The Thing about Clean Slates

It’s been a really interesting time that I’ve been home here.

Like, really interesting.

To the point where, I have been just so caught up in the moment, and wrapped up in life,  allowing my heart to be open…it’s almost as though I am a different person.

Let’s just say that for truly the first time, I am allowing my heart to be open and letting someone in and I have been so surprised how I’ve responded. I thought for sure that I’d be scared or keeping myself at arms distance, but honestly, it feels really good to let someone get to know me. The real me.

Anyway, that’s all I’ll say about that.


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I had a really fascinating experience last Friday.

I went to “the” bar in my hometown…you know the type…the one where everyone goes. The place you go to “bump into people” from your past, or just “be seen.” Whether you like it or not, you’re guaranteed to run into at least 7-10 people you know.

So I went there. Well, I was invited there on a particular evening. Anywho, long story short, my PSA for the day is that the Friday night before Christmas, be prepared to encounter your entire high school class if you’re out and about downtown. haha

But for real, I ran into, granted they were all young men, but probably – I kid you not – 45 guys that I hadn’t seen since high school.

Let me rephrase that.

I ran into 45 really handsome men from high school, all of whom, the last they had seen me, I was 78 pounds and deep in the throes of anorexia.


Puts a bit of a different spin on it when you put it that way, doesn’t it.

Yeah. I’ve undergone…quite the transformation.

Shop this look!

But I’m not going to lie, the entire ride there, on the way to meet a particular someone, I was just sweating bullets, getting my undies all in a bundle about how people would react to seeing me.

And not in a narcissistic, warped sense of importance, but just a…holy crap, I feel like I’m having some sort of big reveal, a la extreme home makeover.




But I’ll tell you what. I’ve gotta hand it to these gentlemen. They gave me the warmest welcome.

Caralyn ____________?!?!!! Oh my gosh, how the hell are ya!?

Or my personal favorite, “Caralyn ________’s in the building!

But seriously, I was completely accepted. Given a clean slate. Taken in as the young woman standing in front of them that night.

And I had an absolute blast. Didn’t want the evening to end, in fact. For a number of reasons 🙂

But coming home that night, taking my makeup off, brushing my teeth, I actually started crying a little bit – so overjoyed by the graciousness and love shown to me that night.

High school was a really hard time for me. I went from homecoming court/varsity soccer player/dating the football captain, to an isolated, lifeless shell of my former self, flirting with death, all on display for my high school peers to witness.

Those same peers that welcomed me with open, loving arms that night.

And it made me think. You know, life happens. For everybody.

Sure, I may have fought a very public battle against anorexia, literally wearing my issues on my body. But nearly everyone in that bar that night had gone through their own struggles.

None of us are immune to hardships or challenges, and the thing is, we’re all bringing different baggage to the table.

And talk to a person long enough, and you’ll realize that there are a lot of different levels to a person. Most don’t meet the eye.

But it turns out, it’s those levels that make us who we are.

Shop this look!

It’s those levels and layers that shape us into the people we are today.

And everybody’s got ’em.

I’m so grateful to those guys for offering me a clean slate. For letting me be the woman in front of them, rather than the girl they remember.

Because let me tell ya, the young woman in front of them is fun. She is goofy. She is whole. She is continuing to heal and accepting herself more and more every day. And gosh da she has a lot to offer 🙂

What a way to welcome 2018. Out with the old and in with the new.

Sounds like a great 2018 slogan to me 🙂




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188 responses to “The Thing about Clean Slates”

  1. What an insightful and positive reveal that was, and so many others will draw courage because of your honesty. I think I caught a hint of someone on the horizon who may have happy possibilities? We are praying for that for you.

    • hey again Ian! gosh, thank you so much 🙂 happy possibilities, i think that’s a great way to put it 🙂 thanks for your prayers 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  2. Beautiful tale. I dreaded my 30th HS reunion but I soon realized that everyone had changed since HS. It wasn’t as good as your story but it changed my feelings about those days. On another note, I’m not surprised that you were the recipient of some of the love that you put out there everyday.

