Welp, I’m going to share something tonight that, maaaaybe I shouldn’t.
Perhaps this is something that I should be keeping a little closer to my chest, but I am feeling so moved in my heart to express, that I can only take that as the Holy Spirit’s prompting.
As many of you know, I was in Ohio this weekend visiting my family with my special gentleman, Steven. It has been, in a word – spectacular. If you’ve been following along on Instagram (@beauty.beyond.bones), then you will have seen the videos of my parents’ new home and all the adventures we’ve been having.
I took Steven to the airport yesterday evening, and when I came home, my mom and I went and sat down by the river for some girl chat, and wouldn’t you know…the conversation, of course, turned to he and I. And to my surprise, I became so overwhelmed with emotion, I just started crying. The waterworks were absolutely flowing!
“Mom, he changed my life.”
One thing that isn’t talked about in recovery communities, is devastating toll eating disorders take on your heart.
And I’m not talking about the physical damage…which, in many cases is great.
But rather, the emotional and spiritual harm, that can take…in my case, over a decade to overcome.
Yesterday, sitting with my mom overlooking the water, some of the deepest parts of my soul brought themselves to the surface.
“I never thought I would be able to love.”
The anorexia, and the destructive messages that played on repeat in my head — that I was unworthy of love, needing to be perfect to be loved, and a burden to those around me — those lies that plummeted me to the depths of that darkness, down to 78 pounds, a shell of myself, isolated and alone….those messages do a number on your psyche, even after you put the weight on and are “healed.”
That mindset of crushing self-oppression is nearly impossible to fully shake, and for over 10 years, I never allowed anyone to get truly close to me.
If he saw who I really am, and what I’ve done, he’d never love me. My history is too broken – I’m too broken.
The mind, even in full recovery, can be a dark and desolate place.
All it took was one person to come into my life, and shatter those lies and relentless messages of unworthiness, and show me that, not only am I loveable, but I am loved.
Steven did that for me.
And dang it, I’m crying again, sitting here typing this!
I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not. I don’t have to hide or be ashamed of my past. I have never felt more free, more seen, or more beautiful than I do right now.
It turns out that love is the difference between a full life, and an overflowing life.
Because my life was full – even though I had written love out of the picture for myself, I still had my friends, my faith, a full social calendar, my job, my passions.
But with love, those things are all amplified. The sky is bluer, food tastes better, mornings are filled with excitement at what the day will bring, and the depth of gratitude in my heart has reached new levels.
I was walking into my lobby the other day, and I said “hi” to my door man, and he looked at me and said, “Caralyn, you’re like a breath of fresh air! I don’t know how you do it, but you’re always so bright and cheerful!”
And honestly, it’s because of love.
I wake up happy. And I wake up grateful to be alive.
And that is what I pray for every single person reading this, especially those who are still trapped in the isolated existence of an eating disorder, addiction or other mental prison.
I could not dream that this life was possible for me. I couldn’t fathom it. But it is – more than my wildest imagination.
So. I’m not going to apologize for the extra gushy post tonight. God has created my heart. And I’d like to think that, for all the years my heart spent in that stone-cold, impenetrable fortress-mode, it’s just making up for lost time, now.
Thanks for sharing in the joy with me. Because if it weren’t for you, reading this blog, and the healing it has brought about…I fully believe God has – through this blog – has been working on my heart, allowing me to get to the beautiful place I am today. So thank you for being part of that journey.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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