Sat 13 Mar 2010
“They are not practical. They are probably not comfortable. I may not be able to walk in them. They are not in my budget. I don’t have anywhere to wear them.“ I tried to talk myself out of them. I wasn’t very convincing.
I wanted them anyway.
It was love at first sight.
They had 4” satin covered stiletto heels. Their instep was crisscrossed by dainty- braided, bronze- leather straps. When I slipped them on my feet, I felt like a goddess. I was Cinderella ready for the ball, even though I was actually wearing mom-jeans and pushing a stroller. They were my size! It was meant to be.
They were even on clearance…but not quite marked down far enough.
I visited them weekly, like a loved one in jail. I daydreamed about the day we’d be united. I nervously watched as they were marked down each week, and I gambled on whether they’d be sold (there was only one pair) before I could save up enough.
Yes, they were shoes. But not just any shoes…they were “those” shoes…..
You know, the ones from “that” TV show? The TV show with the beautiful, glamorous, witty, fashionable, intelligent and stylish women? Yes, that show.
These shoes (actually, some by the same designer) had been on that show. I wanted them. I scrimped and saved. Finally the day came.
I put on make up and an “outfit” for that final visit. My hands were sweaty on the steering wheel as I drove.
My mind raced: “What if someone already bought them? What if they didn’t? They are still too expensive. I could use this money for so much more important things… I don’t need them.”
“I want them.”
With those words, I left my conflict and anxiety in the car. I walked into the store. My stretched out from pregnancy shoes flapping on the cement announcing my arrival.
I walked to the aisle and checked the spot where they should be….(Ok where I stuffed them so no one would find them….)They were still there. And now the clearance shoes were 75% off. “How could I NOT buy them? “ I thought to myself. I sat down and tried them on one more time.
I heard bells. Or maybe someone set off the theft alarm… either way I knew they were mine. I plunked down my debit card and paid for them. I carried them out like they were made of gold. (They should have been, they were pretty pricey, even at 75% off.) I drove home with visions of finally being “that” woman in my head.
To be honest, I’m not sure I really did like them that much… I owned nothing in bronze. I clomp like a horse, in high heels. They didn’t have ankle straps and I knew the flip-flop feel would drive me nuts.
I fell in love with the idea of them. Some part of me was convinced that if I had those shoes, I’d get a chance to know what it was like to be “that” kind of woman.
I wanted to walk a mile in her shoes. Just once.
Let’s just say I didn’t make it a mile.
Or half a mile, it was closer to a quarter mile.
To say they hurt would be putting it mildly. I wore them down the steps to the car into a restaurant and back to the car. I took them off on the way home. I couldn’t stand it a minute longer.
I had blisters on top of blisters. I almost broke my neck attempting to walk down the foyer steps… (Not the kind of entrance I wanted to make.) I had a weird walking –on- a -cord painful feeling in the ball of m foot that forced me to see a podiatrist. (FYI: neuromas are not fun.)
They did not make me: glamorous, witty, or intelligent.
They were painful. I wondered if that’s how those beautiful women on TV had felt as they teetered around the set. I wondered if there were medics and ice baths ready for action between scenes.
I was wrong. All wrong. Walking a mile in those shoes was not what I’d expected. It was torturous.
I shoved them into the shoe bag in my closet and left them there for a “special occasion.” I prayed I’d never have one.
The shoes became a reminder that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence and that life isn’t always more glamorous in a different pair of shoes.
They are bronze leather strappy evidence of what I can learn when I (literally) walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
I wonder what I could learn from trying on other types of shoes… being in ‘that” show was certainly not all it was cracked up to be…I’d been wrong about that.
I wonder how many other things I’ve been equally wrong about. Things that seemed glamorous, or hard or easy or foreign….assumptions I’d made about what it must be like to be the mom who wears “those” shoes….
I wonder what I could learn about other moms, if I walked a mile in her shoes?
What it would be like to be: A working mom? A Tatted mom? A Stay At Home Mom? A Work From Home Mom? A mom who immigrates from another country? What would it be like to walk a mile in the shoes of a mom with different family dynamics? Or a mom from a different financial status? Or a mom who makes different parenting choices from mine. What would it be like to be a home school mom? A public school mom? A private school mom?
I started to think about all the different kinds of women I’d made assumptions about based on their [figurative] shoes. Was I equally wrong about them?
The truth is, I’ve let our differences become walls of shoe boxes that have come between us. I’ve watched you walk in your shoes from afar and I’ve thought I knew what it must be like. Since I already knew….I figured we didn’t have much in common and I didn’t bother trying to get to know you.
What if I was wrong?
What if I’m not the only one?
I want to get to know you. I want to shed my assumptions like a bad pair of shoes.
I want to walk a mile in her shoes… who ever she is…because she matters…and I believe that if we take the time to get to know each other… we could become friends or at least respect each others differences.
Walk a mile in her shoes….
Could I? Would it be painful? Fun? Scary? Would I be blistered and bruised?
I’m doing it anyway. Because it will be worth it. So much more worth it than those shoes stuffed in my closet.