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Recovery blog

The Power of Music

By: Megan S., Renfrew Alumna

Posted on August 24, 2020

I love Billie Eilish.

No one really asks me why, but I always quickly explain, "I don't know why. It doesn't make any sense. I only listen to show tunes."

But I do know why.

I love Billie Eilish because she came into my life exactly when I needed her.

I discovered her much later than the millions of other people who love her. She had already won five Grammy awards, toured internationally and changed her hair color nine times. She already had 60 million followers on Instagram and performed to packed arenas of screaming fans. Maybe they all found her when they needed her, too.

When I discovered Billie, I was in treatment at Renfrew. I had been struggling with an eating disorder for a really long time. I was deteriorating in every way - from brain chemistry to bone structure. Like many of us who had been under the suffocating weight of an eating disorder, my light had burnt out.

For the first time ever, I went to treatment. I chose to be in a place that surrounded me with so much love and caring attention that my eating disorder had no choice but to quiet down. The support I received at Renfrew poked a little pinhole opening in my dark, wet cave. The more of it I allowed in, the more the hole opened. I became aware of what was coming into my life and cautious to only allow light-giving sources. To me, that means real, vulnerable, truth-telling sources that not only bring light in, but also ignite my own inner-light.

One of those sacred sparks was Billie.

She sang to me every morning as I drove to PHP. She told me, through her haunting melodies that it was ok to be a walking paradox of emotions. I could be depressed, angry, weird and full of joy all at the same time. That no feeling could identify me the way I thought it could. "I am depressed. I am anxious. I am sad all the time. I am high on life." All of those statements started with "I am" when they really described how "I feel."

She taught me I could be beautiful and a badass and funny and deep. I could make silly faces in pictures and also write stories about struggling with depression and body insecurities. Because that's Billie, and I love all of it.

Will my story look like hers? Probably not. That's not Megan. Megan will express her own contradictory complexities, and maybe this time, won't look back to see how people felt about it.

"And I know it makes you nervous
but I promise you it's worth it.
To show 'em everything you kept inside.
Don't hide. Don't hide.
Too shy to say,
but I hope you stay.
Don't hide away.
Come out and play."
- "Come Out and Play," by Billie Eilish and FINNEAS



Megan is an alumna of The Renfrew Center of Los Angeles, CA. She is an actress, writer and chocolate connoisseur (yes, that's a thing). She and her husband live near the beach and enjoy spending evenings there together, especially when life feels overwhelming. Megan is a past Rose Princess from the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade and carries on her legacy by raising roses of her own in her garden. One of the many gifts she regained when finding recovery was her love of travel and adventure.
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