Changing the Narrative

If you’ve scrolled through social media at all in the past two weeks, then you know it’s pretty clear: the general consensus is that 2016….went to pot.

People are lamenting how horrible 2016 was with funny memes, parody videos, cheeky songs…I’ve even seen some hyperbolic short films buzzing around the interwebs. All with the same message: 2016 sucked royally. Let’s put it behind us, forget about it, and move the “F” on to 2017 already!

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And, ok I get it. Sure, there were a lot of things about 2016 that were tragic. There were difficult moments for our country and for the world at large. I mean, just lying in bed here, I can rattle off more tragedies that occurred in 2016 than I can state capitals.

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But I’m going to be honest about something: I just can’t jump on board with the common feeling about throwing it all down the crapper and moving on.

Because no matter how you feel about 2016 — good or bad — we can learn from it. 

I spent a long time – the first 3/4 of my recovery – we’re talking years, — trying to do just that. The time during my anorexia was a dark period of my life filled with pain and broken relationships and betrayal and … yeah, you get it. I’ll spare you the details. But once I was “better” and in recovery, I spent so long trying to just burn that period from my memory and erase it from my history.

I wanted a clean slate. A fresh start. Shoot, I even moved to NYC to escape any and all reminders and remnants of that dark past.

 

I was proclaiming with my life exactly what everyone on my Facebook feed is proclaiming about 2016: Get it the hell out of my life. 

But here’s the thing: by trying so hard to erase it from my life, I was actually just giving it more power over me. I was striving and expending all this energy to pretend it never happened that I was hindering my growth and ability to move on.

It wasn’t until I looked my past head on, acknowledged it, and learned from it, that I was able to truly move on as a healed and whole person. It was only then that I was truly given freedom from it. And consequently, that timeline coincides with starting this blog.

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The year 2016 – sure it had its ups and downs. But I can guarantee that no matter how you feel about it, there’s something to be learned from it.

Even in the darkest and most dire of circumstances, there is always something constructive to be taken from it. I’m currently living through this as we speak with my situation at home.

You can bet your bottom dollar that from this day forward I will never take another second for granted with loved ones. I will always say how I feel about someone. And never go to bed angry. That is something constructive that I can do.

But if we just flip 2016 “the bird” and screech off, then honestly, it will all have been for nothing.

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After nearly a decade of trying to shove my history of anorexia into a tiny little box and shove it under the stairs, it wasn’t until only recently that I’ve been able to revisit it and learn. And here’s what I’ve come to find:

Nothing has power over you, unless you let it.

Not what another person says. Not your grades or your job titles. Not awards or degrees. Not what you own or wear. Not your weight or looks.

And definitely not the year 2016.

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If you feel like 2016 sucked, well then, what are you going to do to change that?

What can you take away from it?

That’s called learning. That’s called changing the narrative. That’s reclaiming the past. And that’s just what I’m going to do.

Who’s with me!?

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BBB: Because we're all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

263 thoughts on “Changing the Narrative

  1. You either WIN or you LEARN in all situations! As some have iterated, it is the FEAR of facing something that is your true enemy. Fear and Anger are two of the biggest “sinful” emotions we all face; when you can find the strength to FACE your demons is truly when you are enabled to OVERCOME those demons! “Running away” from things you don’t like is essentially the same as “running away from your problems” in that you must FACE your problems head on, diagnose them, and find a solution regarding them in order to truly move on and GROW from them!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As Always … LOVING YOUR POST. It was AWESOME … What a way to start the new year … Asking myself the question … What am I going to do to make sure 2017 is a much better and different year over 2016???

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR EXPERIENCES WITH US …
    WELL, Until your next awe inspiring post … I PRAY HIS BLESSINGS UPON YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES … Your Sister in Christ

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  3. I agree with you, a good constructive After Actions Review is always a necessity. Objectively looking at what happened, seeing what was good, and what was not so good… lol. Analyzing how to improve both the good and the bad will make you wiser and stronger. God Bless, be strong in the Lord Jesus and the power of His might.

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  4. Solid!
    I feel that too many people complain about things they are perfectly capable of changing themselves! If you see a need and you have the capacity to fill that need, DO IT! It will make the world a better place when we stop complaining and start doing.

    Thanks for sharing this!

