Reclaiming Childhood

Sitting here in my childhood bedroom, it’s pretty difficult not to reminisce.

I mean, it’s strewn with photos from my brace-faced awkward middle school phase where clearly I thought baby pink, glittery eyeshadow was a good idea.

I’ve dug around some drawers and unearthed some old IM conversation threads with crushes from sixth grade. — Is that awkward that I still have those? I mean…that’s not creepy…

There’s something about the tangibleness of it all that just really brings me back to those times

One of the “memory exercises” I’ve been doing to help my mom, is that we’ve been looking at old photo albums. And I mean…wow.

Let’s just say, the 90’s were somethin’ else. I look at some of the crazy things we were wearing, and I’m torn between cringing, and secretly coveting those neon nylon glory days.

But flipping through the big, bulky albums with yellowing pages and fading 5 X 7’s, I actually was getting a little weepy.

Seeing these pictures of myself as a little tyke, I suddenly remembered just how good life was as a child.

Having gone through a pretty desolate period in my adolescence – my battle with anorexia – it does things to your memories. It taints them. Makes you not want to remember anything.  It sort of, creates this black hole in your history. And even now, as a healthy and thriving young woman, I just don’t like to look back, period. In an act of self preservation, I tend just to avoid my personal history all together. Including the time before my disease, too.

It’s like, I just don’t want to turn my eyes to the past, because I’ll inevitably have to think about “The Dark Ages.”

But something happened last night. Sitting and seeing 5 year old me, 7 year old  me….I wanted to remember. I was looking at those photos and getting all verklempt, because I had a good childhood.

I really did.

I think if I’m being really honest with myself, I think it was another little self-sabotage to not allow myself to remember the good parts of my past, by getting so hung up on that one period of time. Granted, it was a horrific and utterly destructive time period, but what I’m coming to realize — is that I can choose to reclaim my past.

I can choose to look back in despair and regret, or I can choose to remember the good.

I can choose to say, You know what? Yes, I did have a pretty shitty chunk of time where I was hurtful to myself and my loved ones, but that’s not my whole history

Sure, I was the girl that battled a severe case of anorexia, but I was also the child who, at 5 years old, loved to go up to the old ladies at McDonald’s and sing to them. I was the girl who came alive on stage and had a passion for the arts. I was the goofy kid who loved making comedy movies with friends and dressing up and talking in accents.

My history is full of a lot of joy. My history involves a lot more than just an eating disorder.

And I’ll be damned if I let that part of my past rob me of those joyous memories by wracking me with guilt and shame and an unwillingness to look back for fear of remembering the dark.

No sir.

And honestly, how selfish of me to arrogantly turn my back on the beautiful childhood I had, because of that one blip on the radar. (Well, okay maybe not a  blip…more like…a storm front with tornadac activity).

But it is such a powerful perspective…right now, my mom…what she wouldn’t give to be able to remember those precious moments that I’m so insolently choosing to avoid because “it hurts to look back.”

Boo-frickin-hoo, princess.


It’s time to take back those memories. Allow myself to see the good. The joy. The laughter. The precious moments that shaped who I am and were shared with people I love.

Because at the end of the day, life is messy. And if I’ve learned anything in my time around the sun, it’s that everybody has shit. (Excuse my french.) Evvvvverybody has things in their past (or present) that they’re not proud of. That they’re working on. That hurts to remember. Everybody.

So, I’m going to treasure this time, looking back at the golden years. And celebrating those memories. When life was simple and Donald Trump hadn’t yet discovered self tanner.

But really, that is a victory. And the Good Lord knows, I’m in need of one of those lately…no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

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243 responses to “Reclaiming Childhood”

  1. I can’t say my life was picture perfect, but I’ve never faced your challenges, either. I sometimes look back at all of the good pieces of my history and wish I could stitch them together to form my life.

    Problem is, my life wasn’t always good and it wasn’t always bad. But I want to remember only the good and to pretend there’s such a thing as “the good old days.”

    My son David is divorced and his two children have struggled because of it. More amazingly, he fell right into another relationship with someone I consider “Wife 2.0”. She’s no different, but he thinks she’s his world. He’s planning on proposing to her in a few days.

    I can’t soften the blow of what I think is about to happen to my grandchildren, but hopefully, I’ll become part of those memories they’ll always want to remember, even though there are times ahead they probably won’t.

    • Hey James, thanks for this thoughtful reflection. I’m glad this struck a chord with you. Yeah, I definitely hear you, wanting there to be the Good Old days…seems like what i talk about with my old friends. Oh wow, how exciting for your son! good luck to him in that new chapter. Yeah, it sounds like they’re really going to treasure the steady place their grandpa has in their lives 🙂 thanks for the encouragement. big hugs xox

  2. I needed this today. I’m here, just like you, looking back at good memories and it is almost painful because I know what happens next and my little self had no idea. I feel like it is wrong to enjoy the good ones because every event leaks into the next. Hopefully I can reclaim them, as you are.

