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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