I was on a trip with Courtney and Destiny one summer, staying at Courtney’s family’s vacation home in Celebration, Florida–Second Star. We would meet Megan the next day. We had just finished our second year of teaching together on the same special education team. Courtney, Destiny and I stayed up late, sharing our stories, and getting to know each other a little more. We shared life lessons, past mistakes, and how we had grown from those choices. What we were afraid of, and what we dreamed that God had in store for our lives.
As they shared pieces of their hearts, I began to feel safe to open up about my own story. That evening, I shared my journey of anorexia and recovery out loud for the first time. Up until then, I had written out my story in my journal, and my close friends and family knew that specific part of my story because they were in the thick of it with me. But this was the first time I had actually spoken these words to friends who were unaware of my past: “I used to have an eating disorder.”
We stayed up until 1 or 2 am, talking, laughing, and crying. I went to bed that night feeling so loved, so heard, and so brave. That night was the beginning of a beautiful journey of authentic friendship–friends who cheer each other on, friends who listen, and friends who love unconditionally (even after they’ve seen you in your pajamas, with your retainer, and no make-up).
It’s about learning to show up and let ourselves be seen just as we are, massively imperfect and weak and wild and flawed in a thousand ways, but still worth loving. It’s about realizing that what makes our lives meaningful is not what we accomplish, but how deeply and honestly we connect with the people in our lives, how wholly we give ourselves to the making of a better world, through kindness and courage. // Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect
Authentic friendship takes courage and kindness and love and deep connection. It takes work. But it’s worth it.
This is part of a series called 31 Days of Authentic Friendship. Click here to see all posts.
I'm Ali. I write about my journey of living a full and healthy life with food allergies, overcoming the comparison trap, and cultivating authenticity.