  3. Is it odd that I’ve still got my Christmas tree up? Brings back good memories. Part of letting God in. And hey, single guy, solely owned apartment, so who cares?

  4. I have difficulty remembering my past for similar reasons I blocked stuff out and never looked back! Now I feel sad when my sisters reminisce about things we did that I can’t remember, my dads in a wheelchair and I can’t remember a time when he could walk but my sisters remember him taking us to the park or running around in the garden, I wish I could! I just thought it was better to always look forward not back but sometimes it’s good to remember what made you what you are today, your past, good or bad!

    • Hey Angela, thanks so much for your thoughtful reflection. Oh gosh, what precious time together. Yeah, what we went through has shaped who we are 🙂 thanks for stopping by, hugs to you xo

  5. Awesome!!

    You know something that struck me too? That part of our lives is the most comparable to what Father wants for our new life in Christ – re-growing, redeveloping as a child, sitting on his lap, where there simply is no debate about whether we should or shouldn’t let him take care of us–where there’s no one saying ‘just let God take care of everything for you’ because a child doesn’t know anything but. Life has a way of bringing trial after trial to make us forget what being a child was like, or to teach us that being a child is the last thing you want to be. But no… Re-born. Re-developed (and re-developing into the identity he wrote for you on that white stone, finally back in the proper context of being rooted and grounded in Christ-in-you-the-hope-of-glory…mmmm…. childhood was is so delightful. Hurray for Jesus! 😀

    • Hey Carson! you’re so right — regrowing as a new creation. that’s such a powerful perspective. I love reading your comments because I always end up learning so much and seeing things in a totally new and awesome way 🙂 Amen – Let God hand everything. That is definitely the best way to live our lives. I have been filled with so much comfort reading this tonight, thank you my friend. Hooray for Jesus indeed. Big hugs xox

      • I’ve given up ‘pshaw’-ing your thank-yous–I don’t have enough pshaws. ;D So you’re welcome and of course I’m always happy when Father talks (:

        So reclaim that childhood, and claim your new childhood, too, both are so important and so defining to your identity, I could see that all over this post how deeply ingrained your childhood is in who you are now–regardless of whether you remember and cherish it or not, there’s no ‘she’ and ‘me’, there’s only you (:

      • hahah, i feel the same!! that’s so great — yes, only you…i like that. 🙂 yeah, my parents provided such an incredible home. and still do. lots to be thankful for. God is truly good. hope you’re having a great night xox

  6. Great observation. I can also reminisce now about the dark times and not feel guilty or vulnerable or threatened. I once again enjoy our ’60s music and the exciting culture sans the booze and dope. We had some awesome times.

  7. Yes’m, everybody has a closet, and everybody has a skeleton or two in that closet! I pray that God continues to bless you richly and draw you ever nearer to Himself <3

  8. One of the AA promises states, “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” During the 25 years I drank, I became a father to 2 wonderful sons. Things could have been better had I been sober, but that wasn’t how life turned out. Today matters. Who you are and what you give to the world matters.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this, David. You’re right. Today matters. And yes, we all have something to give. no matter our past. we can give today. what a powerful quote. that’s going to stick with me. thanks again xx hugs xox

    • Thank you so much, Elizabeth. What a kind note of encouragement. It really is such a blessing to be able to be here for her, because it’s true…it is healing for me. She has been my rock, and I am grateful to have this opportunity to “pay her back”…even though she would never ask for being paid back, you know? But God is good. all the time. big hugs xox

  9. French excused. 😉 This is such a beautiful post! You sound like you were the cutest little bundle of sunshine 🙂 I’ll have to think more about what you said. About not looking back because it hurts and how much we could be missing out on. It’s kind of crazy that you had this epiphany while helping your mum with her memories! Best of luck to you and your family sweetie 🙂 you guys are in my thoughts.

    • haha thanks…yeah when i get a little passionate, sometimes things tend to slip! eek! Thank you for your kind words. haha I was a bundle of something, that’s for sure…maybe crazy energy!! haha jk jk Yeah, i am being so blessed through this whole process. I know I am technically “helping” her, but gosh, I am being showered with so much healing in the process. I keep tell my mom that she’s giving ME a gift in this whole process. Thanks again for your support and friendship. you are amazing 🙂

      • I wish you could hear how I said it, with accent and expression, you really did, I initially had formulated a response, based upon my own experience, you covered them exquisitely, so that was what I was left with.I am and thank you <3

      • Haha yeah I wish there was a way to communicate vocal inflections online too! I try to do that with gifs haha by seriously for your kind reflection. Means a lot:)

  10. love it!!! i always love your posts. but this one means a lot for me and my family as well.

    and how a life changing occurrence with a loved one can really bring perspective and gratitude.

    and yes we have painful moments that are part of how we got to where we are today- but those childhood memories are what bring us to the root of what is inside us: that never goes away. we are those little kids.

