Wednesday, September 22, 2010

to be womanly always...

with this past weekend being my last rush experience with Chi Omega, i had a lot of time to spend with and think about my friends. although i began planning this post long before the emotion-laden rush process, reflecting and remembering this weekend on both sad and happy parts of mine and my friends' lives together really onset the feeling that it was "the right time" to publish "the friend post".

one of my favorite parts of recovery has been taking the time to learn who and what i am and to allow these things to replace the hollowed out person i thought i was. i've grown more into myself on a hundred levels- some shallow, some deep, and when all other motivation fails, i've found myself imagining the woman i want to be and clinging to the abstract idea of who she is and knowing that she loves people and life too much to sacrifice the nutrition and peace of mind she needs to pour herself out to them, and that she understands that her time on earth is too short to trust, to laugh, to love, or to cry sparingly.

she's a mosaic of God's heart for who He wants His daughters to be; and when i finally allowed Him to remove the scales of my disorder from i eyes, i saw her pieced together in Christ's character as He shone through the hearts, minds, and spirits of my precious friends.

There's wonderful Morgan, in whom i've seen and experienced what comes of Christ-centered self-assurance, leadership, and determination. I am privileged to have watched her both struggle and succeed, to have seen her persevere through heartbreak and confusion and to emerge only better for it. watching the true morgan flourish on the other side of her struggles has given me something to strive towards on the other side of mine. Her strength is immense and exhibited through kindness and joy alone. It runs deep within her and she knows and unfailingly acknowledges from whence it comes. Morgan is a constant reminder that the work of God's hand is ever present and should never be taken for granted. She's inspired me to fight. she's shown me what strength can truly make a person. Morgan- your presence and your friendship are truly empowering.

there's hilarious, caretaking Paige, who's been nothing but loyalty and a truly safe place. if only everyone was so solidly committed to their friendships as Paige. She saw my struggle for what it was and helped me understand the gravity of what i was doing to myself. She fought for me and with me because when Paige loves a person, she's all in, and she takes the same stance on living life. Paige doesn't fear assertion and she's taught me through accountability and example that my voice and my opinion hold value and truth for the world. she refuses to accept an, "i'm fine" answer, and she's ever pushed me in the slow process of learning to love myself. Paige- you've never accepted less than honesty from me- you've helped me to see and understand my own value. i pray i'm there for you the way you've been for me.

then there's precious Keighlee with the most contagious trail of laughter that bounces behind her wherever she goes. Her constant joy comforts and welcomes all around her- her presence is an instant lift. Keighlee makes everyone feel wanted; when i'm with Keighlee, i feel celebrated. In the midst of my sickness, i would watch Keighlee and wish that i could find that happy version of myself. i wanted to have fun like she could- from the inside out instead of just wearing a mask. Keighlee inspired me to emerge from my shell, to discover my own laugh and my own fun. She's stretched herself to understand on my behalf and she never ceases to remind me what reason i have to keep going. Keighlee- I always love heartfelt laughter, but i love it most when i'm with you.

there's beautiful Hannah, a constant advocate for physical health and the truest, most careful listener. She's not only willing to listen and to help, but considers it an enjoyment and a privilege to bear a burden alongside a friend. Hannah's drive and incredible efficiency were intangible in my sickness and now serve as examples to which i aspire in my capable state. She's unfailingly honest and open- especially to those with whom she's closest. She's helped me to realize that opinions and ideas and preferences are not to be left unacknowledged, but are parts of who we are that are meant to be shared and expressed. Hannah- thank you for never taking a conversation for granted.

then there's abby in all her vivation, a true depiction of life. Abby's is a heart of utter innocence towards people and fun and the vast possibility held in each day. Her enthusiasm and will to live fully were qualities i deeply admired and wished i could find in myself. Abby makes a deep, passionate investment in each day that comes. it was her ability to invest and the smiles, laughs, and relationships she reaped as i observed them that shed light on the growing number of days i was wasting and inspired me to change. Abby- as i come to experience my own form of vivation, i only hope that i can be a fraction of the reminder to live fully to other's as you've been to me.

there's accomplished, huge-hearted Kameryn, the friend that my selfishness affected most, the friend that lived in a room with me when i was at my very worst. Kameryn's drive and determination in her personal and professional endeavors are incredible to observe and were intensely convicting to live with in the midst of my unproductive self-consumption. In addition to her life example, kameryn became an advocate for my recovery. She protected me from myself- hiding scales, giving the hard but honest answers, setting herself aside to support me- even amidst her own seasons of heartbreak. When it became evident that early recovery would be just as difficult as my disorder itself, she did not back down, but was constantly there to remind me why i was fighting and to help me see the truth. She continues to celebrate beside me and for me in my victories and continues to encourage me as life comes back before my eyes. She never tired, never considered another option other than to be there. Kameryn- you got something in living with me that you didn't sign on for, but you took it on with your whole heart. there is truly no way to thank you.

finally, there's Erin. thanks to her love, support, and willingness to listen and help, Erin understands what i've been through nearly as well as if she'd been through it herself. She's hurt for me and with me and celebrated even my minute-most victories. my disorder was my source of self-redemption. in it, i thought i was special and set apart. erin saw who i could be- she saw what my disorder was stealing- she saw how it made me see other people. Erin stood firm in the face of my worst days. she helped me see what recovery could give me and what recovery could give other people through me. Erin is truly unique in the world of women, as one of her greatest strengths is her effort to seek contentment with her body as her own, not as compared to someone else's. Her advice and refusal to give "feel better" answers have been vital to my recovery, but it's been her inside-out example of womanly strength and beauty that have helped to challenge and transform what i see as important and what i see as beautiful. Erin- through you, God has moved mountains.

and so, dear friends, i want to thank you both collectively and individually for the women and the true friends that you are. Although the decision to recover was mine alone, it's been your unending support and understanding that have pushed and inspired me to overcome who i was and grow into the woman i'm supposed to be. Each of you has seen me through the most difficult thing i will ever endure, and i honestly believe that three years ago, God wove us together with the different pieces of Him that each of us reflects in mind.

Through you, my friends, God looked me in the eye when i'd turned my head, grabbed hold of me and said, "Look- here is life- please take it and live it and invest it the way i will you would- the way these women are striving to do".

There's no way of knowing how many lives will be touched by my struggle, but however many it is, each one of them will have been touched by your friendship as well.

thank you.

love and more love to each of you,



  1. and i just cried. a lot. a bit. some of both. this is why i believe in friendship so strongly. to God be the glory!

  2. EA,
    Tears Are running down my face right now after reading this. I pray and think of my girls from Samford often, and I loved the encouragement and confirmation you have posted. You are an absolutely breath-taking woman who is worthy of nothing less than the Lord's Joy and Love, a woman who can LAUGH at the days to come! Thanks for sharing this bit of your life, and for reminding me of what wonderful women you all are, as well!