I recently bought a new pair of shoes. I walked into a store filled with angst as usual because I do not like to shop. Let me rephrase that, I do not like to shop for myself. The exhausting process of walking through a busy, crowded mall in hopes of finding what exactly? I have absolutely no idea. I lack the ability to visualize something on a hanger morphing onto my body. When my husband met me, he quickly realized I was dressing my petite frame in size large, merely because I hadn’t replenished my wardrobe in ten plus years. The screeching of the hangers across the racks. The random strangers peering at you as if you are stealing their favourite pair of jeans. Do not even get me started on the aerobic workout that ensues once you enter the change room. The fun house type mirrors, yellow lighting and feverish pace we feel we need to undress results in sweat running into places we will not speak of. I cannot tell you how many times I have been stuck in clothing while trying it on. I do not like to shop.
Last week, I found myself inside this quaint shop enticed there by a social media post. I shoved open the old wooden door, was pleasantly greeted and asked if I would like a cup of tea. No, not a typical visit to the mall. I did linger a few minutes around the clothing racks, but I knew what my mission was. Up on the top shelf, perched as if they had been waiting for me, were my shoes. You see, ever since I can remember I had wanted a pair of red shoes. The business woman in me, the mom in me, she had settled for conservative black most of her life. Today was going to be different. Today I bought red shoes.
I did not yet know why I had such a strong urge to buy those shoes that day. What I did know was that it had been a really difficult few months. Professionally, I spend my days helping others overcome and deal with pain and grief. I love my job and am very proud of what I do. Personally, I work very hard to be the best mother, wife, friend, daughter, aunt, sister….person I can be.
I have been making a critical error, one that we all make far too often. I am not taking care of me first. I am tired. No, I am completely physically and mentally exhausted and I have been afraid to admit it. I am not afraid other’s will view me differently, it is about admitting failure to myself. Classic perfectionist. I am working on that. ❤
A great part of my struggle comes from a physical source. I live with chronic pain and nothing will make you feel like a failure quicker than having to ask for help. It is demoralizing and defeating. The intense pain I will put myself through rather than ask is my truth. My body feels pain constantly, every day. It affects every single aspect of my life but I seldom speak of it. There is no need, nobody is more drained by the way it consumes my world than I. For every single person that reads this, and lives this life, I see you. For each of you who is tired of telling your story because you know there is no way of explaining the pain, I understand. For those of you who put yourself through the pain to get dressed, smile, grocery shop, work, live each day, I see you. I want to make special mention to all of those spouses and partners who support us, love us, hold us, care for us and do their best to understand us. You too are amazing humans.
I am also working harder on living with grief. I scrolled that sentence across my screen, cried, and re-read it three times. There is a difference between dealing with something and living with it. I am a grief counsellor and have done a shit job at going through the loss of my sister. I always have been better at dealing with other people’s issues than my own. So, after a somewhat swift kick in the pants courtesy of my bff, I am making a better effort. Next month will be the one year anniversary and just the mere thought of that sucks the wind from my lungs. I will not ignore it, I will live through it.
This brings me to the biggest reason I bought myself those red shoes. My sister was the one person in this world who could say it like it was. No filter necessary. We travelled through some of the worst times together as children, and as adults. I have to tell you that even on days like today, with tears that won’t seem to stop, I can hear her laugh. It was uniquely her own and we laughed till we peed all the time. I made fun of her poor taste in shoes. These red shoes not only make me smile, but she would have made fun of them. Happy Siblings Day Sis. xoxo
Much Love ❤