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  5. I don’t pay much attention to opinions of the masses, they are not relevant to me. With that being said 2016 could have ended tragically for me: suicide ideations, alcoholism, jail. STOP! halfway through I put a new tape in: early release, mental health and alcoholism recovery. The mind is a powerful wish fulfilling machine, and I used it to get back to my pure essence. 2016 will always be the year I found myself drowning and gave myself life saving measures. Love is what you make it, doesn’t matter what year it is. Great post!

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    1. Hey Rob, thank you so much for sharing this. i’m so glad that you put that new tape in!!!! seriously. You’re an amazing friend and I am grateful for you 🙂 It sounds like 2016 hold a special place in your heart, as it was the year of reclaiming life!! I’m giving you a standing ovation 🙂 big hugs xox

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re the best. The fact that you have well over 20,000 followers, and you pen comments like this, means more to me than you will ever know. Thank you so very much!

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      2. I want to be like you when I grow up! I only have 20,652 more followers to go hahaha gasp!! That’s just mind blowing, way to go girl.

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  6. For a lot of people, they can trace their loss of hope in 2016 to a single event: the Presidential election. And yet, if that’s true, they should be anticipating a worse set of circumstances in 2017 than they had in 2016.

    The thing is, every year has its high points and low points. They’re not always equally distributed and perhaps we pay more attention to what hurts us than what makes us feel good, but let’s face it, it’s not the year, it’s the life.

    That said, perhaps the following will add some perspective:

    “There are many life situations and circumstances in which it is easy to be pessimistic. It might be easy to give up hope particularly when others make discouraging comments.

    “Let us always believe in the benevolence of our loving Father and powerful King. Let this belief be so strong that nothing anyone says can cause us to lose hope.”

    -Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

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    1. Hi James, thank you so much for this reflection. You’re right…many people’s attitudes were directly linked to the election results. But you’re right…let us ALWAYS remember the benevolence of the Father. amen to that! thanks for stopping by! hugs xox

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  7. I’m with you! 2016 was the mist devastating year of my life- loosing both parents at their young age of 74 & 75! Yet, you are correct in that I NEED to learn from this loss and move toward my better future- it’s not an easy task, but I’m working my way through it!

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    1. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry for your loss. that is absolutely tragic. my heart and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. i hope that you find peace and healing in 2017. sending ginormous hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

  8. We’re with you, Caralyn.

    May the truths that you take stands on make you such a wonderful gem, that the Light of our loving King may shine through you, split and radiate out in many wondrous ways, and be powerful in dispelling darkness in many lives that are connected to yours through this blog.

    We’re praying for you.

    Many regards,
    Indi

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    1. Thanks Indi 🙂 Your words are always a healing balm to my soul. Truly. I know that sounds super cheesy, but you are always so kind and generous in kindness. So thank you. from the bottom of my heart. big hugs to you and yours xox

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  9. Great post, I feel the same way, if you’re unhappy find the lesson in what’s happened to you and then find something to be thankful for. I read a T shirt one time, “Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn….” As T shirt wisdom goes this one was up there. Thanks for sharing
    and God bless 🙂

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  10. Love you, your message, and the way you choose to live your life. It is truly refreshing. Have a blessed day and remember fear is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real! JD

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  11. Glad to know I’m not the only one. 2016 had a lot of good memories too. I guess it depends on where you put your hope. Don’t put your hope in material thing…things of this earth. My new year’s resolution was very similar. Best wishes!

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  12. Hi Caralyn: I don’t know if you posted of sad, hurtful event over Christmas that I missed somehow or not, but it doesn’t matter. It is not necessary to kdetails, in order to pray for someone, because God knows all. An I will continue to pray.

    Heavenly Father, we come to You, in the Name of Jesus Christ, Your son, our Saviour. I ask Father for You to give Caralyn Peace, by Your Holy Spirit, as only He can give. I pray her spirit and her mind will be calm. In Jesus Name I speak Your empowering within her, that she will have wisdom in all reflections of the past.
    As she is seeking Your mind to learn from all things in the past year, Holy Spirit, give Caralyn clarity and discernment, I pray, so she will know Your voice over the voice of the enemy who attempts to discourage.
    Thank You Father God, for the gifts and talents that You placed within Caralyn, and for how she is using them to encourage others, and give You Glory. I pray she will experience Your Presence and Your Power, Father, and that You will Bless her abundantly.

