Monday, July 19, 2010

ginger-soul love.

The apartment is aged red brick, nestled into sweet semi-circled trees. It is very old and very charming.

the hallways look and smell old, and there are sweet old paintings on the cream-colored walls. In the side door on the far left end and up one flight of stairs, is a plain white door with a rustily colored prickly mat. The doorbell is old fashioned and very fun to ring.

Behind the old, white, fun-doorbelled door lives the beautiful ginger soul of Hayden Hamrick.

Hayden and I have been close since we met, and I remember telling her about my eating disorder freshman year as if it were a thing of the past. I knew it wasn’t. so did Hayden. But she loved me anyway.

Also coexisting with Hayden behind the white door, is a conglomeration of bohemian antiqueness that never fails to pull me inside- leaving angst, disillusionment, and discouragement safely behind the old door’s three locks.

Hayden has a natural finesse for hospitality, but it’s much more than that that’s made her happy, humble abode such a safe and happy haven.

She’s been through a lot herself that’s allowed her to learn true health and balance. Although she never had a diagnosable eating disorder, she’s more than dabbled, and she’s come out on the other side as a shining testament to how able we are to love others once we finally learn to love ourselves.

1. what are some aspects of your life and the world around you that have helped you come to the realization that taking care of yourself is worth it?

The GREATEST, GREATEST thing that ever happened for me was just getting emotionally balanced and understanding the value that the Lord has placed on my life.

You know if you aren’t taking care of yourself and valuing your health it is impossible for you to accomplish what you were set in motion to accomplish.
How depressing is that! It’s total disrespect not just to yourself but to God. It’s sin. That’s hard. So how does one get emotionally stable enough to work through all the anxiety, depression, self loathing, etc. that they’ve dealt with for YEARS… for their whole life… all that pain… what do you do with it? Well, you give it to God. And it’s hard to work through it alone, honestly. I highly, highly recommend counseling to EVERYONE. Oftentimes we will say “it’s too expensive” but people… there are free services at our universities. That’s what I did. So much value there. Also, having a best friend that’s a counselor of eating disorders comes highly recommended. Haha.

It was on Hayden’s comfy tan couch that I ate my first brownie of recovery. She loves to feed me sweets and she doesn’t mind when I gulp or look scared, but she always commends when I don’t.

There’s a distressed chest of drawers just inside the white door with a wide-mouthed bowl of dark chocolate. And it takes about a minute for her to step into the kitchen and take out the wine that I would bet anything is chilling in her fridge. She’s got a beautifully healthy ability to soak up life’s pleasures. An ability she’s learned through much struggle:

2. describe one thing about yourself that's enhanced by your freedom from your previous ideas or unhealthy behaviors regarding body/food/etc...

One thing… there are so many! I just enjoy life more. Seriously, being caught up in the bondage of self loathing and control is just awful. For YEARS I was trying so damn hard (excuse my langauge). Giving that up is freeing. I don’t have to try anymore. I just live. In one of my favorite books (that’s about to become a fabulous film…) Eat,Pray, Love the main character starts to experience this freedom in Italy. She learns there to really enjoy her food. I want to enjoy life- food included. But there’s a balance in enjoying and being indulgent you know? It’s fun to learn health too… Like to try new ways of being active (yoga, pilates, zumba, hiking, etc.) and to try new wild and crazy foods/recipes and reading literature on health. It’s fun! I know I am nerdier than most. But like do we not all want to live our best lives? I believe in a revolution of health!

3. what are some struggles you've experienced with your body, food, exercise, etc...?

Honestly what have I not struggled with as far as body image and control are concerned? My parents are lovely, lovely people… there are so many things they did right. They definitely taught us work ethic and the value of “doing something” i.e.- playing sports and being active. Being healthy as far as nutrition or sleep or things like that… were not taught. So it’s kind of been a self-taught thing. I don’t feel like I’ve totally gotten a grip on it, but it sure has been a journey.

One of my best friends, who happens to be a therapist for eating disorders, explained it to me one time that many of us possess this “bomb” and it just takes the write ignition for it to totally explode. Praise God my bomb never totally exploded… I sure did play with fire though. I have restricted, I have purged, over exercised, taken laxatives. It’s really disheartening even now for me to write this out. But again… it’s been a journey. Laxatives for whatever sick reason have been my go-to. I find myself even now wanting to stop in CVS on my way home from work sometimes on the gray days when I just don’t feel “good.” But then I remember… I left that struggle in the past.

Perhaps the reason that I’ve found such safety inside the bohemian wonderland behind the white door is that whenever I’m with Hayden, I find I’m most myself.

4. if there's one thing you'd like to say to women across the world about health and balance, what is it?

Find your own unique value. Wherever you have to go to find it, seek it out incessently. You have to. You are not a sum of numbers- the pants size number, the number of dates you’ve been on, the number of men you have or have not slept with, the money in your checking-account, the calories you’ve consumed. Challenge this crazy notion and enjoy your life! He put us here for a reason that has no number. For the glory of God is man (and woman) fully alive.

Thanks to you, sister-friend Hayden, for helping me learn to be fully alive. I owe a lot of my life’s newfound fullness to your friendship and unending support. You are a beautiful picture of the existence for which our souls were intended.

Love you much,


(p.s.- everyone check out her amazing blog: )

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