    • thank you friend 🙂 yeah, a lot of life lived between now and then. thanks for that kindness. Hugs and love xox

  3. Remember my favorite quote ever “Normal is a setting on a washing machine”. The whole world is screwed up some people hide it better than others. And some lay it out for the world to see in hopes that others see that normal isn’t really a real thing. Merry Christmas to my fav blogger.

    • hahah i love that quote SO MUCH!! wow – amazing. thank you so much for your kind words! merry christmas to you too Rachel! and Happy 2018!! big big big hugs to you x

  4. I love how God works. The people from my past whom I once wished to avoid or had a different perception of who I am are now on a different level. I have experienced quite a bit of that this year, especially in mending relationships. Here’s to a great 2018!

  5. I love that you had this insight at home among the very people who watched you through your dark times. It is very healing to be accepted by those who knew you when. Congratulations on taking the chance and opening yourself to this opportunity.

    • Hey Madeline! thank you so much for this kindness.. you’re right it is very healing. and comforting too. big hugs xo

  6. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and brave experience with the world! That took courage, both to face those ghosts, and then again to write it all down. I’m so happy you’ve found peace with yourself!

    • thanks friend!! yeah, it was a really great night 🙂 thanks for always being so kind and positive! means a lot 🙂 happy early 2018! Hugs and love xox

  7. Wow! Love this post. Completely relatable- when I went back to school after I had surgery, no one cared that I was in a wheelchair. I got lots of, “Robyn! You’re back!” Followed up with a hug. So I totally get it and I’m so happy you had a good night!!

  8. Warm hugs because I bet as well as a real interesting time, its been a real COLD time. It certainly has here -18 this morning!! Clean slates with people from the past are great. Let me tell ya about we men, it takes many of us a LONG LONG time to mature and actually stop being childish, discriminatory, and the whole immature lot, toward others. Right now for many of them, seeing you was like seeing a fresh rose in a new garden. You cast a light upon that whole place no doubt. What brings about that light to others is that you yourself take everybody you see in without any toxicity that many others do. That beauty about you brings out better in others. Happy New Year ahead with many hugs and love!! Your light is more valuable than all the crystal in the Times Square Ball!! xoxoxo

  9. Great post – oddly enough, I am now the opposite of this now after numerous years out of High School. I was invited to “Friendsgiving” to see and spend time with a group of people I used to spend a great deal of time with. Planned on going, but that day as the time got closer and closer, I just couldn’t do it. Not sure why really, but the anxiety of going to a place where I left so many memories behind overwhelmed me and I couldn’t do it. Glad you got so much from that and hope that continues for you. Thanks for sharing

    • Thank you so much! I totally get that. It’s definitely anxiety inducing to think about returning to your past. Thanks for your kind words 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  10. Beautiful post. Love the opportunity to be able to start with a clean slate. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Such a great story. You are truly surrounded by positive people that really see you for who you are. That’s what I need to do in 2018…surround myself with people who have good energy that is so contagious that I can help to spread them around. Hope you have a Happy New Year Caralyn!

    • Thank you Mark 🙂 i really appreciate that. Yes! The company we keep is so important! Hugs and love xox

  12. I am long removed from the home for the holidays description above both in years and geographically. I do remember it well and at times longingly. Your description of your change and your grace and pride in who you’ve become AND how you are now seen is very touching. Thank you.

  13. …”And talk to a person long enough, and you’ll realize that there are a lot of different levels to a person. Most don’t meet the eye. But it turns out, it’s those levels that make us who we are. …” So true! Love this. Thanks for sharing levels with us.

  14. Why thank someone for receiving the light that you shine? For wanting to have more of it?

    I am single, but I recognize how attractive I am to women, and that they attraction is related to the fact that I don’t dump my dirt on them. I create space in which they can be their best selves.

    What they don’t understand is that in God they are capable of being that way all of the time. I have to work really hard to avoid allowing them to make me responsible for that relationship.

      • You’re welcome.

