On Beginning (Again) - Real Food Whole Life

On Beginning (Again)

February 27, 2017 (Updated on August 5, 2021)

In the age of perfectly curated Instagram profiles and beautifully styled photography, Pinterest parties and well edited images, it’s easy to think that everyone has it figured out.

Maybe you think I have it all figured out.

Spoiler alert: I don’t. Not even close.

It’s tempting, though, to play the game.

To create inspirational, aspirational–unattainable–stories about green smoothies, and perfect meal planning, and daily exercise regimens, and nightly self-care rituals, and never messing up, and never sliding back.

Isn’t that what everyone wants? To see the perfect, the shiny, the polished, the special, the “after?”

And yet.

That is not my truth. That is not my story.

My truth is flawed, beautiful and filled with stretch marks, dirty dishes, C-section scars, unbrushed hair, slip-ups, early mornings, and avocado- (mine) and tear- (the kid’s) stained sweatshirts.

Margaritas, chips and guacamole still sound like a reasonable dinner option on a Friday night.

There’s the (recently diagnosed) autoimmune disease that I don’t quite have a handle on, and then there are the “problems” with my ovaries .

The jeans that fit perfectly two years ago, but that now reside in the back of the closest, all sad and lonely because they do not, at the moment, fit.

And yet.

I understand more than ever how to listen to my body and make choices that are truly healthy.

Life is gorgeously full.

Home renovations and doctors appointments; the day job and the always-parent shift; extended holidays and the weekly grind; weddings and birthdays and celebrating the baby who once fit in my arms but who now rarely holds still long enough for a hug.

I’m discovering the margins. What meal planning + prep looks like in real life, to find the space, to crave green, to move for the process and not the outcome.

How to be kinder.

Railing against the perfect and leaning into gentle.

And knowing when it’s time to begin again.

To build the foundation, start from the good place, and rewrite the story.

This month, this week, today. Right this minute.

Begin again.

But first, a warning: Please. Let’s not be fooled into thinking it is necessary to tear down in order to build back.

This life, the battle scars, the laugh lines, the mistakes and the slip-ups. They are your story. They are you.

Please. Don’t tear it down.

Instead level it out. Smooth the edges. Build wide and across and fill the places in between.

Know that the story may get more interesting. Painful, maybe, or boring, agitating–scary even. Know for sure that it will be messy.

And yet.

Beginning again means showing up. Choosing to see slip-ups as nourishment instead of as failures.

To drink in the mistakes, to let them wash over you. Allowing them to make you whole.

Giving yourself permission to be gentle in the mess.

Knowing that I’m right there with you. Flawed and scarred with messy hair and unwashed dishes.

Filled with the awareness that beginning again is not the same as starting over.

Because you can’t go back even if you wanted to.

Right now? It’s all there is.

And Right now? we can begin (again.)

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12 comments to " On Beginning (Again) "

  • Cherry Blossoms

    I sobbed reading this post. I love how real you are and that is why I continue to come back to your blog. For your real-ness (and your delicious recipes). As a Mom and fellow blogger I feel this way EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Am I enough? I am so imperfect. How can I be a better friend, wife, mom, sister, aunt, cousin? How can I begin again…? Will I ever fit into those pants in the back of my closet? Probably not–but I am healthy–eating better, exercising and doing what I can. I am blessed with two healthy kids and an awesome husband. I didn’t mean this comment to go on and on…I just basically wanted to say…I get you. So glad I am in such great company. xo

    • Robyn Downs

      So happy to hear you were able to connect with this post and thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. It’s so important to know that we’re not in this alone, and that we can begin again (every day if we need to)! xxoo

  • Heidi

    Oh friend. I hear you. Loud and clear. And I say OWN IT. Own every last bit of it. Because just like you said, it’s yours. It’s what’s made you you. And every single bit of it is beautiful. Thanks for writing to my heart today. Just exactly what I needed to hear.

    • Robyn Downs

      Heidi, totally agree and working on owning it everyday (it’s a process for sure)! So glad you connected with the message. xxoo

  • Katie

    I love everything about this post. I love following your instagram and your stories! This past weekend I had a sort of personal breakdown and allowing myself to be gentle through it got me through it! Thanks for your honesty and realness! It is so nice to read and know we’re all in this together!

    • Robyn Downs

      Katie, so happy to have you part of the community! Sorry to hear you had such a hard weekend, though love knowing that you approached the situation with a gentle mindset. Wishing you all the best! xxoo

  • Nicole

    Thank you Robyn for sharing. I got off FB because I couldn’t stand it anymore. I feel IG is better but sometimes it too makes me doubt who I am as a mother, wife, daughter, whole person….until I read beautiful REAL thoughts from wonderful minded souls like yourself. I’m sure most of us feel and live this way (crazy, messy, hectic, scatter brained…) I don’t have time to even post or take all these wonderful pics let alone live this perfect life their posting about lol.
    Just thank you for being you. For being real. I’m grateful for people like you because you make me feel normal💗
    Have a great day!

    • Robyn Downs

      Nicole, I hear you about FB, and love having you as part of the RFWL community on Instagram. Happy to share more of the struggles and to know that we are all going through the mess all the time. Sending lots of love. xxoo

  • Alexis

    Robyn, I love this post. Beautifully written and oh-so powerful. We teach our children that "kindness counts", yet somehow discount our selves in that mantra. I have to remind myself to be happy and see the joy in NOW…not wait seek joy "when I (insert aspiration)"

    • Robyn Downs

      Alexis, YES, exactly. I’ve been talking to my daughter about being kind, and then realized the irony of how unkind I am to myself all the time. Totally time to change that. And love that you mentioned the waiting to seek joy. Guilty of that myself as well and something I’m definitely working on. xxoo

  • Nicole

    I have a girlfriend who lives in California. If FB & Insta alone told her story, life would appear perfect. When I see her in person, I get a completely different picture. As amazing as social media can be, it sometimes creates an alternative reality. One that is void of mistakes and frankly, reality.

    Here’s to reality!! In all of its’ messy, disorganized & REAL glory!!

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