    Ephesians 3:20-21
    20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
    21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

    Luv,
    George

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    1. Hey George, wow, I am so touched by this beautiful prayer. thank you so much for lifting me and my family up to the Father. It is so appreciated. especially right now. I have not fully shared yet, but we had a bit of a family emergency. But I’m waiting to share until I get the green light. It’s not really my story to tell. But as soon as I can, I will. I am just so grateful for your constant support and kindness. You are a blessing to me 🙂 big big big hugs to you and yours xo

      Liked by 1 person

  13. To God be the Glory for your recovery and enjoy your blessings. We all have an exact purpose and we all need reminded of all we are blessed to get through, another year down and many more blessed one’s to go!

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  14. Hi Caralyn…I have heard ALOT of friends talk about 2016 as a personal experience synonymous with Israel’s wilderness wanderings…lots of trials, loneliness, a sense of abandonment by God, fear, delayed expectations, etc. It is interesting that Israel’s perspective on the “wilderness” was very different than the Lord’s. They saw it through the lens of insecurity, fear and their own sense of what God “should” be doing (i.e. giving them everything they wanted right away). God saw it as a time of teaching Israel to trust Him, to rely upon Him, to learn His character and unfailing love for them. Deuteronomy 8 gives God’s perspective on why He allowed intentionally tested Israel in order to prepare them for the blessing. Your admonition regarding how we should process pain is redemptive, healthy and the pathway to blessing. God brings beauty from the ashes. Isaiah 61:3, “To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
    Thanks for the reminder to process all, the good and the hard, through the loving sovereignty of our Father in Heaven!!
    Love in Him,
    Tom

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Tom! Wow, what an absolutely beautiful reflection. Thank you for sharing the incredible insight you have. I truly always look forward to reading your words because they are so powerful and thought provoking, and really reach straight to the heart. I am so appreciating of this. How comforting and empowering is that verse. Wow. God is amazing. Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is very kind of you to say Caralyn…an interesting tidbit about the wilderness as mentioned in Israel’s history…God always refers to the wilderness, “My land” whereas He refers to the promised land as “your land”. It seems that the Lord has a true fondness for the metaphorical wilderness in the lives of His children. It is there that we grow in intimacy with Him…where He reveals His tender care in the midst of our neediness. I am learning to love “His land” because I have learned who He truly is in those hard places! It is NEVER comfortable and I squirm more than I trust, but I guess that is why this is a lifelong journey and not a sprint!

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      2. I’ve never thought of that before, but you’re absolutely right. We really do have wilderness in our own lives, in the many forms and trials that comes in for each individual, but that right – it is in those times that we grown in intimacy and learn to truly depend on Him for our life source 🙂 hugs xo

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  15. 2016 was definitely rocky. Not just in the news, but in my own life. Looking back, though, I can see how the challenges made me stronger–not that I’m in any hurry to repeat them! The funny thing is, I keep an online journal where I’ve often done yearly reviews–and most of them say, “Well, THAT year was difficult! Thank goodness it’s over!” Maybe I need to focus more on the positive–or maybe 2016 wasn’t really that unusual, haha.

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  16. Great, learn from the past and grow from the lessons it taught you. I’m for that 🙂 We’re only limited by own own mediocrity. Think big and ask BIG from God, because it’s from aiming big that greatness comes. Greatness that you can share with others:-your talents, gifts, wealth and then bring glory to God through them. AMEN ❤

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  17. Me, I am with you princess all the way… toxic thoughts attract toxic actions and reactions… Nah, not me narrating the misery, mistakes and all over and over to intoxicate my poor mind… since starting a gratitude journal last month, I barely remember what went ‘wrong’ in any given ocassion because am on the look out for at least 5 good things that went great each day. An example is, being grateful for the way I managed a crisis…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Marie!!! 🙂 ooh a gratitude journal. that’s so awesome. yeah, when we focus and pay attention to the incredible blessings in our lives, it makes everything else just kind of fizzle into the right perspective in our minds. because we have really been given such a gift in this life. 5 good things — i’ll join you in that!! 🙂 so awesome. big hugs to you my friend xox

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We live in a world full of falsehood, for lack of a better term. Especially on the net a lot of people present a digital image that is more fantasy than actual physical reality. Here, I actually believe that your content is really you.
        I enjoy your blog, because even though I am not very Christian, I was never anorexic, and given the life I have led I feel virginity is pretty small in the rear view, I really admire the honesty with which you approach the topics.
        And I like your blogging style, so as a extremely novice blogger, I may actually learn something.
        Keep posting, I will keep reading.