        As for 2018? It’s the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end. I can’t see any longer how to fulfill the purpose I was came to achieve.

        But thanks for the well-wishing. I see a wonderful year ahead for you, my dear.

  15. I waited to hear your podcast on Patreon. I was in a bit of a fog last night. Listening to you this morning was a great way to start my day. All comments are waiting for you at Patreon!

    • Aw thank you Jeff! Looking forward to read them! Yeah i was out to dinner with some friends last night and didn’t get it up until late. Have a great day friend! Hugs and love xox

  16. Thanks for sharing Caralyn. No one is perfect we all have our baggage that we carry. We need to all be more open to accept love in our heart. How nice would it be if we all were welcoming and kind to strangers. We don’t know what someone is going through and that small gesture would make a world of difference to them.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing!! Letting the past behind you and living in the moment, being truly present is one of the most difficult things to do but your story encourages me to try again and again!! Thank you so much!!

    • Thanks you TR. yeah it was a really great night. Very grateful. Happy early 2018 my friend!! Hugs and love xox

  18. Great! I can identify with you probably on a good number of levels. Even though I’m past 60, a male, and working in a factory job 13 hour days, and have our daughter and grandkids living with us right now (their pipes froze), our grandkids here most everyday anyhow as my wife takes care of them. So our hands full. And I face the new year with changes and there’s different things which put a dread into me. And getting used to this 13 hour schedule, add a half hour to that, and another hour as I get to work early enough, and you understand the point. Sorry for me sharing all of this. But my high school wasn’t the greatest, either. I was a recluse. I really try to reach out and be different now, but it’s not automatic and easy for me. I am reading through *Bloom* the second time and hope to get a real high double thumbs up review by the new year. I ordinarily like to read through a book twice before I review it, as I am a processor. And good books are that way, anyhow. But this book hits home for me in many ways, though I’ve never had an eating disorder (maybe lack of self-control over chocolates might be one?), but plenty of other disorders along the way. And I’m sure a few nagging at me right now. But happy for you in your good time recently, and the new chapter that’s opening up for you.

    • Hi Ted, thank you so much for sharing what you’ve going through. Gosh sounds like quite the season. I will definitely keep you and your family in my prayers. And thanks for reading Bloom, I’m so glad it has hit home with you. Sending you the biggest of hugs, my friend. Xoxoxoxoxoxooxox

      • Thanks, Caralyn. I want to make clear that I don’t consider an eating disorder anything to make light of. The thought on lacking self-control on chocolates actually can be quite destructive, but in no way compares to a really eating disorder. So that was not meant as a joke. So glad for your ministry in helping those with life threatening eating disorders. And I find it a help to me as well, an encouragement with wisdom and good reminders of the salvation and help for us in the Lord.

      • Thanks for clarifying that Ted. I totally know what you meant 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  19. God is letting you walk “on your high places” those places that hurt all of us so bad in the past as we tried so hard to climb those mountains of life. It is so great when we get to have a little “do over”! BTW I love the “shop the look” feature. You are so beautiful inside and out! Happy New Year, I know God has blessings coming your way!

    • that is such a beautiful thought. thank you Nina. You’re right, i do feel like I’ve been given a bit of a do over 🙂 oh awesome! i’m so glad you like it! i was a little hesitant to start that feature, but it’s actually a pretty nifty program! hope you have a beautiful 2018! Hugs and love xox

  20. Is this full circle for the girl who was running from the hometown scene?
    Thinking of that line, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ lol.
    Thanks for sharing your 2017 journey of great insights Caralyn, with the whole world no less, wow, who would have ever thought back in the day.
    Love hearing your optimistic tone coming through for 2018, I agree, its looking awesome on lots of levels.

    Keep holding ‘his’ hand and God Bless.

    PS, might be the year of Mr Right.

    • Haha yes! I think you’re right about that! Full circle indeed. Thanks for your encouragement. Hugs and love xox

  21. I’m so happy that everyone was able to see who you are now! And the first picture in this post is my favorite one of you so far–I feel like we can really see your good heart in your expression!