  11. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your Mom. I went through something similar with my own Mom last year. Thankfully she’s OK now, but when we were all going through it, I had a lot of the same emotions as you. Your article was inspiring, thank you for sharing. We all have Sh*&%

  12. Ahhh, you’re such a cute kid. Congratulations on reclaiming some of those good memories.

    “I thought baby pink, glittery eyeshadow was a good idea.”

    Wait…you mean it isn’t? How come nobody told me? 🙂

  13. I’m glad you have this opportunity to redeem this part of your story. God never wastess anything-not the good, not the bad, not the parts we are proud of nor the ones we would rather hide. He is able to make it all into something beautiful. What a gift to yourself and your mama. I pray she continues to improve. I’m sure your presence is a great help.

    • Thank you so much Melanie! you’re so right, God uses every little thing – good and bad. Beautiful indeed. such a powerful thought. thanks again for your prayers. it means the world. hugs xox

  14. Good word, important to remember the goodness of God in our youth.
    “When Donald Trump hadn’t yet discovered self tanner.”
    😆😆 great line! Cracked me up!

  15. A beautiful post that made me think about my childhood. Thank you for causing me to do some much-needed soul-searching.

    And thank you again for Liking the chapters of the story I’m working on: I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

  16. This is really good. Thank you for sharing this. Your looking at pictures from your childhood and reminiscing about how good it was made me think about God’s redemption, in that we can go through some really ugly messes and at our lowest points we wonder if we’ll ever be whole again and have the joy we once had. I’ve been there. This post just reminded me that God restores us, makes us new, and we don’t have to dwell on all the crap we’ve gone through, because that isn’t who we are. So again, thank you.

  17. This hits home in ways I had never imagined it could. Although I never struggled with an eating disorder, I was, at dark times in my life, drawn to the communities that had been built around them. Not until recently did I realize how much of that time in my life was hidden from my immediate, conscious memory. Only now, have I discovered that I was in a much darker place in my adolescence than I was ever willing to admit, and that my refusal to acknowledge it played a big part in the detached and lonely woman I would become. My family has often relied on me for my memory, and as my parents get older, I fear the day in which my memories of that time are all that’s there, because they are so skewed by the battle I was fighting. I applaud your courage in facing these truths and your past so that you can help your mother remember. You’re a beacon for those who’ve hidden their pasts from light. <3

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story. My heart is just going out to you and I am sending you the biggest hugs because I have been there too. Yeah, acknowledging the pain takes a lot of courage, and I’m cheering for you as well, for taking that difficult look back. Because for a long long time I didn’t even do that! I just refused to even think about or acknowledge it. So rock on sister:) know that I am in your corner. Always 🙂 thanks again for your encouragement. Hugs and love xox

  18. I’m so glad that God is allowing you to see the beauty before the storm! Cherish those memories and how you felt ! Happy and secure! Blessings xo

  19. I am reminded of this song:

    Tell Me Sister

    Tell me sister,
    How long you been holding it in?
    Oh, what’s the price of sin?
    Confess it sister, start again,
    A new true you,
    A new, new, you.

    Jesus came and it’s true,
    He came to make all things new!
    Tell me sister,
    How long you been holding it in?
    Oh, what’s the price of sin?
    Confess it sister, start again,
    A new true you,
    A new, new you.
    Born again.

    Born again in Jesus,
    Who died for you.
    He is the way, the light and the true.
    He is the one who paid the price for you,
    Died for you,
    so you could be new, new new
    New, new, new…

    Sister He paid the price for you
    so you go be
    New, new, new….
    You have become a new creation in Christ. The old is still there, the good and the bad. The old body still haunts your present you but the new you is changing daily as you grow spiritually and put off the old.

    I think you have grown through looking at your childhood photos. “In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all.” Isiah 11:6 The little child you were, has lead the adult who you are to a better place. The wolf and leopard (eating disorders) will lie with the lamb and the baby goat (the new, reborn you) because they will be at peace with each other.

    The past is the past. It is what it is. You cannot change it. I am glad that you are making your peace with it. Remember the good and the bad; but, instead of looking back so much, spend more time looking ahead to where you are going. Don’t spend too much time looking back at the bitter past as you are not going back there. But, do not forget your bitter past, as those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it; however, as I said, spend more time looking ahead at a future filled with the Holy Spirit rather than back at the devil. Do remember the charming little girl that you were (Furby, braces, pink eyeliner and all) and the joy that little girl brought her mother. Do be happy that you have grown into a beautiful child of God and sister of Jesus.

