I bought a new pair of shoes last week.
That, in and of itself, is not newsworthy. I've tried really hard not to turn Muchness and Light into a journal of my daily activities, though I certainly have revealed more in this forum about my daily life than the average bear might share. (My blog is my woods sometimes, isn't it?)
But I bought new sneakers. They're black with teal laces and trim, plus a splash of hot pink—totally unlike the pink and purple that tend to attract me.
The last time I bought sneakers was almost four years ago. I'd started walking to feel better, taking the first steps toward what would be a 115 pound weight loss. Those metallic magenta Nikes have carried me over at least 3,000 miles. They adorned the major milestones of my last four years, and they were the strange, symbolic foundation for the deep transformations that took place within me.
Three Christmases ago—the last Christmas DH and I were together—I asked for new sneakers. DH bought me a pair of pink and purple Nike Dual Fusion 2s that I picked out. They were exactly what I wanted. Exactly what I told him I wanted.
Those shoes never fit right.
They were too high at the opening, rubbing uncomfortably against my ankles. The toe box was cut strangely, and sometimes my pinky toes would go to sleep.
I never wore them more than a dozen times, always going back to my well-worn metallic magentas.
Those shoes became strangely symbolic of my marriage. The ones I bought for myself, that I wore to protect me as I moved again through my life, were comfortable and supportive. I've never met anyone else who had those same shoes.
The second pair were a gift I picked out—as I always did for gifts for myself. They were something I asked for that DH gave me when he had a reason, but they were never right. And I saw them everywhere on other people's feet.
I have been terrible about self-care during the last year-and-a-half. My 115 pound weight loss is now a net of about 100 pounds. I haven't been walking, let alone working out, with any kind of regularity. My life is the boys and the house and work and school. When I get free time, I am often too exhausted by everything else to even think about going for a lengthy walk.
I'm not eating well or sleeping well. I forget to take my medicine—the mandatory thyroid replacement hormone that will keep me functional and alive. I'm cranky and bitchy from all of the stress that I know is taking a toll on my body, not to mention my mind.
I am busting my ass right now to get through school and still try to work when I can, plus clean the house and do the laundry and sometimes cut the grass. Max and Tricky need attention and time and care, and they deserve to have more than what's just leftover at the end of the day.
So it's me who gets the leftovers. It's Stephanie who fights with herself to get a little care and attention. It's Stephanie who gets lost in her own shuffle and then feels like shit because she barely has the time and energy to touch base with the parts of her who fought so damn hard to unearth themselves from the minutiae that was killing her soul.
But if I don't take the time to care for me, I will have nothing left to give, especially to the boys. I have to constantly remind myself that I am worth my own effort, even if it means I have to put down a textbook or tell a friend no or refuse to answer the phone. Even if it means I have to drag my exhausted, flabby ass from the couch and put on my shoes and walk.
I put on my new shoes over the weekend and took the boys (also in their new shoes) to the local greenway. I did three miles, and it felt good. It felt right. And my shoes didn't hurt my feet.
One foot in front of the other. That's the only way I'm making it out of this. One step at a time.