Renaissance of the Heart

It’s a funny thing, nostalgia. Whether it’s rewatching Harriet the Spy, or finding your suede, sea-foam green converse shoes from when you were a kid (#style), certain things have the power of just bringing you back to moments in time and making them feel like just yesterday.


That happened today.

One of the things I have just been blown away with here recently, is how good people are. And how they rise to the occasion. People going out of their way to spend time with my mom, and help in anyway they can with her stroke recovery.

So this afternoon, my mom’s friend picked us up and gave us a tour of downtown. We walked, drove, and took the streetcar.

And this was a big deal. I haven’t really spent much time downtown since I left for college. As in…none at all. When I left, the city was really nothing to write home about. And you definitely didn’t want to find yourself alone on the streets at night.

But since then, this huge cultural renaissance happened, and now, downtown has turned into its own little Brooklyn-esq hotspot with eateries and shops that could compete with just about any city on the map. All it needs now is tall, skinny, bearded men in micro shorts.


But what was the most special for me, was driving past all of the old theaters where I spent my childhood years.

Seeing the stage doors where I would come in and out as a teeny little thing, carrying my weight in bouquets of flowers and teddy bears.

Or walking through the park across from the theater where my mom and I would go for the afternoon between shows just to get some time to “be a kid.”

It was this tidal wave of emotion and nostalgia that washed over me as I visited these places that truly shaped who I was growing up: the good, the bad and the challenging.

Coming home, I couldn’t stop thinking about that feeling of being back on my old stomping ground. I mean, from age 7 to about 15, I would spend months at a time performing at these big theater halls downtown. It gave me such joy. Such life. Such passion.

I think about that little girl, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t fill my heart with a little pang of sadness when I think, what happened?

 What happened to give that passionate, spunky, confident little girl, the belief that she was anything less?

What crushed that spirit to make her believe that she wasn’t beautiful or enough?

Coming back to these “hallowed” spots of my youth today, as a whole, healthy young woman, it was as though I was reclaiming that little girl. That pip squeak who was singing her heart out on stage, loving life, loving herself and absolutely sucking the nectar out of life…I embraced that little girl today. Allowed those memories back into my heart. Allowed her back into my heart.


The thing about recovering from an eating disorder – or any traumatic event, I would assume – is that it’s easy to fall into the trap where you close yourself off to the past, because it hurts to remember. Because it’s dark. Because you mourn the loss of those precious years to anorexia or what have you.

But the danger in that, is by doing so, you lose the good memories too.


Shutting that “pre-anorexia” part of my childhood out, and not even revisiting the scene…sure, it may prevent some temporary discomfort of reliving those horrible memories, but what about the good ones that you wipe away with it?

For crying out loud, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, Caralyn!


Going to those places today, it was really good for me. Because the truth is, that was a huge part of who I am that I had just left behind. Aside from the lines on my acting resume, that part of my history had been written out completely.

But not any longer.

Along with the renaissance my city has experienced in these last several years, so to, today, in my heart.

That little girl was precious. And good. And had something to offer the world.

And gosh darn it, so do I.

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280 thoughts on “Renaissance of the Heart

  1. I have this picture of me when I was in kindergarten on the wall and when ever I look at it, I mean really look at it, I think…that girl is awesome! That girl is still inside of me and you. Such a blessing to reconnect with her, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It would be just like God to bring you back to your home town and discover it’s not what you remembered. Now if only that tall, handsome stranger would be sitting in one of those new eateries!


  3. this was very beautify bbb… and it goes for all addictions…i lost a lot of my memory because it had faded into the background of who i had become. It is not until recently that I am starting to uncover the bountifulness of the tragedy in which i was bury. I am glad that I have another chance not only to get it right but to be able to look back and remember again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my gosh, I praise Jesus for this post!
    Before I went on my laptop to read it, I spontaneously decided to write a poem… I used to write poems, A LOT, but I, like you, left it behind (for at least a few years) after a very traumatic season of my life occurred. I left the art and enjoyment of writing poetry behind, along with many *good* memories of the Annalee who was not afraid of life; was not afraid of anything.
    I realize I have become afraid of life.
    I am forever changed, but writing a poem… it felt good. Freeing, life-filled.
    May Jesus continue to show you, and I, and all of His Followers, the Good Memories worth holding onto… and may He make us unafraid to live the lives He has so graciously given us!!
    Thank you for bearing your heart, and glorifying Jesus so beautifully. ❤
    Love, Your sister in Christ,


