single mom

Big Girl Shoes

There seems to be a notion that when life gets tough, we need to put on a strong face, pull up our trousers, or wear our big girl/boy shoes and face the world. What a nasty notion! Sometimes, I think we need to avoid the shower, wear sweatpants that are too big and feel sorry for ourselves.

OK, maintain your personal hygiene – but enjoy those sweatpants, because nobody can take you seriously when your ass looks like that.

Every day is a little different, and a little bit the same it seems. I wake up and I have coffee. Usually, I have breakfast but sometimes I forget. I play with my son, I work out. I shower. Sometimes, I even go out into the world and socialize! Even though my life without J isn’t that different than it was when we were together – especially since he worked away – I always feel this void.

I had a confidence when I was with him, false or otherwise, that people actually noticed when I went out. That went away for a long time, but last Sunday I think it came back. FINALLY!

Last night, after supper, after having worked out already for an hour, I put on my running tights and shoes, grabbed a sweater, the stroller and my Mom and went out for an hour long walk. Had I been on my own, I might have run for part of it, but we walked and we talked. And even though I tried to express some of my feelings to her, it was pretty useless.

My Mom really loves me. I know this because she puts up with my ridiculous life, supports my decisions, and sometimes she even throws words of encouragement out there. In spite of all of that, my Mom has never been depressed – and if she ever has, she’s forgotten what it’s like. “Get over it”, “Forget about him”. As if it’s that easy.

She’s also never been through a separation. She and my Dad have been together since the Stone Age. She didn’t have to face people who’d celebrated their wedding and tell them the news, she never had to raise a child by herself, lose friends to “picking sides”. I did, and I’m living through it every. single. day.

While sometimes I’m a little tempted to sit under the blankets with a glass bottle of wine, let my hair get a little greasy and wear sweatpants two sizes too big and watch sappy movies with a box of Kleenex, I’ve found that putting on my Big Girl Shoes has been significantly more therapeutic.

When we’re sad, we have a few choices and I’ve tried them all. The first path was feeling sorry for myself. That was a bust. The second path was hiding my feelings – worst decision ever. I had a total meltdown. The third path has been picking up the pieces, and fighting to get my life back.

Since January, I’ve learned that no one else is going to take care of my happiness and my health. Sure, there are lots of people who are concerned about it – but I am the only person who can take the reins in my life. I am the only expert on me.

While I’d like to think my Big Girl Shoes look like Carrie Bradshaw’s droolworthy heels, they’re more like beat up Toms or a fuzzy pair of Uggs, but they’re helping me take the steps I need to take. And that’s fabulous enough for me!

Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try this:

Sit on the floor in a quiet room, legs folded and eyes closed. If you can’t sit on the floor with legs folded, sit upright in a chair, knees together, ankles together and feet on the floor. Tilt your head side to side, forward and back, and return to center. Take several deep breaths. Think of what makes you happy. Visualize yourself strong, happy and healthy. Smile. Hug yourself. Open your eyes and look in the mirror. You can get there. It may take baby steps, it may take many steps… but it’s a path worth every step, and you can guarantee that there is a lesson for every step of the way.

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