Open Heart Friendship

I’ll tell you what, there is nothing more equally terrifying, freeing, and beautiful than vulnerability.

I had a really special moment with my friends when we were out in Lake Tahoe the other weekend.

Thirteen years later, this anorexia survivor shares the nitty-gritty truth with her best friends, who walked through it with her. The power of an open-heart friendship is unlike any other. #anorexia #recovery #mentalhealth #eatingdisorder #friendship #healing #friends #catholic #christianity #god

As you may know, my three best girlfriends and I spent a few days in North Lake Tahoe (Truckee), and while we were there, the Caldor Fire was ravaging South Lake Tahoe. And though we weren’t in direct danger, the air quality where we were was dangerously poor: around 208!

Thirteen years later, this anorexia survivor shares the nitty-gritty truth with her best friends, who walked through it with her. The power of an open-heart friendship is unlike any other. #anorexia #recovery #mentalhealth #eatingdisorder #friendship #healing #friends #catholic #christianity #god

So as a result, all our activities were cancelled, we couldn’t open the windows to the cabin, and we only went outside for about 15 minutes a day, in KN95 masks.

So in addition to puzzles, cooking and drinking wine, the best part of the weekend were the heart-to-heart conversations we had.

One afternoon, we made a big pitcher of SCD-friendly frozen watermelon margaritas, and I proceeded to talk about my past. Not just the big picture overview, but the nitty-gritty, in-the-mud, ugly truth of anorexia with my comrades.

These gals have been my friends since birth, and walked through it with me. But even living it with me, they had no idea of the details – we’re talking the intimate details.

I shared the most shameful things: the lying and deception — how I would throw away my weight gaining drinks at the park on the way to school, how I grossly made my ulcerative colitis the scapegoat for the weight loss and played on my parents’ care and concern. I shared the ugly details of my intervention and how my mom saw through my lies and knew from the jump it was an eating disorder, and got me on the waiting list for inpatient. How my high school principal was “in on the intervention,” and my mother asked her to say I was a liability coming to the school campus anymore. I shared moments at inpatient that I had blocked from my mind – like how the nurses had to take all the mirrors out of our makeup compacts because they could be used as instruments for self harm.

It was like I had unlocked a part of my brain that I hadn’t accessed in years. Y e a r s.

And they were the ones driving the conversation. It wasn’t like I was just spewing all this uncomfortable information to a captive audience that was thinking “Please for the love, stop talking!”

No – it was this cathartic moment, shared between lifelong friends, who had walked through this terrible season with me, and finally getting “let in” to the “real real.”

And in turn, they were able to open up about their experience, watching their friend go through such a publicly visible eating disorder, and how it impacted them.

It was just this beautiful, healing and bonding moment. There were tears, there were a few laughs. But it was mainly just listening – hearing – sharing – healing.

And in that moment, I just felt so incredibly loved. Whole. Seen. I felt the most at peace and full of gratitude ever.

And truthfully, it wasn’t even scary sharing it, because I was in such a safe space with girls who love me, and who I love in return. Sisters.

And afterwards, after teary hugs and silence, they all proceeded to share secret parts of their hearts that they had kept inside too. Vulnerability begets vulnerability.

Thirteen years later, this anorexia survivor shares the nitty-gritty truth with her best friends, who walked through it with her. The power of an open-heart friendship is unlike any other. #anorexia #recovery #mentalhealth #eatingdisorder #friendship #healing #friends #catholic #christianity #god

But I share this tonight, because the more and more I share my past, and open up about the part of my life that I had always believed made me broken, made me unworthy of love, made me a burden and liability as a friend or partner – it turns out, that in fact, just the opposite. Sharing those wounds just affirms the life-giving love and forgiveness I’ve received by the Father, and affirms that I am loved, and strengthens the bond between us.

Thirteen years later, this anorexia survivor shares the nitty-gritty truth with her best friends, who walked through it with her. The power of an open-heart friendship is unlike any other. #anorexia #recovery #mentalhealth #eatingdisorder #friendship #healing #friends #catholic #christianity #god

It is a really powerful — and yet terrifying thing.

Because, I’m going to be really honest: I like to appear to have my life together. I have for so long toiled and strived to keep hidden the ugliness that I felt was a unforgivable blemish. I never wanted to admit that “failure” in my eyes — and to be honest, that’s pride, rearing its ugly head, and preventing me from continuing my healing journey, and keeping me stuck with a foothold for Satan, to be honest.

But the truth is, I am not my past. Nor are you. Nor is our worth or value defined by anything we’ve done — either good or bad. We have clean slates in Jesus. And frankly, holding onto the belief that I am devalued or disqualified because of something I’ve done, is personally discrediting Jesus’ gift of forgiveness, justification and salvation on the Cross.

It is saying, “My sin is too big for Jesus.”

Which, is a lie whispered from the mouth of the enemy if I’ve ever heard one.

