Flicktone, on Flickr”>Brown Boots-2

I scroll endlessly between the two options: dark green or dark grey? Which pair of boots will be better? (I really wanted patent black, but they didn’t have it). Grey will do. Grey will be good. It will be better than patent black, really. It will be more wearable.


Do I really need these boots?




Most days I am actually okay about being ill; I kind of accept it and get on with life. It doesn’t feature much in my thinking.


Today is not one of those days.


It always seems to happen after the good times, the best times. We have just been on a trip away from home, for two nights in a hotel. It was a humongous room with a balcony overlooking the sea. After a month of not being outside at all, I could see the horizon again. I had a massage which was indulgent and relaxing. I watched the people come and go as I sat waiting for my massage and thought to myself that I looked normal, that these people couldn’t tell from looking at me that I spent most of my days in bed. I ate creme brûlée. I saw penguins and seals. I laughed at my boy, and spent quality talking time with my husband.


And now I should be grateful, but I feel profoundly disheartened.


Most of the time you survive this illness by telling yourself it’s okay, this is normal, really, and there are worse things, and you could be worse off, and I could be bedbound, or not have my husband and baby – and wouldn’t I rather have those things than be perfectly healthy? And of course, I would.


But then there are the times when it just strikes you again: this is not normal, this is not okay. It is not okay that I have to measure out my activities in teaspoons, that I have to miss friends’ weddings, that I cannot play games and run with my boy, that I cannot go to church, that I can no longer sing, that I am not doing ministry, that I am just never, never getting better.


I am home now, and already my body is aching with the strain of the fun of Christmas and the time away. My heart is clunky and erratic, my muscles painful and knotted. And I am tired – so tired. This is the ‘payback’ of pushing things, even a little.


I am bored of being ill. I am weary of it. Today this does not feel okay.




I cannot cook for myself, but I can still buy boots. I can wear boots, and when I leave the house I will have new boots.


And then I consider, is it even worth buying them?


My rule of thumb, post-2010 relapse, has been to do a maximum of one thing a day, and aim to leave the house for an hour or so once a week. But major relapses since then have shown that even this is too much. I need to rest more. My rations are probably more like one thing every other day, leaving the house once a fortnight.


So that means this year I will leave the house maybe 26 times, and most likely only wear those boots approximately 15 times this year. It is foolish, ridiculous even, to buy a pair of new leather boots, simply because I love shoes. They will get so little wear. It is an extravagance. I should not buy them.




I have to be frugal, like this, with pretty much every area of my life when it comes to time and energy expenditure. Going over-budget on fun things for a day can cost weeks and months in a relapse; it’s not worth it. Have I gone out for a meal last week? Then for the next two weeks I need to talk to friends twice a week rather than four times a week.


I go back to the website and select ‘dark grey’ and click ‘buy now’.


Sometimes all you can do is buy the ridiculous boots anyway.


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73 Responses to Boots

  1. Kirsten 11th January, 2013 at 1:33 am #

    So glad you bought the boots! Because it was never just the boots (as everyone in this situation knows)…it was the symbolism – the power of the dream, the need to hope, the enjoyment of ‘normal’ pleasures. And all of those things are medicine for the soul. We spend so much of our energy looking after our bodies and it can be hard to rationalise the pandering to our heart’s desires. Especially when we live on such a different level and something like this can seem ‘shallow’. But it’s so so essential to treat ourselves kindly and to indulge (within reason).

    Enjoy those dark grey boots!

    • Tanya 14th January, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

      YES!! You understand it completely and you have articulated it so well. Thank you!

  2. Ann @ restoringmysoul 10th January, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    Well said and beautifully written. Heart breaking. I can relate to every word.

    • Tanya 14th January, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

      Thanks, Ann – I appreciate the solidarity 🙂

  3. Anita @ Dreaming Beneath the Spires 10th January, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    Penguins? seals? Where? Sounds lovely.

    • Tanya 14th January, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

      Torquay- and it really was!

