I came to the realization this morning, as I was running on the beautiful wooded running path in my parents’ neighborhood in Ohio, that I have spent a lot of my life running.
It was a gorgeous morning, 7 am, it had just finished raining, so the paved trail was wet with fallen leaves, and there was that beautifully post-rain musk in the air that you only find in the woods in Ohio.
And I realized, with a heaviness, that much of my life in recovery from anorexia, has been spent living from a place of fear, running from the past that I believed would crush me with shame forever.
I’ve always had a complicated relationship with home. Because for as amazing and love-filled and truly joyful my childhood was, there was this horrific shadow that completely eclipsed the idyllic childhood I knew and loved: and that was the anorexia that nearly took my life.
Home was no longer the place with the precious memories of Nickelodeon themed birthday parties, or excited Christmas mornings with my brothers, or stuffing manicotti noodles on the kitchen counter with my mom, or learning to play basketball with my dad. It became a horrifying crime scene – with every nook and cranny bringing up memories of hellish self-destruction.
My spots where I’d secretly exercise. Scenes where I had absolutely exploded at my loving parents, who were just doing everything they could to help me get better. The setting of my intervention. Doors that I’d slammed almost off the hinges. The kitchen, where I’d have internal – and usually external – melt downs every single day. Rooms where I’d pace back and forth. The hard stone floor that would shoot unimaginable pain through my bony heels, uncushioned by anything other than cold, grey, dry skin.
*Excuse me while I wipe my tears from the keyboard…*
But home became tainted by those inescapable, unavoidable memories of pain, and shame and loss that were pressed to the surface, from the sheer physical place. And despite the fact that the people in it were the most loving, caring family that I loved more than anything in the world, not even their love could shake that all consuming suffocation of pain I had being in the place where I threw my life away.
And so I ran.
I ran away. I fled to New York City, where I believed the “clean slate” and “fresh start” was my ticket to wholeness. To freedom from that shame. To releasing me from the bondage of guilt and pain from my past that I thought was only bubbling to the surface because of my physical location in the place where it all went down.
And this morning, running, it finally came into crystal clear focus for me: it wasn’t the place that needed to change, it was me.
I had spent so long living in fear, running away from one of the best things in my life: my family, believing that getting away from the physical place where that painful season occurred, would solve the sucking chest wound in my heart.
It turns out the solution was within myself the entire time.
I needed to change. Me. Caralyn.
I needed to surrender my heart to Jesus to transform and heal. I had to replace the fear with love. With forgiveness. With a desire for Christ, and the sustaining strength only He provides.
It’s no secret that right now, in the very season of life I’m in at this exact moment, I have never been more fully whole, more full of joy, more fully alive than ever — and it’s because that final puzzle piece of recovery: allowing myself to be loved – has finally come beautifully into place.
God has blessed me with so much healing over these past 14 years, and New York – and rebuilding who I am, who I want to be, and building from the ground-up a life free from ED – has been instrumental in that. And I am so grateful for that.
But coming home yesterday, I was overtaken with this intense feeling of peace. A feeling that I have not associated with home since I developed anorexia those 14 years ago. My heart no longer was held captive in torment from a life – a girl – I no longer am.
I am free from that, and home is finally the beautiful place of love and warmth that it always has been.
Home is no longer the hurt from the past, but the joy of the now. The hope for the future. And the love that is present in every single heart within these four walls.
And I know that is incredibly cheesy, and I promise I’ll wrap this up soon — as I’m sitting here bawling at the kitchen counter…
I write this just to share that change is possible. It is possible to go home again. If it’s recovery, if it’s a painful childhood situation, if it’s strained relationships, if it’s — you name it — change is possible.
And take it from the girl who spent the last 14 years running, the power is within yourself.
We have a Father who loves to heal, and who is in the business of miracles. But I had to surrender my broken heart to Him, which sounds trivial, but I spent years clutching that thing jealously like Gollum and his “precious.”
Change is possible. And I’ll tell you what, it’s the most beautiful thing in the entire world.
Blessings from my home to yours.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
MAGIC TOOTHPASTE? Yes! I am in love with this superior whitening toothpaste. It keeps my smile sparkling, without sensitivity or bleach! I made a website where you can directly order this miracle product! So if you want to give it a try, you can go ahead and grab a tube for yourself. I promise, your smile will thank you!Get a tube!
Be sure to check out my affiliate, Audible. Listening to audiobooks while I cook is literally my new favorite thing. And just for you, they’re offering a Free 30-Day Trial Membership. And with this free membership, you’re going to get 2 free audiobooks! Literally. Free. It is the best deal ever. And if for some reason, you decide it’s not for you, you can cancel within those 30 days and it’s zero money out of your pocket, plus, you get to keep the 2 audiobooks. Soooo…it’s pretty much a no brainer. Plus, it’s a free and easy way to support this blog! So thank you!!
@beauty.beyond.bones – Instagram
For Podcast versions of my posts, please check out Patreon! It’s only $2 a month!! You make this blog possible 🙂
And really quickly, I’ve had several questions concerning my Amazon link (amazon.com/shop/beautybeyondbones) — You do not need to buy one of my specific highlighted products on my page, in order for it to “credit” my account. Any purchases that you search or make from anywhere on Amazon, after first visiting my Amazon page, will credit this blog and help support this blog ministry. I am truly so grateful and appreciative to those of you wanting to do so! So thank you! Again, it is an absolutely free, and easy way for you to help keep this blog going!