    Yes, we all have darkness in our past, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). All of us need to learn from your story for it is a story of redemption. You have been reclaimed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Your freedom paid for by the infinite love of Jesus Christ. I thank God for His Grace and Mercy that he has poured out on you (and us all).

    • Oh my gosh this is so beautiful. Thank you so much for this heart felt note of support and encouragement. I am seriously so touched. You’re right, I needn’t forget the past but learn from it and more forward. Thanks again for this powerful perspective. Amen – God’s mercy reigns. Hugs and love xox

  20. This is so beautiful, and definitely made me smile 🙂 It’s wonderful to remember those fun, goofy childhood memories… in a loving way. Glad that now you want to see those pictures, and want to remember the beautiful little girl you were. xx

  21. “I was also the child who, at 5 years old, loved to go up to the old ladies at McDonald’s and sing to them.” Awww. So cute! And (at the risk of sounding creepy) I really like that first picture. You have such a sparkle in that one. 😀 (Sorry if that sounds creepy 🙁 So not my intent.)

  22. Thank you for sharing. I thought I was the only one who had a foggy memory of my childhood, even the good times are hard for me to recall. Interesting the way our minds work.

  23. Good for you. I like this. 🙂

    My room at my parents’ house isn’t like that at all. There aren’t many pictures of me in general. But I get what you’re saying.

    What brings back the strongest memories for me is music from certain time periods. Particularly college (1994-99). Whenever I drive around the area I lived at the time (which is about 30 miles from where I live now, I have friends who live in that general direction and I go back for football and basketball games a few times a year) I always listen to music from that time period. I kind of have the opposite thought process from you, though… I tend to remember the good things about those years more strongly than all the difficulties I was having. I think it’s because life just felt simpler back then… if I knew then what I know now, I would have turned out very different, but what I know now doesn’t really help me navigate life now.

    But I can apply what you’re saying to my life now. There’s a lot of good left in my life now, and I am more than my failures and faults.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this. You’re right, we are more than our failures and faults! Oh music…gosh, isn’t it crazy how music can move you and bring you back places!? I definitely can relate. Especially songs that I sang in shows I was in. Wow – right back to that time! Hope your week is off to a great start. Hugs and love xox

      • I was off today, and I went for a 25 mile bike ride, so that’s a good start 🙂

        A while back, some of those memories from that time period I turned into a very unpolished as of yet draft of a short novel, very much based on real experiences. There were lots of music references in it. It alternates between flashbacks to the 90s, about an awkward college student and his pen pal, and the same guy today trying to track her down, and dealing with some issues in life that parallel some of the memories involving his pen pal. I told someone that, for me, this story is both my love letter to the town where I lived in the 90s and my resigned acceptance that those days are over. Hopefully someday I’ll work on it again and clean it up a bit.

      • Oh wow! 25 miles that’s amazing! And that’s incredible that you wrote a novel! Sounds like a pretty powerful story. I hope you get it out there! I would love to read it!

  24. Wow Princess, wow wow wow. Could I not just say speechless and leave it at this? And now girl, tell me who is having the last and best laugh: You Caralynn or that ED? Jesus or Lucifer? I mean and for real, wow wow wow Amen

    • Aw Marie, thank you so much:) you are so kind. Haha yes– I would say that *Jesus* had the last laugh! Wooo! 🙌 in all seriousness though, He really does deliver us. Hope you’re having a great week so far. Hugs and love xox

      • He laughs all the time, but the best laugh is when we get Him laughing because we realize He’s been having our back all the time and then oh my we join laughing with Him… Ain’t that glorious that as someone said you are going through all this healing down memory lane while actually helping mum regain her memory?

  25. This whole post made me verklempt! But it was so inspiring and it was exactly what I needed to hear (read?). Focussing on the good memories, and also, everyone having scars and a past. Both were much needed. Glad to see you’re still writing while at home 😀 Praying for you and your family, that your mom recovers, that you all come closer together than before and that Christ restores what has been broken and lost! Much love from South Africa 🙂

    • Haha aw thank you Tom! I’m glad it hit home with you 🙂 you’re right – both he good and the scars were important and needed to shape us into who we are! Oh yes, my creative juices are flowing here! Hehe Hugs and love xox

  26. Carolyn, a part of me envies you.

    I’ve told you before my brother died when I was a kid. That was 1985. He was a month from his 10th birthday and I was 6 weeks from my 13th. The pain that loss caused me was beyond words, and the “help” I got was so misdirected it actually increased the level of trauma for me.

    What eventually happened about 6 years ago was I finally found a psychiatrist who knew what he was talking about. Granted I now live in a different hemisphere – at least for the next few weeks since I’m moving back to England in March – but Piet managed to recognise PTSD and ADD in me and begin to help me piece my childhood back together. 25 years after the fact.

