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Stepping into My Own Shoes: Eventually…

April 21, 20243 min read

The fabric of our lives is often woven with expectations—some self-imposed, many others laid upon us by the hands of those we love and look up to. My cream a-line graduation dress and the knock-off Sketchers I yearned to wear beneath it symbolized my first real attempt at stepping boldly into my own shoes. But that day was not about my comfort—it amounted to a battle between individuality and the image my mother had crafted for me.

I can still remember my mother's horror at the sight of my beloved purple Sketchers adorned with flowers that held promises of the freedom I craved. Her voice, drowning out my plea for autonomy, declared we were not to tarnish the picture-perfect moment she envisioned with footwear she deemed unworthy. It wasn't just about the shoes—it was about me, longing to shout, "I am here! See me for who I am!"

Yet with each tick of the clock, as graduation loomed closer, I caved—to my sister's hair styling, to my mother's dream, and to society's unspoken decree—that making others happy was my sacred duty, one that even overshadowed my own launch into adulthood.

Chaos swirled around me, ruffling the calm that should have accompanied my proud achievement. My room became an emotional battleground, tears staining my cheeks as I wrestled with the shackles of expectations.

My sister, the calm in a storm, soothed and smoothed things over, giving me the comfort I needed to start my day. With little time left, my hair was done, I was zipped into my dress, and I hesitantly donned the shiny white sandals mom offered with a hope of joy.

Snap! Photos were taken, set against a festive scene that felt more like a goodbye to myself. But these photos fed my mom's pride and the act I found myself in. They documented a collective triumph, not personal.

I whirled through the night, riding the high of inspiring words spoken for me – not someone's daughter, not a reflection, just me.

Entering college, I felt like the main character in the second act of my life, but my part was too much like an encore of my high school self—what I thought would impress others. This tendency wasn't just to make Mom happy anymore; it had taken over, becoming a habit that clashed with my true self, sparking an identity struggle that lasted years. Whenever I tried to be as unique and vibrant as those bold shoes I admired in secret, I felt silenced, forced to follow the 'shoulds' of an unseen force. Now, I look at young women teaming dresses with Skechers with a mix of jealousy and respect. I wish to emulate that bold style and have the support of a parent who encourages being true to oneself.

Reflecting on the Lessons Learned

I've learned hard, but necessary truths through self-reflection:

  • Parents' responsibility: Heal your issues or they may become your children's burden.

  • Boundaries: Your peace should not be overruled by others, even loved ones.

  • Self-Care: Seek your happiness independently, without waiting for others' approval.

  • Real Connections: True bonds are built on mutual respect, not on sacrificing who you are.

  • Accepting the Past: Our lives are shaped by various influences, but we must find what's truly ours.

Education doesn't end at graduation; life's lessons stick with us more closely. Daily, I add to my self-story, now choosing paths that fit me, not others.

I share my journey, from youth to adulthood, to resonate and assure you, you're not alone if you're balancing others' expectations. Through my experiences, may you recognize parts of your own, hear your struggles echoed, and find the willpower to define your own success.

The bravest action isn't about public praise but choosing your path, even when it's unpopular.

Let's courageously walk in our own shoes, with each persistent step.

Learn more how our programs are the beginning of the path to healing. Learn more HERE.

Kids First, Becoming a Mom, Healing the Generations

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