Tag Archives: shoes

Goodbye Old Friends

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It’s been said that it’s only a problem when you think it’s a problem or something like that.  For those who recall Imelda Marcos of the Phillippines, the wife of the 10th president of the country, she also is rumored to have had  more than one thousand pairs of shoes.  That’s a problem.  Her shoes are now part of a museum in Manila.  I say “Good for her!”.  Then I quietly assess my collection of footware and realize that the difference between Imelda and me is only 965-ish pairs of shoes.  So, it is not a matter of acquisition but more a matter of distribution and discarding of things that have been close to me, quite literally.  For a while, I had a policy (probably like IM) that was replace and discard one for one. Get a pair, give a pair.  Then I got busy with other things. Hard to imagine that I ignored my own policy.

Spring cleaning is something I don’t really adhere to since I can’t possibly clean the 13 foot tall windows in the loft.  Fear of high places and all that.  However,  sometimes you have to  recognize that cleaning also means cleaning out. I get up before the dawn breaks and that would be one of my flimiest excuses for not noticing that I had accumulated a significant number of shoes.  In the dark, it never looks like there are so many.  Truth be told, some of them have been sitting patiently waiting to be remembered, like old friends who you lose track of but are happy to see you when you do reach out because they remember the good times.  Yes, a perfect example of personification.  So many of the pairs are no longer viable, i.e.  can’t stand up in them and my toes are crushed and they may have been comfortable at one time, for about ten minutes.  There was an expression I remember hearing from a much older cousin as she yanked my hair in her attempt to style it “One must suffer for beauty”.  I think she was also referring to shoes.  As I disassembled my racks and pockets of shoes to identify potential victims of shoe murders, I put together (as indicated by Exhibit #1 above)  an arrangement of said victims. I was truly shocked to see that having rows of primarily black shoes (heels, slingbacks, boots, flats and the like), made quite an embarrassing array.  I know I am not a centipede nor a fashionista but wow….it is a bit absurd.  So, there are a lot more where those come from, hidden in the recesses of the closet, forgotten.

It is clearly time for letting go, step by step.  First they all were lined up and then they were prioritized by comfort, then season, then age.  Quite a few did not make the cut in any of those categories and they are now placed in an undisclosed location, until they can be moved to a witness type protection program for shoes with memories of things I did.  I can’t have them ratting me out…remember some shoes have tongues.  I may also eliminate some of my FHB’s pairs, since he doesn’t remember anymore than I do about some whose time has passed, and so must they.  They are no longer contributing to my days, collecting dust, losing value.  Last year, or maybe the year before, I evaluated my party shoes (weddings, dressy events) and off they went to prom dress land to accompany some girls to their big day. That actually felt all right.  I am just not a sequin type of woman although the shoes were artforms in their own right.  Moments of nostalgia left to be remembered but no longer in the loft.

I’ve made a shift to include navy shoes in my wardrobe. This is an homage to my mother, who was always making sure my sister and I had good shoes because she had grown up with bad shoes (?) which made her feel ache. She suffered but not for beauty but because of having less choices, resulting in bad feet.  My mother wore a lot of navy and it is less harsh than black (there’s a fashion tip for women of a certain age).  It’s a bit more hopeful.  Our mother wanted to be a fashion designer but as life choices were dealt in her case, she took a more traditional route of wife and mother.  Her wardrobe was practical but  not designed, and more applied.  She had classic beauty as a younger woman and a sparkle in her eyes that belied her inner thoughts.  There were  time when  I would visit her in New York and we would shop for a new pair of shoes for me, courtesy of my mother.

Indulgences, whether shoes, clothing or jewelry feed a need that may be fleeting but important in the moment. Then we move on to practical matters of function or form.  Tomorrow will be the day that the discarded shoes take their last “walk” down  memory lane.  The ones that remain are the ones that are sensible, comfortable and practical.  Feet have to keep me going for many miles to come.  I think Mom would approve.  Problem identified, and solved for the moment.



Thank you…you shouldn’t have

The art of giving is complex.  It is something that is along a continuum of small gestures to grand displays from one sparkler to the 4th of July fireworks over Boston.  As the saying goes that charity begins at home, this also applies to giving of a similar type, the gifts we give to ourselves.  I like flowers, not roses so much, as bunches of wildflowers in summer that I can buy for myself at a roadside stand, outside of someone’s yard,with a self service jar to put the cash and take the change.  Often times I will drive by a few driveways and consider a purchase, until I stop and get a bunch, wrapped in wet paper towels, provided by the gardener and a recycled plastic bag so that they will stay fresh as I head home. They are displayed in a variety of glasses or pitchers or sometimes a vase and bring me joy and comfort.  A few well spent dollars that make me happy.  Sometimes as I am pushing my shopping cart past the florist in the supermarket, I look for something simple that grabs my eye and another bunch of flowers, sometimes irises, if I am splurging, join the deli meat, bread, cat food, and paper towels and leave with me.

Giving to ourselves in some fashion, is feeding our souls.  It is part of self care and recognition that often we ourselves, know ourselves, and our needs (and sometimes our wants) better than anyone.  Sometimes it signifies a sense of accomplishment at the end of the work week. Sometimes it  is because I feel sad and flowers cheer me up.  This is an acquired ability, learned over time, and recognizing that in order to give to others, I needed to know how to give to myself first.  It is sort of the “if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy” way of thinking.  Nothing selfish about paying attention to yourself so that when the going gets tough, you have some emotional reserve, in the form of something good you did for yourself.  Walking is something I give myself, which is  time spent alone, to come up with creative outlets and fodder for writing.  The blog is part of this, that I do for me. I share it because it allows me to interact through comments and connections in a medium that is comfortable and balances out the solitude of writing.

In a moment of retail therapy as it is commonly called, I will try on shoes (my weakness) and think about whether they will make me have happy feet.  Over time I have learned that comfortable feet are happy feet, and if the shoe fits and looks okay,and is comfortable, I will make room for another pair.  I try to ascribe to the buy a pair, give a pair dictate, but sometimes the remembrance of the occasions of the shoe purchase makes it a  little more difficult to say, thank you for your service, time to move along.  I have always been a giver of food, advice and time for others among other things.  I will always be that person and happy to do it, because  this, too,is a feel good thing.  When a bunch of flowers calls out to me, I am listening to my heart.  When some  very appealing shoes appear, I am generally then  having a logical conversation with myself about those needs and wants.  Sometimes logic prevails and other times the box of shoes and bouquet of flowers become a need and I give myself a gift.  It works out.  No looking back and just walking pretty.  Have a good weekend.