    Losing Robin made me shut down. I couldn’t deal with the memories, so I blocked them out – everything before he died. It left me with a 12 year gap in my head. I had the pain of the loss – and for much of my teen years in the 80s (dear Lord that makes me feel OLD!) that pain was all that kept me going. I became a loner and by the time I left school in 1990 I essentially had no real friends that cared about me – or so I thought. Facebook has since told me that there were people who actually cared enough that they went looking for me. It’s helped with the healing process.

    I admire the way you express yourself, and the courage you have to do so in such a very public way! I’ve struggled to get my head around things in the privacy of my shrink’s office, yet you have this awesome expression here.

    It’s taken a lot of therapy for me to recover some of the memories from pre-accident days. Initially I never knew if it was memory or if I’d just heard – specifically my mum – tell certain stories so many times it felt like a memory. But eventually I’ve started to regain stuff I know have to be memories because only Robin and I were there. One of my favourites was just 2 weeks before he died I had gone out on my bicycle to go to Burghley Park in Stamford, where I lived. I got half way there, turned round and he’d followed me. I gave him my reflective vest to wear and we went together – something our parents would have grounded us for life if they’d known about at the time. We rode through the park and saw the Red Deer they kept there. Two young stags were fighting and we watched in awe together as they charged and locked antlers, wrestling for dominance. It’s one of those moments I can hold onto now as a moment I was truly alive, and having Robin there with me makes it very special.

    Reclaiming the past is such a crucial part of healing. Photos, revisiting old places, finding smells and sounds – especially smells – to bring the memories back is a way to claim it and apply a balm to an open wound in your heart.

    Jesus said in Luke 4 that He had come to bind up the broken-hearted. He did that everywhere from raising the widow’s son in Nain, the Pharisee’s daughter, the centurion’s servant and of course Lazarus, to touching a leper, freeing the woman caught in adultery, offering acceptance to the Samaritan woman at the well and so many more it’s too much to list.

    But the most vital thing about Jesus binding up the broken-hearted that somehow seems to get lost today is that He still does it today! At least, He does if we let Him.

    When He went to His home town, the people’s lack of faith prevented Him doing any mighty works there except a few healings according to the Gospels. It had nothing to do with His faith or who He was. They wouldn’t let Him because they thought they knew Him and they didn’t believe He could help. I know of a church – a denomination actually – in South Africa where one modern song that contained the line “here with the power to heal now” was banned by the bishop because “it might make people think God still heals today – and we wouldn’t want to tell them that”. (Needless to say, I decided that wasn’t the right church for me!)

    The person who earnestly expects God to answer their prayers in true faith, and the person who expects nothing both end up getting what they expect. The first physical healing I received was a badly injured ankle. I was in the choir in Buckfastleigh, a small town in Devon, and the only bass (although I’m actually a baritone) in the choir and we had a small anthem that morning I was determined not to let them down by missing. So I had a walking stick, couldn’t get a shoe on because of the swelling so went barefoot but my robes were long enough that it wasn’t noticeable, and went to church. After the anthem was communion. I struggled to the altar and the vicar gave me my wafer, then to my surprise placed his hand on my head. Unusual, but he was a little odd (in a good way) so I didn’t think anything of it until I got back to my seat. Will, the choir master, was sitting next to me and he leaned in to me and said “David, you forgot your stick at the altar”. I looked down and quickly retrieved the stick. I looked at my ankle and the discolouration was there – every colour of the rainbow – but the swelling had gone completely and I had absolutely no pain! After the communion had ended the vicar took his seat next to Will and I leaned past him as the final hymn was about to start and told him what had happened. He stopped the organist and had me stand up in front of the congregation and tell them what had just happened. I ran up and down the centre aisle and showed everyone the discolouration to whoops and cheers from many in the congregation and very black stares from others – some of whom never set foot in the church again.

    Since then I try to expect God to heal me and I encourage everyone I meet to believe He a) wants to and b) can and will!

    Emotionally and physically we can believe and expect to receive full healing from God. The only thing that limits us is our expectations.

    I’m so happy that your healing is working through. God uses every situation we find ourselves in to bring hope to us, and Glory to His name.

    As always, I will keep you in my prayers and I remember your mum’s healing in them too!

    Many, many Blessings and much Joy to you my friend!