Thirteen years later, this anorexia survivor shares the nitty-gritty truth with her best friends, who walked through it with her. The power of an open-heart friendship is unlike any other. #anorexia #recovery #mentalhealth #eatingdisorder #friendship #healing #friends #catholic #christianity #god

So – I’m rambling now. But, I just want to say: thank you to my incredible friends for loving me as I am: warts and all. And just proclaim God’s mercy and unimaginable love, for freeing me from all the shame and darkness of my past.

That little cathartic release allowed me to remember all that He has rescued me from, and now I can put it back to rest in its rightful place: back to an unthought-of place in my mind, where I no longer dwell on it, or let it bring me down.

We are never too broken for Jesus.

Thirteen years later, this anorexia survivor shares the nitty-gritty truth with her best friends, who walked through it with her. The power of an open-heart friendship is unlike any other. #anorexia #recovery #mentalhealth #eatingdisorder #friendship #healing #friends #catholic #christianity #god

Happy Labor Day, and I’ll see you on Wednesday!

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

41 thoughts on “Open Heart Friendship

    1. Thank you so much John! I’m glad it was an enjoyable read! God is good and I’m so grateful for the healing journey He’s brought me on. Hugs and love xox

  1. Very well stated. So true, we are no defined by our past or the opinions of others; we are invited to be the best version of ourselves everyday. Make the most of every moment; yesterday is the past and tomorrow is not promised. Hugs and love 🤗 & ❤️

    1. Hi HJ!thank you so much. You’re so right – invited to be the best version of ourselves everyday! I love that! Hugs and love xox

  2. I recall reading (but my old brain cannot remember where) a story of a man given a vision of hell. There he saw tables spread with delicious stew bowls in front of everyone.
    BUT there was a catch: each one’s arm had spoons where the hands were supposed to be on the end of arms too long to reach their mouths. New arrivals would try and get the stew to their mouths but wound up slopping it onto the table as all the old timers had just given up. They all sat around starving, miserable in the presence of the delicious bowls of stew.
    Next, he was taken to Heaven and strangely, a similar site met his eyes. Bowls of delicious stew and everyone had spoons in place of hands at the end of arms too long to reach their mouths.
    BUT everyone seemed to be well fed, enjoying the meal; laughter filled the air. Then he noticed the difference: everyone was feeding his neighbors. 😉
    Friends are like that, yea, they are.

    1. Hi CA! Oh my gosh wow – what a powerful image! Feeding the neighbors! I absolutely love that. Thanks for sharing that ca. You’re right – friends are such a blessing! Hugs and love xox

  3. “We are never too broken for Jesus.” Amen! I’m glad you are able to speak freely now about everything you went through with your eating disorder. The way you give God the glory for seeing you through (I’ve watched your talk three times) is AWESOME! Keep letting His light shine through you, Caralyn!

    1. You’re right about that, David!! God has delivered me from that darkness, and I will sing His praises because of it! And oh my gosh, thank you for being such an awesome support and friend! Have a great night! Hugs and love xox

  4. I’m so proud of you, Caralyn. I bet you know that, yes? This was a good read to my eyes. Now I’ll get serious and be on the lookout in the Manhattan area and shout your name when I see you from afar, sounds good? 🙂 Regards to Steven and your three wonderful friends if they’re reading this, that is. Actually, I bet they are! “Hello, ladies, keep the friendship going!”

    Your brother in Christ and friend,

    Thompson.

    1. Hi Thompson, gosh, thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed the read! haha sounds good! And you bet right! They do read it! 🙂 I’m grateful for them, and grateful for you! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you Beverly – amen to that – We are NEVER EVER too broken for Him! Hugs and love xox

    1. amen amen amen to that! God is so good, and I am so grateful for His healing power in my life! Hugs and love xox

  5. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” – James 5:16. I don’t know how opening up honestly like you (and I) did works but I’ve seen miraculous transformations occur with my own eyes repeatedly at Celebrate Recovery. What God said in His Word is true. Always.

    1. Hi Rollie! Yes! That is such a powerful verse, and it hadn’t crossed my mind until you just reminded me! amen – miraculous transformation indeed! and always true! grateful for you. thanks for stopping by and being a great friend! Hugs and love xox

    1. they really are, Ian – a true blessing from our loving Father. amen! thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  6. It’s a blessing to have such friends whom you have known for a long time, with them you are free to share everything and you are not ashamed of anything because they love you the way you are.
    Praying that the fire will stop, and the beautiful country will be restored.
    Thank you for inspiration.

    1. You’re right about that, Stella – a real blessing indeed. Their unconditional, accept-me-as-I-am love has been instrumental in my healing! joining you in that important prayer. Thank you for stoppin gby. Hugs and love xox

  7. Beautiful story of full disclosure. Why is it that even after experiencing the benefits of vulnerability we still want to appear perfect in a later setting down the road? Thank God when we yield.

    1. Thank you so much Ivan! You’re right about that – God is patient with us! Hugs and love xox

  8. Theology of the Body speaker and author Christopher West talks about the plethora of physical nakedness in our world, versus the lack of spiritual nakedness. We need people willing to be vulnerable, honest, and loving in the the face of brokeness and sin — and to witness to God’s tranforming power. You’re doing it, sister; great work yet again!

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