what does BONA FIDE mean to you? 

A collection of your stories. From one heart to another. To share yours, click here.

madi bona fide

Madi Conrad

“Bona Fide”

When I stumbled upon these words just short of a year ago, I had no idea the impact on my life that was about to take flight. It was at a time where I was struggling with depression; battling the toughest season life had thrown my way.

Just shy of eighteen years of age, my senior year of high school, and I felt like I was drowning. An inescapable feeling of hopelessness, anxiousness, numbness, sadness that I couldn’t seem to free myself from. Like one of those dreams where you keep falling & falling into the never-ending pit of darkness.

Even though some days I could barely drag myself out of bed, I knew I had to remain that girl everyone saw me as- right? The perfect daughter, the perfect student, the bubbly & outgoing friend. All my relationships were built off this model version I created of myself. And that girl doesn’t have bad days, let alone depression- right???  

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Greta Lausch

whaaaaaaaat!? i got a tattoo. crazzzzziness.
something completely out of my comfort zone that i never, in a bazillion years, thought i would choose to do! so why?

i don't think anyone needs to justify the tattoos they decide to get -- meaning or no meaning behind them. but for me, if a tattoo was ever going to be something i got, it was going to mean a lot of things, because i appreciate my pure-skinned body that God gave me & to permanently engrain something into it, i wanted it to be Jesus-reflecting.

bona - fide
words never spoken by Jesus, yet lived out more by him than anyone else who has ever walked this earth, right? Jesus was authentic, kind, & gracious. He reminded people that they were loved, despite life-long bleeding, leprocy, many husbands, judgmental hearts, stealing, etc. that they weren't alone due to the ways they fell short.

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Kayla funk

Then something strange started happening when I was in high school. For some reason, telling people my feelings got harder and harder. I not only felt pressure to look a certain way and act a certain way, but even to feel a certain way.  I was embarrassed to cry, and I felt guilty for being mad, so I held it all in. People liked me. They respected me. I couldn’t let them know that I had bad days sometimes. They thought I was strong. I couldn’t let them down. 

Fast forward four(ish) years, and you’ll meet me now, a 20 year old college student battling cancer. When I was diagnosed as an 18 year old, I wrote a post for my blog called “Cancer Doesn’t Scare God.” I told everyone I was afraid, but that God wasn’t. I felt like I was being very real and honest. And for some reason that I couldn’t fathom, everyone wanted to tell me how strong and brave I was. I was so confused because I’d just confessed that I was weak and scared, but people were responding as if I’d announced that I volunteered as tribute to get cancer in place of my sister.

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Hailey Devine

My house is upside down, I have bloodshot eyes from my baby that decided to sleep only two hours last night, and I have endless projects on my computer that must be done. This is my life. I try very hard to keep my feed positive, uplifting and REAL. I do not have any intention to portray that I have the "perfect" life -- I just choose to document and share the things that keep me going. The things that make me happy!

Everyday I scroll my Instagram, Twitter, & Bloglovin' feeds, and I find myself smacked in the face with these constant numbers. So-and-so has 597K followers, getting 27,000 likes per picture, and 800 comments. My first initial thoughts are, "Wow that's impressive, they must be pretty cool." - I'm sure that they are pretty cool, but I believe that the numbers are not what make a person "cool". At the end of the day, what do these numbers really matter?" The truth is that they don't matter at all, they are just numbers. Numbers don't define how insanely cool you are, & I think that realization is insanely cool.

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As a Cosmetologist, a wife, a mother, a friend – I try to be genuine, honest and loving.  I try to help people realize that they aren't going through things alone, and to help them know that I've been there. I’ll be completely honest with you, I love praise and recognition. I like when people think I’m a good wife, a great mother, and a loyal friend. I try hard to be all of those things, so a little pat on the back is always nice. Well, these types of things flood over into social media as well. I like Instagram likes, comments, followers. Who doesn't? We all want to be relatable and for people to think, “Oh good, I’m not the only one who feels, talks, acts, and thinks this way. She does, too.”  I want people to know that they aren't alone in their thoughts. Everyone goes through something, everyone deals with tough situations and circumstances.

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Being {BONA • FIDE}, real & ME in everything that I do and am is so important. It's not trying to live a picture perfect life, but loving it for what it truly is + making the best out of it! It is being happy and confident with all that I have been blessed with.

I love Instagram & social media because of all of the amazing people I have met and connected with. I love how friendships that would have never been possible, are created. There is so much greatness that I have seen blossom because of it.  However, more and more I have seen the very, very negative side of social media. Too many times I have seen people writing mean and hurtful things while hiding behind a phone or computer screen + saying things they would never (I hope) say in person.



Being Bona Fide to me means embracing all parts of my crazy life. Especially things that I don't have the power to change. As a single mom I have to learn to accept help from those willing to give it and allow myself to break down sometimes. Because life is hard and messy but it's beautiful and there's not enough time to waste trying to be something that you're not. Live in your moments. Find your "green" as the lovely Jill Thomas would say. Fight. And understand your worth as a woman in this community with a divine and individual purpose.

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Let’s just face it, being a girl is hard. It just is. Being “real” isn't always easy when we live in a world telling us that being real means looking flawless at all times, that it’s normal to converse by leaving “comments” on instagram posts (that may or may not reflect genuine love) & worst of all, that we should push away our fears and insecurities in hopes of furthering this facade that a successful life is determined by how many “likes” we receive. Well let me tell you something. “Likes” are just a number; what really matters is if YOU like yourself. If at the end of the day you can lay in bed proud of what you accomplished, you’re doing good. If you ask me, the sign of true individual success is real, genuine love for oneself.


Alex Harrison

Bona fide. That's such a great term. It's similar to the handle I chose when I created my Instagram account five years ago. I searched for synonyms for nonconformity and came across the word 'amomalous.' It was perfect. I tweaked the suffix, making it more feminine and now we are here.

I wanted something that could describe my personality and life mission in one word. I've always prided myself in being different. I was the only member of my faith that attended my high school of 2,000 students. Standing at 5 feet and 11 inches, I accepted that I was different, and I really embraced the fact that different was great. I understand that my peers may have viewed actions as peculiar, standing up for bullying and being honest in an environment where that was almost unheard of. I could never be more proud of being peculiar, for we read the Holy Bible that the Lord associates that behavior with being treasured.


Chrystal Smith

The thing about being 30-something is that I feel more of an urge to step out of my comfort zone and try new things, and less of an urge to care about what those around me think. After months of excuses, I finally mustered the courage yesterday to take a hip hop dance class at our local gym (stop laughing). I love to dance, but let’s just say that coordination and following directions aren't my gifts. I’m more of a feel the beat and those couple glasses of wine and just go with it kind of dancer. I fussed over what to wear so that I wouldn't stand out and I was sure to get there early to snag a spot in the very back of the class. Please, Lord, just let me blend in and not look like Phoebe from Friends. As the dozens of super fit younger girls filed in (surely all expertly trained hip hop dancers), I was surprised to see an older lady roll into the dance room in a wheelchair.