    • Thanks David, for sharing this. Oh gosh my heart just goes out to you and I’m sending you the biggest hugs. Loss is so hard to deal with. How comforting that Jesus does come to mend the broken hearted. And amen He definitely does it today. Thank you again for your prayers. It means the world. Grateful for you xox

  27. I want to reiterate that your past does not define who you are. I quote….( Jean Pierre de Caussade) “There is not a moment in which God does not present Himself under the cover of some pain to be endured, of some consolation to be enjoyed, or some duty to be performed. All that takes place within us, around us or through us, contains and conceals His divine action. God speaks to all individuals through what happens to them moment by moment.. God bless ,3

  28. Thats a real breakthrough Caralyn and another giant step in your healing – I suspect that deep down you are in so many ways still the positive, happy and mischievous 5 year old you decribe (not sure if its still a good idea to sing to the old ladies in McDonalds although I am sure they would appreciate it!)

    • Aw thank you so much 🙂 haha yeah I guess good old ” Mickey D’s” were a real happening place back in the 99’s! Haha aw thanks. Yeah I think more than I’d like to admit 🙂 Hahahaha oh gosh you’re funny. Hugs and love xox

  29. Oh Caralyn, this is absolutely awesome!!!! Awe-inspiring!!! An Aha! moment for me, too!! So, yeah, not only for you my dear friend. 🙂

    Why do we emphasize on the less-good? Maybe it’s that humility thing… I was taught as a child to be humble. Or, it could be my Catholic [guilt]. I will feel guilty to feel good and fortunate when there are so many less fortunate than me. But you’re right; we seem to focus on our unpleasant life and I don’t think it’s because of a “victim” mentality. I was taugh not to boast. I mustn’t give reasons for people to be jealous of me because then they might not be nice to me anymore since they won’t feel sorry/bad for me. Misery loves company, right? Oh, and forgive my stereotyping but Filipinos tend to have that little crab mentality. Sigh! Success doesn’t have to be but sometimes it can’t be helped that it’s lonely at the top. I don’t know… Also, I seem to think that we grow more from misfortune, pain, misery, failure, etc..

    I’m with you thought.. for sure! No more of that. This year, we must let the good shine. We must talk about the pleasant moments. We must write about the good life. I don’t mean forget the awful past. I don’t mean pretend nothing terrible or bad is happening. We acknowledge everything in our life and around us and we move on (quickly from the not-nice especially :)). Then, we focus on the good. I am definitely going to try this. 🙂 Thank you so much!!!

    I hope your mom is getting better each day. And do enjoy your time off from NYC. You’ll love it more when you get back after the absence. 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Anne, for this thoughtful response. So much truth here. You’re right, we learn so much from our short comings and pain. And amen to that! Let’s let the good shine!! Thanks again for your kind words for my mom. Yes, I think you’re right. Treasuring this season of life and taking each day as it comes. The rat race in NYC will always be there… 🙂 hugs to you…I’m very grateful for you, friend 🙂 xox

  30. So very true! Thanks for the reminder. And I hope your mother is doing better. My mom had a stroke as well when I was still relatively young, and it is hard and overwhelming at times. Hang in there. You are doing great.

  31. I also keep those notes from waaay back in the day! Was home recently and coincidentally, I’d gone looking for my childhood photos. I wanted to remember who I used to be back then and compare with the woman I’ve become now…
    Beautiful piece

  32. There’s this thing going around Facebook at the moment where people are posting photos of themselves in high school and then now, side-by-side. I totally want to do this. Unlike some people I know, my high school experience was pretty awesome. Seeing your post this morning makes me want to go through old albums, too. It’s great to leaf through them, and reminisce. Thank you for sharing!

  33. I’d like to ask….I haven’t had an opportunity to go through all your things…but would love to know at what point you went from this happy little girl to having the issues you encountered and some of the things that you feel led up to that point. Being a father of a young girl not much different than I see in these pictures….I would like to understand your signs so that I might have a detection if a similar path is in hers

    • Thanks so much for this thoughtful question. It sounds like you’re a great dad. 🙂 Sooo the answer unfortunately is a lot longer than this comment thread allows, but it was a number of factors, but the main one was a striving for perfection. I was your typical straight a student and had the pressures of being a professional child actor, and wanting to be societies standard of beautiful and it just got to be too much. I hope that helps. That’s the very baseline answer. The Golden Road to Hell is a good post of mine to read. I’m not at my computer so I can’t get the HTML link but I’d check that one out. 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  34. I needed this one. I, too, have been avoiding looking at old photos and things that remind me of the past. In my case, I think some of it is the age thing; I’m not dealing with this whole aging process. But, like you, it’s a total avoidance even of the happy memories because of a few painful mistakes or dark times that we all have. I should rejoice because I made it through those dark times, by His grace. Thank you for sharing!

  35. Awesome, getting your memories healed while helping your mother heal hers. Sounds like God! 🙂
    Btw, I think you should write a book about your struggle, healing, and reflections, etc. I know it would help a lot of people. Your blog is a testament to that.