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      2. Oh wow, thank you. Seriously I am humbled by your words. But you’re right,digital anonymity and digital “exaggerating” or “fiction-izing” one’s life is definitely a reality these days. Especially with “reality tv” …it’s jut hard to find authenticity anymore. I’m really touched that you would say that, so thank you. Looking forward to getting to know you more! 🙂 xox

        Liked by 1 person

  18. I couldn’t agree more! Learning from the past can help us with our future 🙂 I also suffered from eating disorders that I struggled with from 6th grade into my college years getting that help my second year of college was the best thing I ever did and helped give me my voice back and has made me a stronger person. I couldn’t be more thankful for the counselor I had, dietitian and doctor. I had similar feelings where I wished I could go back and do things right and not have an eating disorder almost embarrassed that was a part of me but through my major (I studied Human Development and Family Studies) it helped me work through that thought and allowed me to open up to other people in my classes about it (had to help ourselves to be able to help others) anyways now I don’t feel embarrassed instead I think of how strong of a person I am of course I wish I didn’t damage my body but I am proud to be stronger and healthier now and now I do things that right way and don’t struggle with the eating disorder voices anymore which I never thought would go away! 🙂 Anyways thanks for writing this post I think it was a great reminder and very powerful 🙂

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    1. Hi there! Oh thank you so much. You’re right- we can learn and then bring that new perspective into the future! I’m sorry that we have that history that connects us, but I’m so glad we are both now living in freedom. 🙂 your life is a victory! Celebrate that! Big hugs to you, friend xox

      Liked by 1 person

  19. So thoughtful and accurate! It’s tempting to try to ignore the hard parts of our stories thinking that we are getting away from them. But you are absolutely right-that gives them more power over us. And the harder the season, the deeper the wound, the more profound the wound or bitter the struggle the more time it takes to process and squeeze whatever God is trying to lead us to learn through it. You are doing a beautiful job sharing your story and the things you’re learning from it. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Melanie! So glad you enjoyed the read! You’re right – God is always teaching us powerful lessons-we’ve just got to be willing to face it and find the lesson. But He is always good. And always wants good for us, His precious children. Thanks for this beautiful encouragement Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

  20. now i have a spirit to love 2017 more and more. I love ur post. Anyway, would u do the honour of teaching good english to me. Cause i have lack of vocabulary in english. xxoo

    thepandaeyes.blog.com

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  21. You are wise beyond your years. I always look forward to seeing your posts. Straight forward, genuine, and compassionate. By the way, I’m with you! New year! New start!
    Reblogged this on my site.
    God bless you caralyn!🌼

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    1. Oh thank you so much. That’s seriously so kind of you to say. Yes! Let’s tackle 2017! 😎🎉😎🎉 hope you’re having a great week so far. Big hugs xox and thanks again for sharing this on your blog! Xox

      Like

  22. Thank for liking a post on my blog coz it leads me here. I love what I read and yours is just full of inspiration. Thank you so much! now I feel that my 2017 can be more joyful and it’s true that there’s always something to learn from the previous year. Happy new year!

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  23. “We repeat what we don’t repair” that’s a sentence I would like to remember in 2017 and continue my walk of life trying to understand things in my life that hurt and then move on in a more free mode

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  24. Yes I agree 2016 was a bad year, I lost a close family member, however I always listen to Jesus’ heart in both good and bad situations, and what came to my mind was that day some 2016 years ago when there was a big melee of people crowding around, and I push my way through and see the Saviour dragging his cross. Gee that was a bad year, however with that event and my loved one passing as well, greater things to come, and although we can’t always see immediately, a blessing in disguise.
    Fab post, Jesus loves you!

    Like

  25. Wow. I think you’ve pegged what my beef has been the past few months–I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Post-election, everyone is harping on each other based on Trump supporter or not. And I’m not a supporter. But, I believe sitting around criticizing and analyzing is as productive as belly button gazing. I want to focus on the good I can do. If we call could just look to the good we envision, I wonder what we could collectively create?

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  26. “Not that I speak of want, for I have learned, whatsoever the situation, to be content. ” — Philippians 4:11 … Thanks for sharing, and praises to God for another day to grow more like Him! ~ ❤ 🙂

    Like

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