I walk like a Mom. I've been told more than once that I walk like a model but I've never modeled. It's about getting to where I need to be. This has been a thing for others for a while, and I've written about taking a step before. I've mommed. It's a simple gait . . . I remember months ago when I was first starting to wear high heels after years of being barefoot or in flats. I had to decide I had the confidence and once I did, my muscles no longer had to make up for my insecurities. I had to decide that I was confident enough to walk the way I do.
It's a mom walk. I can teach you. One foot in front of the other, hips sway in the imbalance of it. Usually I walk quickly, but slowing down means I often lead with my hips a little more. I smile and make eye contact. I'm friendly. I strike hard with my heel, certain of my footing. If you need further instruction, you're over thinking it. It's not something you mechanically do. It's an extension of the empowerment I embody.
It helps to have a mirror session. Look at yourself in a mirror. Really look at yourself. Make up or clean face. At your current weight which is perfect once you decide it is. Look hard. Look brazenly. Decide that you are beautiful and strong and powerful. Then step back and start walking. As you walk, remember that your veins carry the life force forged in the DNA of warriors before you. No one's family has survived as an accident. My birthright means I have the blood of women that have fought and lived, not as survivors of their situation, but as women who learned to thrive because of them. In spite of them.
Dating sometimes makes me feel like my dates believe they are owed something in exchange for taking me out and paying for a meal. I often feel like I need to explain that affection is not an obligation because I agreed to coffee. I know that my time is a gift. If I had a going rate, most couldn't afford my smile.
My smile was always a thing to hide behind when I was younger. For years my smile was gone. I recently had a random text and that text put a smile on my face that let me know I wasn't smiling just before it, and that is rare lately. That moment was me in the middle of a gnarly purchase order and a disorganized project I had to sort through. That man sent that text and I felt a huge difference. I don't expect any more of his texts, but I have my walk. This walk boosts my confidence and my smile tends to cheer others up too.
The cost of my smile means being so confined and crushed emotionally that there was a shell filled with broken pieces. It costs the insomnia I lived through and crying myself to sleep many nights. It costs choosing being alone over being in the wrong relationship. It costs figuring out life instead of indulging in a midlife crisis and finding empowerment through that. It means begging for a feeling I couldn't name and finding indescribable joy in knowing that I don't have to be who I was. The cost of my smile was to be so solidly held as valuable to only one man in a shallow existence and being rejected so hard that the only deliverance was to discover true self love.
My smile is a promise to a new life and more joy than I thought I had a right to. It's the hint to the secret of the wonder I feel when I stand in the sun or smell a fresh orange with its peel intact and living in each moment as if every single breath matters. It's knowing that my smile can brighten someone else's day and the odds of hearing it's a beautiful smile are fairly good. It's not knowing my worth, but understanding I am worthy.
I walk and I smile and a lot of days, this walk down the block on a busy street are all I need to fill my cup and recharge.