Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Shoes Pull the Whole Thing Together

My world has recently been divided into three parts: Those who like the shoes, those who hate the shoes, and those who hate the shoes but are polite enough not to tell me. I respect all three categories, but I'm telling you now, the shoes are here to stay.
Now, a word about the shoes; they are a bit, well, wild. They are hand-made Italian clogs covered in a pastel flowery design. They are a great deal like me, colorful, complex, a little outrageous, comfortable, constantly evoking a strong reaction. As much as I am not materialistic by nature, not interested in fashion at all and rarely moved by a pair of shoes, I fell instantly in love with these. My sister, Amy, however, was not in love. She is a very sharp dresser with excellent, albeit conservative taste. She took in my unbridled enthusiasm for the shoes and gave me a deadpan, "really."
It was an important moment in my life. I didn't care what she thought, I had to have those shoes! I grew up in a large family. We are five children in as many years. That may not sound like a lot now, but back then we were only one less than the Brady Bunch. We also had a single mother and no live-in maid. We essentially raised each other, and for better or worse, spent a great deal of time and energy in each other's business. As adults, while we have gone in many directions and no longer share one bathroom (!), we still care what our siblings think.
So the shoes, my love for the shoes and my sister's poorly concealed disapproval of the shoes caused a major psychological shift for me. I don't just love these shoes, I AM these shoes! As I walked out of the shoe store I realized that my life was forever changed. This is the beginning of a new era for me. As a woman in my 40s I have nothing to lose by embracing my unique qualities, not only loving and accepting my total self, but "wearing" my essence proudly. I realize that this might offend some people. I understand that being comfortable with zaftig body, embracing my femininity, accepting my shortcomings and wearing these ridiculous shoes might embarrass some of you out there, but to me there is no alternative. I will no sooner let the whimsy of fashion dictate my footwear than the fears of others dictate my choices. The shoes may fit comfortably in a box, but I do not. There is no paradigm forgiving or spacious enough to contain all of what I believe, think or feel.
I wake up every day, put a smile on my face and slide my feet into the shoes. As I look down I feel a great sense of inner peace descend. Brace yourselves, I am an empowered being.