I don't think I've really looked at myself lately. Sure, I do my hair/makeup and get ready in the morning, but I haven't had the energy to really look at the person staring back at me in the mirror. It's been a tough few months, riddled with pain that has run deep. I've just had my head down, determined to make it out in one piece. But today, for the first time in what seemed like months, I stood motionless in front of the mirror and blinked at the woman-child blinking back at me. She looked different than I remember. On the outside, she looked tired and weary. But on the inside she looked a little more true... a little more like the true me I always thought was buried in there, beneath all the facades life has taught me to conjure up to guard against more wounds and pain. Beneath the fear of what you think of me and all the little insecurities that have convinced me I can't be free. The real Elise--the fearless, joyful, brave, free one, is coming to the surface and taking the lead. And for that reason alone, I am incredible proud of that woman in the mirror.