I was in a waiting room earlier this week and someone complimented my shoes (they are my newest fabulous purchase if I may say so…and even better they were only $5!). The conversation ensued:
Me: I’m taking advantage of not being with the kids
Her: My kids are full grown but I can’t wear heels anyway. Besides, I have no one to impress.
Me: I don’t either. My man lives an hour and a half away. I wear them for me. They make me happy.
After thinking for a moment, she said: “I’m happy too, but that’s because I’m not in a relationship.”
We both laughed, and my name got called for my appointment.
Her comment has been nagging at me since. I’m not sure how being or not being in a relationship should determine someone’s happiness. If my marriage taught me anything, it taught me that you can’t look towards and rely on someone else to make you happy because, if you do, your happiness is only short-lived.
I recognized her disheveled physical state from the first 6 months after my marriage split up. I was so task-oriented with my kids that I just threw on whatever clothing was clean-ish and none of it fit because, as I came to realize, there’s this thing referred to as the “divorce diet”: magically 20lbs falls off you even when you’re eating nothing but pizza and chips. Stress is a great diet but NOT healthy so I don’t recommend it.
I was scared to spend time alone during the times the kids were at their dad’s. I made sure my “free time” was scheduled for weeks in advance so I wouldn’t have to be alone. Quickly, I burnt out. Being a fulltime mom for the first time in my kids’ lives, managing my son’s behaviours and therapies, and going through the emotional turmoil at that the end of a marriage, I was completely spent…and it showed.
Our apartment was completely cluttered, laundry was never folded, dishes were everywhere, things still weren’t unpacked 6 months after our move, no space in the kitchen to cook, etc. So, I scheduled a day with a girlfriend to help me declutter. I was thankful to not be “alone” since the kids were at their dad’s, we got rid of tons of stuff (donating most of it, some of it just had to be thrown out or recycled), and she determined what was “acceptable” and “presentable” in my wardrobe.
After this, I started to slowly feel better and tried spending time out of the house…on my own, doing things other than running errands. Around this time, I had an epiphany. I had been looking to others to determine my happiness: my husband, my friends, my kids, etc. It hadn’t/wasn’t/wouldn’t work. I had been trying to be the wife and mother that my husband expected of me (his frequent snide comments like “A 30 year old mom of twins should or shouldn’t…” sure didn’t help). Ever notice how much guilt comes along with the words “should” or “shouldn’t”? I digress…
That same girlfriend came back a few weeks later to do another purge with me and we decided it was time to get rid of all my flat shoes (except for the slip-on sneakers, black sandals and brown sandals I needed to chase after the kids). My ex-husband was shorter than me by 2” so I always felt self conscious wearing heels with him. I reinstigated my minimum 6’ rule for dating (I’m 5’10”) and said goodbye to my flats. The only thing left were at least 3” heels…and it felt fantastic! After I learned it was “ok” to wear my heels when there wasn’t a reason, or as my waiting room friend said “to impress someone”. The fact that my man loves them and encourages me to wear them is just icing on the cake. At the end of the day though, I wear them for me.