The cathartic experience of writing my memoir brought a significant peace within me, paving new paths of peace I chose to follow. Since The moment I gave my first signature in my parent's store where I began working after our move back home, I have continued the spiritual journey of self-discovery. Comfortable awareness of myself allows for a more patient and compassionate understanding of those around me. However, in the 6 months my husband, two dogs and I have been back, heaps upon heaps of doors have opened along with the much anticipated and welcome onset of anxiety, self-doubt, questions, and concerns. In my quest to maintain balance, transcendental meditation, outreach to loved ones and humbling vulnerability has given me a sturdy foundation. I take everything I can from those around me, while ever so calmly using it to boost myself and give back to them in return. Always mindful of altruism, I have come to learn how to receive.

Before leaving Texas, I trusted my instinct and made the decision to set a date of return. With this one confidant act, here I sit today, in this perfect home, with a stable job working and helping my parents, cherishing my time with my family, and waiting for my stork to come. With all of this came a significant loss of weight. I was working for the first time since I began my memoir, at a physically demanding job. I was hustling to help my Grandmother as she was recovering from a break, and then came the snow. Shoveling and December stress carried me into January.

I'd grown accustomed to weight gain and loss throughout the seasons, but this was so drastic and unexpected I was forced to shop for new clothing. In this time of my life, I experienced possibly the most normalized enlightenment since I penned the first sentence of Moving Mountains nearly five years ago. Here, in my pristine state of Maine, was a surrendered and honest soul dwelling inside the shell of my petite little body.

As I dressed for each days work, my husband would smile, "Look at those abs." Never, even during my frailest of times, had I seen or felt abs. It was then I knew. This was the moment that would come some day. This was the moment that I wondered about. And in that moment I replied, "Yeah, I look great, but I will gain back my little pouch once my body adjusts."

My small little wardrobe would be given away or used during another time of weight loss. My "regular" wardrobe remained on stand by. And when the holidays came I allowed myself to feel hesitant when taking deserts or having what I knew to be more than a serving. I let myself feel those thoughts, and I swam around them, slowly and calmly, identifying what it all meant. Because for me, insight and awareness is the true beauty to enjoying life. I heard my inner thoughts which sang out, "There goes the abs, there goes that pencil skirt." I had my portions and I had a few too many. I felt sluggish, and so I ate salads.

Balance was reached one every level. A balance of what may be wrong to one but a hope to another. I was Maria, trying to conceive, (still trying) and finally, a few nights ago, I heard myself speak, "I want to fill my void of baby with food, empty it and repeat." I, Maria, wanted to binge my pain, get rid of the pressure within to make room for more binge.

In that glorious wonderment, I smiled and did not self-destruct.