The other day, I was in front of the The Walking Company. This is a store that sells shoes that are made to be comfortable enough for long distance walking and as a person with square feet and several conferences on deck, I thought I would check out the lovely shoes in the window.
Let’s just say that I gasped at the price, although “had a heart attack” would be more accurate. After asking the clerk a few questions (Are they custom made? Will I get a free pedicure or foot massage while wearing them for that price?), I left and, thinking like a blogger, considered pitching them at some point. It only took a few seconds to realize that people who can afford Walking Store shoes probably don’t read this blog. They are unrealistic on the budget of a mom raising kids with special needs, who’s trying to live clean and green and give their kid every opportunity to succeed; they are unrealistic for my budget.
Still, it would be very easy for me to reach out and ask for shoes but it’s not me. \I’m much more of a Payless kinda gal, with the occasion drop by at Kohls. Most of my money goes to our homeopath, my car, tech to help me and the kids, eating organic, helping places that care about families with autism and now possibly adding more therapies for my kids.
Yet, I’m struggling with that: who am I, other than the woman who shops at Kohls? When you have friends confront you with things about yourself that you don’t like in love (some you agree with, some you don’t), you have to dig down deep to sort that through. When you’ve been through a traumatic situation that suddenly showed you that life was not at all what you thought it was, you have to seek out real life. When changes and upheavals push you into uncomfortable territory that you know you need to heal, you have to drop any pretense at all. What’s left, whether people like it or not, whether people “get it” or not, is you.
And that’s what I have to be: just me even as I struggle to define that. Now my kids? They are just themselves. They don’t worry about their quirks, their self-talk, their actions. With the girls, they just are.
And that’s something beautiful in raising kids with disabilities: they are totally authentic. They wear their hearts and emotions on their sleeve, they laugh at anything, they’ll stop and play or watch things that they enjoy, whether or not it’s in their “age range.” So in the interest of taking a lesson from them, here are 10 things you might not know about the real me:
- I cannot take a selfie to save my life. See?
- I love music that is current, grown up, sometimes Christian and has a dash of edge. (So think WordFM with a little Weezer thrown in, and very little recorded between 1950 and 1990 except Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and a few other legends.)
- I love fiction and could read or watch brilliant TV / films ALL THE TIME. And thankfully, I live in the era of Ron Moore, Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams, and “Sherlock.”
- I hate to admit it but I’m kind of an organic food snob. I’m also realistic. I love to eat out and the odds of getting organic food outside my own home I know are pretty much zero so I let it go and enjoy the meal.
- I love to talk. This is good because it helped me overcome the ridiculously crippling shyness of my childhood but bad when I can sense the awkwardness of not knowing how to end a topic when talking with a non-talker. Or at Bible study, where I subject my dear friends to my opinions, lol.
- I’m not neat. I like things to be fairly neat, I just can never figure out how to painlessly make or keep them that way. And I’m totally ok with that.
- In no way shape or form is that my natural hair color. And yes, hair dye is toxic but right now it’s a risk I’m willing to take.
- That means I live a realistically toxic-free life. My kids have toys made of plastic and we definitely have too much WiFi exposure and I haven’t dumped all my plastic containers and I still own some Ziplocs and no, I have not yet defluorinated my water. However, I HAVE tossed out some plastic just this week, do use chemical free bath products and just hired an organic lawn company. So we are getting there!
- I only just discovered last night that I’m a Reformed Christian yet I spent most of my life as a progressive believer in God/something. Yes, that’s big change but it has really helped my natural ability to be able to see both sides of an issue and speak logically and respectfully to those who disagree.
- I have zero fashion sense. I just don’t get it. What I really could use is personal stylist (as if!). While I love pretty, girly things that look good on me, I’m kind of clueless and just do the best I can, as long as it’s comfortable and in my budget. Bonus if there’s a coupon!