    • Thanks Mel. Yeah a verifiable double whammy!:) hehe oh gosh that’s kind of you to say. Thank you. That’s actually some pretty specific and spot on encouragement I need right now, because I am feeling to called to finish the book I have already started! 😬 big hugs to you xox

      • By all means, do so. I would imagine a (smart) publisher would want a story like yours, but even if you didn’t get one to take it, you can self-publish on CreateSpace (Amazon) and other places.
        There’s healing in writing a book, too, btw. 🙂

  36. As I’ve come to expect, a beautiful thoughtful post. This theme resonates with me. Last night I was looking through photos on my FB page; they were pictures of my sweet Lulu from 6 years ago. I kept thinking to myself … oh how I wish we could just get back to that time in her life before all the bad stuff happened. Before her depression, low self esteem and eating disorder began. The innocence and wonderment that is childhood. Since you are a grateful soul, I know you understand that you are truly blessed. I see it through your words. And now here I am … trying to eat my lunch … in a puddle of tears. Why? Happiness because I’m grateful too.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Aw, thank you so much Jdub, that’s kind of you to say. Aww, yeah I can definitely understand. Gosh, I am sending you such big hugs and prayers. Yes, even through the pain and trials, we have a lot to be grateful for. Sending all my love xox

  37. Thanks for your openness. The times I have reflected on my childhood, it always seems to open up new wounds. The good news is once I realize it is there, I am able to give it over to God and let Him take it away. Not always fun, but to live life to the fullest, I want to make sure I am not carrying any baggage from my youth. Blessings!

    • Thanks so much, Jeff. amen to that — giving our pains over to God is the best form of healing. you’re right, not always fun, but always produces growth. thanks for your encouragement! hugs xox

  38. Loving this frank, honest look at then and now. We all have them. Glad to see you can rejoice in those care-free days and further rejoice today in how God has brought you through the darker times. You have a great, encouraging testimony, especially to young women – gee, the title of your blog is encouraging, alone! Young women need to know just how beautiful they are and how God sees them as the most beautiful, as if each one was the only one.

    My family and I had the privilege of being able to minister to a young woman who battled several issues in her past, including bouts bulimia and cutting. By the time she was staying with us, she was getting into drinking and some drugs and had a huge shadow of self doubt and low self-image. Thing is, she was a very pretty young woman. It only took one person to make a negative comment and a bit of an out of order household to bring her down. By God’s grace, she has overcome much, re-kindled the relationship with her folks and now lives in FL with her husband and they are expecting their first child, this spring.

    This is why we need to be encouragers and why people like you are an asset for those who hurt.

    Thanks, also, for reading my posts. I appreciate the “likes”, too.

    • Hey there! thank you so much for this thoughtful response 🙂 amen to that — God really has brought me through and for that I am forever grateful. What a powerful impact you made on that girl. she was lucky to have you and your family in her life 🙂 praise God for His deliverance. Thanks for sharing that uplifting story! so glad you stopped by! hugs and love xox

  39. Such a great perspective. I’m going through kind of the opposite journey of having to look back and realize the “fairy tale” might not have been so beautiful after all. I’m praying for grace and help from God as I walk that journey! Love reading your journey and it sounds like you might have another one going helping your mom. Prayers…

    • Thank you so much Joy. Yeah, looking back always brings up a whole gambit of emotions across the board! Yes, God will see us through. Thanks for the prayers and encouragement. Hugs and love xox

  40. The best part about being a parent is I relive my childhood all the time…through my kids. It’s the best. And at times, can be heartbreaking. But, like you mentioned…treasure this time. But be rest assured, you’ll relive again when you’re a Mom. 🙂

    • Hey Robby! oh that’s so awesome. Yeah, I found that to be true of nannying too! it’s fun to hear kids actually talk about Santa for real! haha thanks for the encouragement. hugs xox

  41. I loved reading this – I’m also in my childhood bedroom, living at home with my parents while trying to recover from anorexia. It’s strange to be thrown back into a life that more resembles my childhood than my adult life. I have tried to get rid of a lot of the things in my room that seem childish now, but you are right, we should remember the good times of being a child!

    • Thank you so much, for sharing this. I have been there, my friend. Know that I am cheering you on in your recovery! You chose life and that is absolutely something to celebrate! Don’t hesitate to shoot me an email if you need to chat or anything:) Hugs and love xox

  42. Such a lovely, uplifting post! Someone very close to me went through anxiety and depression, as she believed she could never be perfect and was flawed somehow. Watching her struggles, I have wondered how to help her and felt angry at myself for not being able to. She looks back on that time as a dark period too.