    1. Thanks so much Annalee. I’m glad this resonated with you. I’m so sorry that you had to go through a difficult season. I hope that you can welcome that poetry and artistry back into your life and that you feel revived! Because yes! He has come that we have life and have it to the full! God is good. I’ll definitely keep you in my prayers:) and thank you for your prayers and kind words 🙂 sending massive hugs xox

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks sis!!! Like many commenting on here are saying, I need a new perspective–Jesus’ perspective on my whole life, including this trauma. Prayers for walking in the Spirit and being obedient and open to all Jesus has for me would be appreciated!! Sending massive hugs back xoxo 😊


  5. (I think the comment I just left didn’t show up, so I am re-writing it. Haha.)
    Oh my gosh, I praise Jesus for this post!
    Before going on my laptop to read this post, I spontaneously decided to write a poem… I used to write poetry A LOT, but, like you, left it behind, along with many other things, after going through a very traumatic season of my life.

    It’s probably been at least 1 year or so since I have just enjoyed writing poetry. I look back to pre-trauma me– this Annalee who wrote and was not afraid of life; not afraid of anything.
    I realize I have become afraid of life. I don’t want this. I don’t need to be.
    So, sitting down and writing a poem again? It felt… good. Life-giving.

    I am praising Jesus for reminding us that while what lies behind us is hard, He was THERE– and wants us to remember that, too.
    May Jesus continue to remind you, I, and all of His Followers of the Good Memories worth keeping… and may He continually make us unafraid to live the lives He has so graciously given us!!

    Thank you for your honesty, and glorifying Jesus in such a way! ❤

    Your Sister in Christ,


      1. Don’t be sorry 😋 It’s all good!! And the beautiful words truly are Jesus’ words– He always leads me to this blog for some heart change!! I praise Him and thank Him for you (Philippians 1:3). 💕 Have a blessed evening, Lovely.


  6. Beautiful!
    I went through a depression that I call my “fog years” at first it was hard to look back on but now I have realized I have grown from it and that sweet little girl with a creative spirit is back and better!
    Your post are always so honest and I am praying for you and your mom.
    I am glad you realized you have something to offer the world ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey Caralyn – thanks for sharing – isn’t it good to know even if we have suffered abuse – an ED – a painful past – although it’s a huge part of our life there is more to our lives – learning to live with that part of you are is so huge – it’s a part of us but not all of us – I’ve been finding out in my blog people appreciate connecting with others who have similar paths – appreciate you – God bless


  8. This isn’t quite related to the content of the post, but I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months and something I always find myself mystified by is how you write so frequently. For me, it often takes days to finish even a single post because of reorganizing thoughts, considering better ways to say something, editing, etc. How do you write posts with such frequency?


    1. Oh gosh, thanks Jeremy! You know, this blog is seriously a full time job for me. I honestly spend about 30-40 hours a week on it, and that’s not even an exaggeration. To answer your question, I spend a lot of time talking to people and listening to podcasts, and trying to experience a lot of different things that could spark inspiration for my writing. I hope that helps! thanks for stopping by! hugs xx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I can relate to a lot of what you have written here. There are some periods of my OCD that were so dark and terrifying that I don’t want to think about them (my therapist has said that at times I was bordering on psychosis), and it is hard to believe that anything good could have possibly come out of them.

    But I came out of them. And for that I am incredibly thankful.

    Thank you for sharing your journey, and for being so honest and inspiring.


    1. I’m so glad that you’ve gotten freedom from that. that seriously makes my heart so happy! Thanks for sharing part of your journey. Isn’t it incredible how good can be made from even the darkest of situations? Big hugs to you xox


      1. In a few week’s time I’m actually giving a 2-hour “course/workshop” on my journey with mental illness, and there are apparently quite a few people who are attending. I’m hoping that I will soon find the courage to share my story on my blog, as you share your story on yours.


  10. Wow! You had suede, sea-foam green converse shoes! You must have been so cool as a kid 😙 My mom seriously bought my clothes for me from the Salvation Army until I was in about seventh grade, and then there was definitely a learning curve before I developed any sense of personal style. Lol. Thank goodness for Catholic college with segregated dorms!!! Those ladies were the sisters I never had and desperately needed!

    It was so good to read this post. My heart is a little bit lighter and much brighter. Thank you for sharing the goodness that you found on your tour through familiar places and old memories. Many of my childhood memories are traumatic ones, but there are also good ones mixed in. It’s really hard to revisit my childhood to spend time with those moments playing in the sandbox or riding the swings as high as they would go or hunting for frogs with my brother or staying up late with all the neighborhood kids playing flashlight tag on rollerblades in the summer… it isn’t easy, but it is possible to go back to those memories while still holding space for the memories that are mixed in with them that are harder to reconcile. To acknowledge those happy memories doesn’t mean that the traumas didn’t happen, and it doesn’t lessen them, but to negate the good parts of my childhood would be just as invalid. This isn’t easy stuff, but thank you for bringing me back there.

