There was a time where I wouldn’t ever consider dating a man who was shorter than 6 feet tall. Nope. Never. NO WAY. I used to always say, “Who wants to bend over to kiss their boyfriend?” (I was 5 ft 9 inches tall by the age of 15, so the ‘amazon girl’ issues lived inside me for many, many years.) The LAST thing I wanted as a tall, athletic, teen girl is more teasing about my height, size of my arms or stature!

As a young mother, if my child messed up or got in trouble at school, I felt like it reflected on me. Then, as a single mother, I blamed myself for the issues they had in school/with friends and felt like the struggles they were facing were all due to me and my ex getting a divorce.

I used to think that getting a divorce was the worst thing in the world that could happen to me. I remember the day after I kicked my then-husband out of our house, I sat alone in a small desk at back to school night at the local junior high and watched all of the other parents rotate around the school together and wondered why me? I felt as though I was being punished for something and completely sucked at life.

What a complete waste of effing time.

The nice thing about turning 40 is that you no longer give a shit what other people think. Seriously. Been there, done that. You spend your whole life living in a certain role in your family/marriage/employment,  then one day your eyes open and realize why do I care about the ‘perception of me’ more than my own happiness? Then, you walk into the light and stand tall and never look back.

My husband, Brandon, is honest, loyal, supportive, loving, passionate and a wonderful father. Yes, he’s 6 years younger than me and 4 inches shorter than me (20 years ago, I would have walked right on by), and today I could care less about what people think as they see us holding hands.

I am one hell of a mother. I know it. I know it because my kids and I are close. I am teaching them how to love, take the high road, be better. They share their fears, sadness, challenges, love stories, happy times and hugs with me. No matter what they do and how they mess up and where they fall short, I’m there for them. And if they slip, I will help them stand. And if they do slip, it’s ok because people make mistakes.

My divorce is the best thing to have ever happened to me. I stood up for myself. For the first time. All the pain and drama and bullshit crap that gets thrown my way is well worth it. Because I live an authentic life. And I’ve moved on and found happiness.

Stop spending your valuable time and energy worrying about perception. If you’re acting with a true hart and for yourself and your needs and what’s best for you, that’s really all that matters.