration quote you posted on this entry coincides perfectly with what you had suffered in the past 🙂 It is great to know that today you are stronger than ever 🙂 I have not seen Woman in Gold yet, but I bet Helen Mirren is great in it. On an unrelated note, even though December 25th has passed, the Christmas season does not actually end until January 10th because of the epiphany of Christ (it is often cited in religious scripture for lack of better word). Interesting isn’t it? 🙂 So how are you going to celebrate New Year’s Eve? I will probably stay home like usual 🙂 I have work the next day anyway 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always and a Happy New Year to you 🙂

    • Hi John! Gosh thank you so much! My Christmas was absolutely wonderful. My whole family was together and it was so nice 🙂 oh yes Helen was fabulous in woman in gold. Such a terrific performance. And yes! The epiphany! So interesting. I’ll keep those Christmas carols blasting! New Years I’ll be back in New York with my friends. Very excited about that. Bummer that you have to work in the morning. you’re making the green 😎 Thanks for stopping by, John! Happy new year, friend!

  11. The delight and joy of our new lives in Christ is the memory and reality of being rescued by the One who moved from heaven to earth for us. All of us our His reclamation projects. What He has already done is wondrous and yet “it has not yet appeared what we will be.” Glorious day when we and He sees the end product of His plan.

    • Thank you so sharing this beautiful insight. So much wisdom here! You’re so right: that day when His plan is revealed will be a joyous and triumphant day. Thanks for stopping by! Have s wonderful evening! God bless!

  12. Id like to think that everything happens for a reason, and all of us who have suffered or are suffering through an ED do so to come out stronger at the end, and to have learned much more about ourselves, society, and food than we knew before.
    It’s so fun for me to look through old pictures and yearbooks…silly memories, and its always fun to see how far we’ve come. 😛
    any new years plans dear?

    • Hey Floey! You’re so right, we come out the other side having learned so much. Lessons that only can be learn the “hard way.” NYE-I’ll be back in NYC and celebrating with friends! What about you? Thanks for stopping by! Hugs! Xx❤️

      • That sounds so fun! I hope you have a great time! Where do you live when you’re not in NYC? I’ll be at home with my BF and kitty celebrating with apple cider most likely 😛

  13. It is true. Experiences change you and you can never return to being exactly the same person as before. Some of the things that you lose you will regret losing but their loss is necessary to gain the new things that you enjoy.

    Happy new year.

    • Hi Harry, so so true. Every day, every experience makes us grow and teaches us something. So we are constantly evolving. Thanks for this reflection! Have a great day and happy new year!

  14. Your fight is a difficult battle that I am thrilled to read you are managing. You’ve done a wonderful job writing the struggles we all face to control our life challenges. I believe you have the will and the strength through God to make this change be one that will bring you true happiness with yourself. My prayers are with you!

  15. What a great post!! It can be easy to romanticize a happy past even though there were hurts along the way.
    I love that you are able to see how those pains have shaped you into the person you are today!

    • Thanks Alayna! I so appreciate your encouraging words. You’re right, who I am today is a direct result of what I endured in the past. Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful evening! Xoxo

  16. You write like your Jewish. Which, as anyone with any sense knows, is a high compliment. Merry Christmas Beauty. Bones broken, mend stronger. Proof positive you are- that last line was grammatically incorrect but it sounded like Yoda and I laughed, so it’s kept.

    • Haha oh gosh thank you so much Boon! Believe it or not, I’ve never seen any Star Wars movies! 🙈😱😱😱I know shocking. But I know and love yoda. And I love that saying…broken bones do mend stronger. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love to you!

  17. Any man worth marrying, anyone worthy of friendship, sees the spirit inside you and ignores the wrapping paper we call *skin*. The beauties who reigned for the first 40 years of their lives will find the playing field levels in old age. Without a personality, the ball falls into the court of the ones who can carry on a conversation. 🙂

    You’ll find that throughout life, the person you are, once were, and will be can appear at any time without an announcement because all of them are still part of you. If you’ve already internalized that God loves you, then you will find a way to love yourself and all of your multi-facets .

    • Hi friend, such true words you speak. You’re so right. Beauty is fleeting, but beauty of the heart lasts forever. Thanks for this beautiful reminder. I appreciate you stopping by! Hugs!

  18. Wow God has truly blessed you immensely and used you in such awesome ways! And that is SO SO true that that is what recovery is. It is restoration to relationship with our Heavenly Father, our family, and our friends. <3 It is a sweet, yet difficult, yet glorious journey.

  19. Restitution:“The restoration of something lost or stolen to its proper owner. The restoration of something to its original state or former condition.”
    When I first read this I thought of Jesus. His sacrifice on the cross restored us to our original condition in our relationship to the Father. He restored what was stolen to its proper owner. In Christ we are pristine, wholly desirable, precious and adorable to God. It doesn’t get any better than that.