    I’m imagining you as a spunky, little kid, and it makes me smile. That girl has definitely sent out a lot of light into the world. I know you will continue to sparkle. ☺️❤️


    1. Haha yes I did! I thought I was the cats pajamas with those shoes, lemme tell ya! Haha yes! I stayed in the girls only dorm at college too. Crazy to say, but those are hard to find anymore — everything is coed now. My father was pretty thrilled about that…haha But thank you for sharing this, I’m sorry that you can relate in the difficulty of looking back and looking past some difficult seasons, but I’m so glad that you’re choosing to remember the good. You’re right, it isn’t easy. Thanks again for your kind words and positivity. So grateful for your friendship, Lulu! And ps…I loved playing flashlight tag!! 😎 hope you have a great rest of your weekend. Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There should be an adult flashlight tag league. Maybe I’ll try to start one up this summer 😉. Sending hugs back to you!!! ❤️


  11. Acknowledging and membering the many aspect of our past experiences does take effort. “Going home”, even when the home town has changed as much as we have during those years can elicit those thoughts.


  12. Caralyn, this made me want to sing and dance with you and for you. For all you are re-discovering of that little girl and for all the beauty your heart finds God putting within you today, I praise Him. Only God can bring resurrection like that!


  13. Catching up with yourself is, always good. It shows how far you’ve come and how far you have to go, I suppose. Did you know, humans are not very good with time. So, memories bump into each other in our minds as if it was yesterday and it could be ten years ago. The links could be as simple as, a smell or the wind on your skin. The point, pain can seep in and become the smell and hijack all these great memories. Another filter but just like water chips away at rocks in a stream until smooth we are capable to chip away at our pain because we are also, water.


  14. Hi BBB,

    It is so cool to see steps in your healing. We saw Runway Bride a few weeks ago and something about fixing the past comes to mind. You have to do some repair of old things to be healthy for now and what is to come. A town or a person can benefit from that. Enjoy these days God has given you.

    In Christ,

    Gary On Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 4:00 PM BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “It’s a funny thing, nostalgia. Whether it’s > rewatching Harriet the Spy, or finding your suede, sea-foam green converse > shoes from when you were a kid (#style), certain things have the power of > just bringing you back to moments in time and make them feel l” >


  15. Caroline,

    I have been reading all your blog posts as they came into my inbox. I have been praying and rejoicing alongside you girl. I am sorry about what is going on with your mom and I am so thankful that God is in the middle of it all, helping make each day something you can live through…and giving comfort. I started 2 new blogs today: sweet peace tea and sweet peace dancer. I am had a family emergency last year as well, and I have been helping to support my mom and family. I’m only 24 and I can relate. Like I’ve mentioned before I struggled with anxiety for years and it wasn’t until I was in college that God healed me through a friendship that is fizzled and strained right now. I just want you to know that God loves you and that you are making a big difference in this world. I am so thankful for all your posts and comments. I am also thankful that you’ve kept up with my old blogs for maybe years (I don’t even remember when I started reading your blog). It seems like forever.

    Love you and I’m sending shalom (so much peace) your way.



    1. Oh Brianna, what a kind note of encouragement, thank you so much. I really appreciate your kind words for my mom and I. I’m sorry that that friendship is in a rocky patch right now. It sounds like it is a particularly special relationship, and so I know that you guys can get through this. I’ll for sure keep y’all in my prayers 🙂 hugs to you xox

      Liked by 1 person

  16. You as the little girl was definitely precious, as you are grown to be precious to all readers, I am so glad you brought that pip squeak back into your life, as she was and is a big and important part of your life


  17. I love the nostalgic sense in this post, going back to things from my childhood has really helped me get back into a positive mindset throughout the last few years. Whether that be a song, smell, place, photos or whatever I agree with how earthgrounding it is!xx


  18. Thx for sharing. It touch my melancholy heart. Throwing back into my childhood time has make me to be grateful person 🙂


  19. feeling the need to escape my own thoughts for a little while I scrolled through some blogs and fell upon this post. And somehow I ironically managed to hear my own voice in your words, but clearer then I have for a while. so thank you for your honesty and thank you for allowing me to reconnect with myself.


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