The man in line was all smiles, and I felt sad for the joy I no longer could return this morning. I could hear the drop in his voice as my saddened eyes met his bright smile, but I couldn’t seem to lift the corners of my lips upon his gaze; my frown pressed on and contagiously spread across his own. My tummy began to rumble as I circled around town in search of the wonderful pancakes I had in mind, circling past location after location of long lines and frustrations.

The toughest moments this month have been, I believe, showing up and staying through the disagreements, the hurt, and the longing to be believed. I don’t much like to share about this kind of thing as it holds a lot of shame, but it is worth it because others have done it for me, and I want to be brave. This week, I have discovered some wonderful podcasts and blogs; the Real Life RD, Wholesomely Hannah, and oh so many more, and filled my truth channel to the brim and overflowing. I have thought to change my major to help other people just like me, as if to try to be the strong helper of others even at my lowest. What a thing to learn, at this age, how to be weak, needy, and to receive.

But then it dawned on me, just a little, in fragments and pieces; it begins with me. I remember the disappointment that I felt as I excitedly shared with a dear friend how much I, too, wanted to, all of a sudden, become a registered dietitian and a nurse practitioner, and was discouraged by her response. When things do not go my way, and responses are different than I expect, it is like my brain and whole self turn down into a dark place; not willing to let anything else in that might hurt it or make it vulnerable and shatter. My precious soul is oh so very shielded and fragile to the bullets this world brings; it is sensitive. Even though this wasn’t the response I wanted, the very little tender light within me sought to listen, just for a little. This dear friend graciously helped me to put my feet back on the ground of my lofty aspirations, because she knew what I didn’t.

A couple of months ago, I read Brené Brown’s, Rising Strong, and I am reminded of the Middle. Not the television show, which I love, but the tough, uncomfortable in between of every journey. She described it as, well, the only way I can think of it is like the movie, Tangled. In the beginning, Rapunzel is perfectly set with her mother, who is very outwardly sweet, but also manipulative. She wants so dearly to see the lights, but something remains in the way of that. She must stay with the scary parts and the adventure in order to one day achieve her dreams. She gets to sing with the men in the bar, stop to recognize what she loves, and really get to know herself first, until at last she sees the lights, with may I add, a beautiful man. And some of the best parts of the movie are in the adventure, at least I think so. Ever heard of the phrase it’s about the journey?

Well, I think the problem I have come across is my desire to hop, leap and jump over the middle part: the sometimes ugly recovery piece of the picture. And what would Tangled be without Rapunzel’s difficulties with her mother, her time building a relationship with Euguene, and oh so much more, because that is where we become relatable, and where we really see and come to know ourselves and others in the crafting of story.

Bloggers like Robyn and Hannah are inspirational because they have been through the middle ground. In this, they are able to say that they have been were I am, and where you maybe are, and give the precious, fragrant gift of hope, even if I’m not quite there yet. The battle isn’t simply won without a fight, and neither can this be true for me. The difficult conversations must be had in order to teach me how to stay and fight for, in, and through the tough parts. Body image takes time to be positively reprogrammed and cultivated from ages of planting poor seeds; the old must be harshly ripped up from the grounds in their weeded blossoms, so that new seeds can be planted, grown, cared for, and shared with others. This takes time.

In recovery, I will learn how to have grace and compassion for myself in order that I might share it with others, that which I do not yet have. I do not have a health at every size or intuitive eating mindset yet, but what I do have is a whole lot of journey to share with you. I hope to learn how to love others and myself, too, no matter what size we wear or what we eat or don’t, too, and to be able to have joyful, intuitive movements; a lifestyle that really honors and listens to, and trusts the body I have been given.

The thought came to me the other day like a gift from the hands of God Himself, even through my own rashness, for a name for this special place. He says to be joyful, and someday, when I’m no longer mad at Him and sometime begin to know who He really is again, may my response be: joyful will i Bee.

And on that day, I long to play in the sunflower patches, bask in the warmth of the glowing light from above, wearing my Winnie the Pooh sweater, with a jar of honey sweetly dancing upon a mouth filled with laughter, and a very, happy, smiley, joyful me; even if this moment doesn’t come until that other, pretty side of Heaven.

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