    • Thank you so much for this thoughtful note of encouragement! Means a lot. Happy New Year! 🎉

  22. You didn’t see it but I totally high-fived the screen like 20 times lol Your story warms my heart and I am so happy to read the awesome time you had <3 Nothing like entering 2018 with the right kind of high and I'm rooting for you all the way! When I visit your blog and read your words you truly come through as a genuine person with a big heart and there is so much power in the journey you share. You go girl! 😀 God Bless <3

    • Hahahha oh my gosh that’s amazing. Thank you friend 🙂 yes! Let’s enter 2018 with a positive kick butt mind set! 😍😍😎😍😎😎 Happy New Year! 🎉 Hugs and love xox

  23. Happy New Year! May 2018 continue to bring adventure and exploration. -Oscar
    P.S. for those of us over 50 who have never sent/received a text message, what is “PSA for the day”?

    • Same to you Oscar! Thank you 🙂 PSA is “public service announcement” haha kind of like an all-points-bulletin or like, a breaking news headline haha Happy New Year! 🎉

  24. My best! Great attitudes are contagious!

    Side point: “Move that bus!” I did graphic work for one of the Home Edition projects in Wisconsin. They liked it so much, I did one for Kansas and NYC (I think). Seems like there was one more… I met Ty and some others. What fun!

  25. See, that’s what I’m talking about! It’s not how you started that impacts the future all that much it’s how you end up that matters most! You have just given a shot of “ Your An Overcomer” to all boys,girls, men, and women everywhere!👍🏾🙂I’m encouraged!

    • awwww, you are just such a breath of fresh air! thanks for reading my articles today! happy new year friend! Hugs and love xox

  26. Hey Caralyn: I am so thrilled, happy, swelled up inside, and more that there are no words for, to see that you reconnected with people you knew / know from school days, and they saw the real you. That is so super. I had been thinking earlier, in the past week, if asking how the date went that you had mentioned, but it was better hearing of it this way, when you were ready.
    It does sound like a possibility of a possibility of a special person in that group of 45 or so. I would be among one of the happiest for you, amongst the other 3000+ of course.
    Glad you had so much fun.
    God Bless you Caralyn. The greatest HAPPY NEW YEAR ever to you, and Mom and Dad. Especially following what your Mom went through last February I believe it was.
    Chat next year
    Luv. 😀🌹❤️😘

    • hey George! oh that is so kind of you to say. thank you friend. You are such a source of positivity and joy in my life! it was fun! I had a great time, and who knows 🙂 one day at a time! HAPPY NEW YEAR! sending so much love to you and yours x

  27. I always love how open you are I your posts doll and this one was no exception. I know you are blessing other young women with your wisdom. What a beautiful person you are. Happy New Year!!

  28. wow this was unexpectedly deep! every body deserves a clean slate because that is what Jesus gave us with our heavenly father! & like you said out with the old in with the new is something we have to do not just cos its a nice thing but its something God wants for us. I did something out of character during the last week of December, I made a new years resolution, to be more expressive in faith, I don’t talk about my faith much only to church family, but I don’t always have to talk about it, I can express it, whether it be serving cups of hot drinks at outreach or worshipping with all my heart soul and body. I’m going to try and keep it!

    WOW! That just got even deeper! on another note I’m glad you enjoyed yourself, and I hope & pray 2018 is a lot easier on you & your family given the year you had. also I couldn’t help but laugh at the “panties in a bundle” comment, I know it wasn’t a laughing situation, just found the term so funny! in the UK the term “knickers in a twist” (which is possibly why New York Knicks are so bad haha) speaking sports, Thank you SOOOO much for your Bengals knocking my team out of playoff contention, so thank you sooo much! 😂😂😂😂

    Thank you for all your support & encouragement during a difficult year for both of us, love you loads xxxxxxxxx
    P.S. sorry for the essay type comment 😂😂😂

    • Hey there Benny! aw, thank you. Yes, i think 2018 is going to bring wonderful blessings for both of us! I love your resolution – so powerful. i know you can do it! happy new year friend! Hugs and love xox