    • Hi Jan! Oh you are SO on to something there! I absolutely love that. YES Jesus’ life absolutely was the prime example of that. He restored us to life with the Father. Life in Heaven. He redeemed us back to the Father. Such a comfort that is. Thank you for that beautiful insight. I love your heart! blessings and love to you, Jan! Thanks for stopping by! Happy new year xx

  20. Hi there! Just wanted to stop by and say thank you for liking my DIY candy cane hearts post! You have an awesome blog and a great follower base and I admire how far you’ve come. Happy New Year and stay healthy 🙂


  21. This was so encouraging. I also watched Woman in Gold and enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing this encouraging story with us. I’m glad I dropped by to read. 🙂 Praise God! By His power and grace you overcame ED.
    “Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27

    • Thank you so much, friend! I absolutely love that quote from Luke. You’re right – God can do anything – evidenced by my healing! I’m glad you stopped by too! Have a great NYE and a blessed 2016! ❤️

  22. You are so inspiring!! I can’t even express enough how happy I am for you and I am so glad I can be apart of your journey even though it’s only by reading the beautiful words you write in each and every post. ❤️

    • Hi Paige! Oh my gosh, thank you for such kind words! I appreciate the encouragement:) I am so glad that you enjoy my posts. That brings me so much joy. thanks for being part of the journey:) sending love and hugs to you friend!

  23. Your latest post was terrific! I struggle with the same thing when I think about letting a man into my life. I always try to pretend that I’m perfect and have my life together but I have a past just like yours that tears me apart to share with people and I end up letting in the wrong guys which has led me to not trust being with any guy and that is something I’m working on overcoming because I know there is the right guy out there for all of us kind, loving girls and even though people like us have struggled with our confidence, we are now stronger than ever. We love and appreciate things way more and have learned to love ourselves in the right way!

    • You are so right. What a beautiful reflection. There IS the right guy out there. Just as what we have been through has shaped us and made us grow, his heart is also being shaped and prepared right now so that when we finally do meet, we will be ready for each other 🙂 but yes. Let’s celebrate that we are strong and free. And I’ll bet, as we celebrate that self love, the right man will come along and want to celebrate it with us:) anywho-I’m quite a cheeseball, clearly 😂😎 but thanks again for your thoughts this morning! Have a great day! Xx

  24. Your past can be mocked, abused, compromised, toyed with and even lowered, but it can never be taken from you. You have the power to reset your boundaries, restore your image, start fresh with renewed values and rebuild what has happened to you in the past.

    You’re right ”the things that we had to learn through struggle and through pain will forever be a part of who we are”. They are the valuable & precious pearls that build us.

    Hey, even now you look pretty cute. Well at least from the half face photos which you have used for your articles, they all look beautiful….
    {maybe if I take all your half face photos and with the help of technology Cut, Copy & Paste each one of it….I will be able to see your full face image— just kidding}. Don’t worry I’m not going to do that, the half face photos are pretty good-looking.

    Whenever I read your articles on your recovery from ED I get motivated because I’m not the only person in the world who had a dark time with anorexia, there are many others like me.

    It’s really a motivating article with motivating quotes artistically embedded into images.

    SUPER DUPER! You’re doing a great job.

    GOD bless you.

    • Oh my gosh thank you so much! And haha that’s really funny about the photos😂 someday I’ll share my whole face and who I really am, just have to work up the courage first. Thanks for sharing your powerful insight! Have aGreat day!

      • O MY GOD, I read your article ”Little Orphan Annie” & I googled you. I’m speechless. This is one of the most amazing movements in my life. I’m so excited to find you on WordPress. Maybe someday I will meet you in person.

        The Leapin’ Lizards.

        Now you have one more fan.

      • Oh thanks! I hate to burst your bubble but I’m not the Annie from the movie! 😬 I hope it didn’t come across as that. I played Annie in several professional theater productions. Sorry for the confusion. But thank you for your kind words!! ❤️❤️

  25. Yargh…. So many feels. So many of your posts that you’ve linked together. I’m going to be up all night because I won’t be able to turn my brain off, thinking about how I relate to so many of these. Same but different. There’s a phrase going through my circle of Vet friends. Post Traumatic Growth vs. Post Traumatic Stress. We went and did some crazy things, saw some crazy things. Even if there weren’t traumatic things that were seen or done, it was still life changing. It’s normal to be changed when you come home. But it doesn’t have to be stress or a disorder. You can grow and change in positive ways from it.

    • aw thank you so much! oh gosh, i hope you’re able to get some sleep 🙂 but seriously, thank you for such kind words. You’re right — we have the power to grow from what we endure. what a powerful thought. thanks for stopping by! xox

  26. You are truly a blessing. Thank you so much for sharing this. You really met my need and minister to my soul. I can’t believe I just found it. I came on looking for inspiration and I found much more. Thanks.
    Remain blessed

  27. Amen-Amein Sister in Christ Jesus-Yeshua!! God Bless you Sister in Christ Jesus-Yeshua and Your Family members and Friends!!

    May our ONE TRUE GOD THE FATHER who art in Heaven Above Bless all my Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus-Yeshua and my Messianic Jewish Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus-Yeshua and Your Families and Friends!!

    I Love you all Everyone through Jesus-Yeshua Christ, because HE LOVED 💜💕 EVERYONE FIRST!!

    Love 💕 Always and Shalom ( Peace ), YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

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