What in the World?
While driving down the road, have you ever noticed the random shoe on the asphalt? It’s never two; only one and I always wonder, “How in the world did that shoe get there? Did someone throw it out the window as a prank? Was it accidentally left on the top of the car? And where is the other one?” Perhaps it’s just me. I think about these deep unknowns.
Shoes have always symbolized significance to me. As is said, “You can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear.” Are the shoes flamboyant or practical? Old and worn or shiny and painful? Label-brand or no-name? Does the person prefer flip-flops or boots? Heels or running shoes? Flashy accessory or just a way to protect the foot?
As most women, I possess an ungodly number of shoes. My husband doesn’t understand this slightly crazy fetish to keep so much footwear. After all, I only own two feet and can only decorate those two feet with two shoes at a time. Aaron asserts–practically so–that people need shoes for work, shoes for play, and shoes for church. I don’t disagree, and yet, I can’t seem to part with the superfluous pairs. They all have a unique personality and suit a mood or desired effect.
Then and Now:
When I was a teenager, I loved wearing chunky heels. At five feet, ten inches, my footwear wasn’t even slightly sensible, but they made me feel both lovely and powerful, so I wore them. After three children and numerous spinal issues, my shoes are more down-to-earth–literally. I choose shoes more for comfort, but I don’t sacrifice style either. One of my favorite pairs of shoes is a velvety mauve sneaker clog with ribbon laces. I love ’em because, first, I paid next to nothing for them. Thank you, Payless Clearance! And two, I’ve never seen anything like them. Now, naturally, someone somewhere owns another pair, but they aren’t common. They are subtle and fun but pragmatic and comfortable, and in my mind, solely me. I used buy only shoes of black, brown, or white varieties, but now I have a pair of bright blue sneakers and a pair of orange loafers.
Blend in or Stand Out?
Some approach clothes or shoes as just a necessary evil to a fallen world. Some people take the concept of fashion too far and feel less of themselves if they can’t wear certain pieces or labels.
I just want to be comfortable and unique and be special without standing out too much. That it’s okay–good even–to just be me.
“When I see [my Chucks] in my closet, I remember that I want to live with both feet firmly planted on this gorgeous green earth, that I want to be right here and right now, that I am loved and known and that I don’t have to hustle or perform. They have become the shoes I wear when I want to feel truly grounded: low-key, low-drama, my plain old self. They’re like the jeans you’e had forever, the college sweatshirt you can’t throw away, the baseball ca that outlasted the boyfriend and has now become part of your own story, part of who you are” (Present over Perfect, Shauna Niequist).
For me, what I wear has become more about me being me and being okay with that, rather than me trying to be something other. I don’t have to wear the latest fad or buy an expensive label to feel confident.
Don’t be afraid of standing in your own two unique shoes; respect yourself and who God designed you to be. And be secure enough to encourage the differences in others as well.
***I also have a college sweatshirt that is going on 22 years old, but that piece has its own story, for another time perhaps.