    It needn’t be something that has to affect your memories, or your future. The fact that you have scars to show means that you have fought a very brave battle and survived it. You are beautiful just the way you are. Hugs to you, and here is to a beautiful, beautiful future! <3

    • Oh thank you so much for this thoughtful reflection. What a kind thing to say – when I look at it from that perspective – as a survivor who fought…it definitely puts a new spin on things. It sounds like you’re an incredible friend. Thanks again for your encouragement! It means the world! Hugs and love xox

  43. Best blog yet, in my opinion. Honest, open, acknowledging the good and bad in your past without letting pain blur reality. Above all else, you recognize where you are now compared to where you were then. Good job!

    • Oh wow, Christi, what a kind thing to say. Thank you so much for this encouragement. Yes! I am so grateful to not be in that place anymore. Lots to be thankful for. Hugs and love xox

  44. Hey Dooga hope you are well sorry haven’t commented on a few of your posts I did read them, my goodness how cute are those photos of you! god definitely made a beautiful human being in you 😍😍 me and God have hit a rough patch in our relationship 😂 at the moment things have been difficult personally with D&AI hope your mum is doing ok 💛 (take note I spelt mum correctly 😜) sending you lots of love at this time, I would send BNS ice cream but I don’t think it would last to across the pond 😝

    • Hey Benjamin! Haha no worries at all:) thank you so much. Truly. I really appreciate it. I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through that. I will definitely keep you in my prayers. I always have to remind myself that there is nothing I can do that would ever make God stop loving me. He loves me through my mess. Maybe that resonates:) sending big hugs and yes, I had BNS ice cream for dessert tonight:) hugs and much love xox

  45. What a beautiful post… I love the image of you as a little girl singing to the old ladies at McDonald’s.

  46. I wish that I could make this more obscure, but I’m tired at the moment.

    You are re-entrained with the continuity of your wellness. Given the energy invested in opposing that, it is probable (to my mind) that you will be confronted with larger responsibilities (in the sense of Matt. 25:14-30) that were assumed in a prior age. Heed Luke 9:62; it is better to be led (the second servant) than to lead astray.

    The temptations are great. Hew to his example [Matt. 11:29]: “…I am gentle and humble in heart…” We are all simply conduits for the “one who is good” [Mark 10:18]

    • Thanks so much for this encouragement, Brian. I definitely pray for the Lord bless me with a plan and purpose for my life. Great passages! Glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  47. Your past is what guides your future. You can either learn from it or stay in it and I see that you have grown so much and changed so much. Don’t be afraid to look back because you will see the beautiful young you.

  48. Reclaiming our childhood is so very important I believe. It’s that beginning part of our testimony that if we miss out makes people sad who are following along. Lots of hugs and kisses come from Jesus and true friends, and then our life becomes a labour of love as we march forward and the true handful of friends are walking with you.

  49. Owning our whole story brings us freedom and strength. The first thing I thought of when I read your post was the Harry Anderson picture, “What Happened to Your Hand.” Do you know it?
    There is a little girl holding Jesus hand and she’s asking him that question. As painful as that experience was for Jesus, and it seems he’ll forever bear those wounds, his story is one of freedom, hope, and the greatest love.
    In its own way, yours is, too.

    • Thanks Brad. You’re right- it really does bring freedom. Oh wow what a beautiful image. I’ll have togoogle if. It sounds really powerful. Thanks for the encouragement. Hugs and love xox

      • Because I like you, I will try my best to help you become more cool…
        In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Spock’s long lost half brother shows up to persuade the crew to follow him to the centre of the galaxy. What he does to win them over is offer to take away their pain (past trauma, loss, etc.). Seems like a good thing. Kirk says no. He says:
        “You know that pain and guilt can’t be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!”
        There you go.

      • Hahaha oh gosh you’re definitely hoping my cool factor 🙂 😎😎 such wisdom though. If we lose those times we lose our pain. Whoduh thunk that there’d be such life advice in the Trek!

  50. You have always been beautiful, but your beauty is more pronounced now that you have made peace with your inner self, and the wonderful person that you are today! xoxoxo

  51. Beebs, I just want to say that slowing down in life is shit. I am glad, though, that you get that chance. You fly high. I was told once that I am an impatient person, and I probably am. Wings get clipped at some point. Maybe there’s a reason. I can’t help feeling that I wish you well, (I do). But, at the same time, you might be able to spread your roots deeper. (I’m not talking about family) Look behind the stats. Look beneath the numbers. Fixate on what’s past the facades shown everywhere.

  52. This was such a beautiful post. I had a really dark time when I first left home when I was 18 and I tend to always go back to that headspace and forget all the good I had before, and actually after that dark time ended too! This was just what I needed to read right now! Thank you 🙂 x

    • Hi Abby, thanks for sharing this. i’m glad it resonated with you. Yeah, it’s hard not to remember the dark, but the good parts are there. we just have to look for them 🙂 thanks for stopping by! hugs xo

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