She Let Herself Go!

July 15, 2014

"She let herself go" is a phrase that I heard quite often during my childhood. If you didn't grow up in the South and you don't know this, one of the very WORST things a woman can do is let herself go. I don't mean on a trip or crazy- although crazy sometimes falls in line when a woman does let herself go- but, I am speaking of the "let herself go" as in she  just let herself fall into disrepair. That is what has happened to me.

It sort of crept up on me, the falling apart. I don't remember waking up and making a decision to get fat, or to stop doing my skin care regimen, or to eat a bag of Oreos for a snack,  or to start wearing Birkenstocks twelve months out of the year,  but somewhere along the way, I lost myself.  In my twenties, while my friends were developing their crows feet that now require botox, I was running five miles a day and putting gobs of acid on my face every night. I had a six pack. My boobs were amazing.  You could have bounced a quarter off of my butt.  My legs looked like I was a track star.  I really looked great in heels.  I had matching underwear that I bought just because it made ME happy, not for anyone else to see, but because it made me feel pretty and I wore it every day.  

And then, I lost myself.

I got married after ten years of being a single mom.  With the package, I brought one pissed off, very territorial daughter, who had always been a joy, but did not want me getting married, and blended her with  two step children who had their own challenges at their home with a new stepdad.  A new blended family at our house and a new baby on the way at their mom's, and they had a mess!  Also note, their parents' divorce was fresh when their mom remarried and when Jimbo and I started dating.  If our family had been a  restaurant, our special of the day would have been Emotional Turd Soup with a side of Hurt Feelings, with Bitch Pie for desert.

I lost myself in trying to mend other people's hurts and by trying to restore things that were broken. I wanted everyone to be happy.  I grew up being a fixer, and a mediator between my mother and grandmother.  I was parentified  and learned early that fixing people and situations was my lot in life- or so I thought- since then I have learned that is no longer my job.   I had the best of intentions but really made a mess out of some things.  I didn't have a handbook for some of the crap that we were dealt early on in our marriage. I let my own hurt feelings make me act like a child and I had some fits that I can never erase from my memory or my family's.  I don't recommend the ex-wife package on any of the new husband models.

So many times during all of this, I lost myself trying to substitute what I really wanted for what was available to me at the time.  In the back of my mind, I didn't deserve what I really wanted because I thought that I wasn't good enough for that.  Too many "selfish little bitch" conversations and situations with my mother from my childhood were rooted in my brain.  I thought that I always had to give in order to be loved.  There wasn't much love freely given in our family, and I still find myself trying to "earn" love and approval.  Amazing that I can grasp the concept of "Grace" with God, but not my own family.  I also think that I had read too many fairy tales and had to many princess friends living in dream castles with perfect children, and perfect jobs, and house keepers.  Most of that, ended up being lies, but at the time, I was pretty jealous of what seemed to be so perfect for my friends.

Hiding our wants and needs seems to begin at an early age- parents telling babies that they aren't hungry, or that they don't need a sip of water- that is when we begin burying our true desires and wants.   We are told to bury those wants and we, even as babies and toddlers, let ourselves go.

I lost myself in a retail store that was a daily reminder of what I had given up to have it- and truth be told, I didn't even really want the damned thing, I just wanted an avenue to make the extra money to buy the house that wasn't bursting at the seams with people.  I thought that if I made enough money, we could move into the dream house, my husband would change his mind and give me the baby that he promised me when we married.  But, none of those things happened.  I let other people make my decisions for me and that is no one's fault but my own. And some of the things that happened, just happened.  My husband didn't wake up one day and create a market crash.  And, he had no idea his ex-wife would be the way that she was toward me from the start, or that I would end up raising his son with no emotional support from anyone.  

I let a teenage daughter walk all over me and I tried to set boundaries with everything that I knew to do. Tough love, counseling, we tried it all.  I let children manipulate our home and our marriage, and allowed my husband's ex-wife to control years of my life.   It feels like I read every book on parenting, and still, somehow, I failed my children.   I wonder so many times what if I had done things differently, been a different wife, a different mother, if I had looked at my business as a form of my creative expression and been thankful to have that amazing job every day instead of viewing it as what I traded for what I gave up, how much happier and fulfilled I would have been.  But guilt, and shame and depression, just kicked me in the teeth.

And so why did I write this?  Because I let myself go.  And now, I'm forty something and completely reinventing myself for about the fourth time in my life, maybe fifth.  But this time, I am following MY heart, MY passion, and My own desires, I am writing from my heart.   I am not really interested about what you think about me or if you need to flag down my Aunt Shelia at the Piggly Wiggly to fact check my ramblings because you are a nosy person that I don't really even know.  What I have learned in these forty something years, is that is your problem, not mine.  If you have a question for me, email me at and I will be happy to respond promptly.

So, yes, this time...I am letting myself go.  I'm going to the gym, I'm going to the beach, I'm going to make amends for things I've done wrong and the people I've let down along my path. I'm letting myself go to acupuncture and I'm swimming in a fat girl swimsuit until I can get into the skinny girl version..  I'm letting myself go be free without guilt and the burdens of not being perfect that weigh me down.  I'm letting myself go be happy.  I'm letting myself finally feel like I deserve some of the happiness that is presented to me.  And, I'm going to let go of the people who don't bring happiness into my life. People who constantly make me feel like I am a terrible, inadequate person, need to go.  I'm letting myself GO down a road to happiness.  I'm going to a place of health.  I'm going home to a two bedroom apartment that has hardly no maintenance that is probably the coolest place that I have ever lived and it is a far cry from the dream house that we almost bought.  I'm going to a place where stress doesn't exist in my life and a place where my deadlines are self-imposed.  I'm going to a place where I am appreciated and not tolerated.  I'm going to a place of acceptance where I can share my flaws and fears and short comings and epic failures and be accepted and not judged. I'm going to a place where I can stand on my own opinion freely and not give a darn about what anyone else thinks.    I'm letting myself go to a place of peace and contentment.  Come with me?


  1. I my opinion this is your best post so far. So proud of you.

  2. I'm ready to Let Myself Go too. I love this post Sweetie. I guess because I can relate to so much of it.

  3. Amen Sister!! I am right with you.


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