  29. I absolutely love your honesty! This was so beautiful and it took a lot of courage and strength for you to face people from a very broken point in your life. 💜💜💜

  30. hi there, thank you for popping by on my brand new page, it was really nice of you, so I thought I would return the gesture and read your blog here. It’s really lovely and I look forard to being in a place like that too someday. Currently too sick to get outdoors (abused and sleep deprived by a neighbour-on purpose, since nov 2016 and now seeking legal help to fight discrimination from landlord.. long ugly story). Anyhow, thank you for such an inspiring post, and I am so sorry to hear how bad things were for you in high school. My past was not rosy either, so without wanting to pry or get too heavy, my thoughts are with you for any struggles which you had to work so hard to deal with and get past. You come across as a really content lady, and I appalaud and appreciate as someone who has struggles hard to cope with, all your efforts to get to that. Inspiring! Happy New Year Carolyn, from Shar. xo

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. It really means a lot. I’m sorry you’re going through that! I hope the situation resolved itself quickly. Big hugs and Happy New Year! 🎉.

  31. Love that you had such a positive experience! Good to remember – everyone is going through or has gone through something. Glad you’re on the better side of it. Happy New Year! 🙂

    • Hi Ted! oh wow, i just read your piece and I am so touched and honored by your generous and positive words. THANK YOU!!! gosh, my heart is so warm. i’m so glad that you enjoyed the book, and i am incredibly grateful that you would write such a glowing recommendation to your followers. You rock, my friend. God bless and have a beautiful evening. big hugs x

  32. You are a beautiful young woman. If I were 35 years younger and Catholic I would be very interested in someone like you. Keep up the creative work you do.

  33. I enjoyed this post for several reasons and can’t help thinking that acceptance vibe you experienced is what the Church ought to be known to provide. Also – a quick thank you for giving my own humble posts a Like. It’s good praise from a professional and an intelligent lady like yourself. Feeling good about 2018!

  34. I really appreciate your perspective in this post. I find myself concerned with how people from my high school will react when/if they see me, considering it’s been nearly six years since I’ve seen them too! I think you’re right, however, in that everyone has their baggage, and we all undergo changes physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. as we progress through this thing called life. So thank you for that reminder, and thank you for reminding me of the importance to love myself for who I am today!

    • thank you so much friend. I’m glad that this hit home with you. yes lets love ourselves! Hugs and love xox

  35. Love it … We all “beat ourselves up” way too often … we forget how much we have to offer …
    anyone who pretends they don’t have issues is not being honest with themselves … we all do.
    Everyone you meet is dealing with some sort of pain, a loss of some kind … we just have to listen long enough for them to tell their story.
    Love your piece, especially this … it really resonates …
    “But nearly everyone in that bar that night had gone through their own struggles.
    “None of us are immune to hardships or challenges, and the thing is, we’re all bringing different baggage to the table.

    “And talk to a person long enough, and you’ll realize that there are a lot of different levels to a person. Most don’t meet the eye.

    “But it turns out, it’s those levels that make us who we are.”

    • Thanks friend. You’re so right – we all really do have wonderful things to offer. Thanks for your kind words. Hugs and love xox

  36. Another great story. I will again share this will my girlfriend and those important ladies in treatment. They need to know that they have a lot to offer. I know nothing about the ED struggle – except that I care. Sometimes that empty look in their eyes brings a tear to mine – not to sound corny, but earnest. Anyways, I Love it! …and thanks!

  37. You are so right about new beginnings! I love that people can change and grow so much when given time and space away from high school to realize that we all had junk and we can all be who we choose to be as an adult. Love your blog, thanks for sharing yourself!

  38. Your story is so inspiring! I can’t imagine how hard it is to experience that during highschool and to carry that uncomfortable feeling from then on but you’ve overcome it all. Congratulations! You’re so strong and dedicated to what you want to achieve. And I agree with everybody saying “you are so beautiful”. Thank you for being an inspiration to all of us. We love your posts!

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