  4. Karen 10th January, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    I’m so very sorry to hear that. And yes, January is a tough month, but your issues are also real. BUT what beautiful writing – it resonates with many, and how many have responded – you are rich in online friends. And I’m delighted you got your boots.
    I think it helpful to have people who can remind you to cling onto the fact that you have purpose, and usefulness – no matter how prostrated. Rest – yes! But know that your life is most beneficial to others.

    • Tanya 14th January, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      Thank you, dear Karen. Xx

  5. Janice 10th January, 2013 at 2:07 am #

    Oh, and one more thing, I JUST got my first pair of tall boots for Christmas and I’m giddy about them. Now, of course, all my jeans are completely wrong and I end up looking like I have balloon pants on over these adorable boots. Still working out the kinks. But now every time I think of wearing mine I’m going to think of you and hope you’re wearing yours, even if they are around the house. (That’s most likely where I’ll be wearing mine…)

    • Tanya 14th January, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      And Jeggings – they’re the way forward!
      Send me a photo!

  6. Mandy 9th January, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

    This post made me cry, why is there always payback after lovely family times? I understand the frustration at this illness that seems to constantly change the goal posts and admire your honesty… all too often I silently scream! I know it’s tough when there is so much you’re unable to do, but don’t underestimate the value of what you can do. Your writing is so beautiful.
    Praying you are able to to wear your new boots very soon.

    • Tanya 14th January, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

      It’s comments like these that make me SO glad I wrote this post. Thank you.

  7. Janice 9th January, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    I know if God had designed it differently we’d all turn into selfish ego-maniacs, but sometimes I feel frustrated at how often our own ministering to others doesn’t really minister to ourselves the same way. I echo what every commenter has said about how much your writing means to me. But I also know that being on the writing end probably feels different. I know it makes you glad that you help so many people, but I also know it doesn’t bring health and strength and all the things you’d really like. I know if our good-will could heal you you’d have been healed a thousand times over. But thank you so much for your words even – especially – on days when you don’t feel good. Thank you for the reality of you that you share with us and make each of us feel more comfortable with the reality of ourselves.

    It is SOOO nice to hear your voice again. (Even if I have to make up what you sound like in my head – don’t worry, I’ve given you the cool British accent I know you have…)

    • Tanya 14th January, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      As always, Janice, thank you. Your words are such a gift to me. Xx
      P.s. and I DO have a cool British accent! Semi normal, semi-posh. Posher when I’m more nervous.
      P.p.s. do you have the word ‘posh’ in the US??

      • Janice 14th January, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

        We have it enough to know that it’s cool and British! I’m so sad you are so far away. I’m just dying to have coffee with you some day. In our boots. Oh, forgot you’re a Brit – we can have tea too. 🙂 And crumpets.

        • Tanya 15th January, 2013 at 12:51 am #

          I speak like a Brit but eat like an American. Coffee and muffins all the way, my friend…

          • Janice 15th January, 2013 at 5:26 am #

            Then it’s a date!

            • Tanya 17th January, 2013 at 2:23 pm #


      • Mark Allman 16th January, 2013 at 2:29 am #

        I think you should do a vlog Tanya so we all can hear that cool British accent!! I am sure I am like a lot of Americans who love the accent.

        • Tanya 17th January, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

          I am notoriously unphotogenic! Didn’t even have my wedding videoed! But will definitely think about it. 🙂

  8. Diana Trautwein 9th January, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    SO GLAD YOU BOUGHT THOSE BOOTS, TANYA. Sometimes retail therapy is very, very real. Praying for you today – that you will see glimmers of encouragement, settle back into whatever routine of acceptance and routine works for you in 2013. This is tough slogging, there are no two ways about it. And this writing right here? Glorious stuff. Keep that piece of life – this writing life – going whenever you can manage it, okay?

    • Tanya 14th January, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

      Your encouragement means so much, Diana. This comment made me feel so nourished. Thank you.

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