It’s no secret: I love shoes! In theory I may not work for shoes, but it sure feels like it every time I see a pair that I like. I adore my collection of shoes, so this shirt is very appropriate for me. When I first put together this outfit, it reminded me of a piece that I wrote many years ago about shoes. I spent the last few days on a mission to find it and finally a few days ago I found it on my first blog.
This story is very special to me and I’m excited to share it with you today!
The Relationship between a Woman and Her Shoes
When a woman struts by you at the mall, have you ever stopped to think where her floral print pumps have taken her? How about the Nike running shoes that runners wear to the park? Where else have they sprinted to together?
Thinking about the life of a shoe is fascinating.
Every pair of shoes has been on a journey and they all have a unique story to tell. The sole of a shoe has crossed many paths, just like the soul within us. Their sole may be rigid and filthy from the hardship of life, or smooth and sparkly from a life well lived. I cannot look at a distressed shoe without wondering about its past.
I haven’t always felt such an emotional attachment with shoes. There was a time when shoes were just an accessory in my life; until one day I realized the value of a special pair of shoes, which had soles carved with imperfections from an adventure that changed my life.
The connection started with a pair of black ballet flats that I purchased in New York in May (2008). At the time, they were just a pair of Payless flats, far from a timeless designer piece. I didn’t think much of them. I barely thought twice about them and would never have imagined the stories we share.
While walking on a cold and rainy afternoon in New York City, my feet were begging for the warmth of a proper shoe. As a Floridian I wasn’t expecting a forty five degree breeze in May, so I didn’t see a problem with only packing sandals for my trip. With that being said, I stopped at the first shoe store in sight and bought something to rescue my feet from the frigid temperatures.
The moment I slipped on the first shoe, I felt an instant bond with those ballerina flats. After my toes thawed out for a few minutes, I continued to explore the city in them. Together we saw many things, created several memories, and even walked in unison through Central Park in the spring.
Walking in New York makes me feel completely alive. I can release the person I am inside— uncensored and uncut. I have that freedom because no one knows me, my past, or where I am headed. People only see my external shell; not knowing why lies inside of my mind.
During my outing, I stepped in front of my dream institution, Parson’s, and imagined a career in fashion. My flats were with me in that moment while images of that fantasy flashed in my mind. That day they were with me on the subway, the ferry, and two different bus rides. The flats stood with me for the remainder of the trip taking in all of the vivid experiences of my first solo trip to the Big Apple.
I didn’t wear my new companions on plane; instead they sat next to me in my carry-on bag. During that late night flight back home, they were my confidants while I thought of the changes that were on my horizon. Every moment of that 2.5 hour flight was a day dream. What will the city be like when I move? Where will I live? What will I do? Who will I call a friend?
I was en route to Florida for an uncertain amount of time, which at the time seemed like an eternity. I planned on returning to New York in the following year to finally start the life I was patiently waiting to live. It would be a permanent version of the fragment of life I had just enjoyed in New York for the last ten days.
After landing in my hometown, I was back to the same stale routine. Depression plagued me, but I still encouraged myself to smile and enjoy my time back home. Later that night, I slipped the flats back on and went downtown like I did almost every weekend. I met with my closest friends at a familiar scene, filled with young-adults searching for their way in life one Washington Apple at a time. I drank my usual glass of champagne that night and spilled some bubbly on the flats. I wiped the shoe off and was reminded about one of my ventures in the city just a few days before.
That night was very similar to the slew of evenings on the town that I experienced for the following year. Late nights fueled by indie music, cigarettes, laughter, and a few beers. My lack of experience in life was fun. Everything was a learning experience and nothing ever turned out as I expected. I was in my early 20s; this is what being young is all about. It’s about living in the moment and sharing these experiences, in my case with the same pair of shoes.
Months later here I am. I’m still wearing the same black flats, as matter of fact I’m wearing them today at work. The shoes have gone from mediocre shoes on a budget store shelf; to a cherished belong that’s dear to me. And guess what? In three days they will be making their way back to New York City! This time to turn a dream into a reality as I open the next chapter in my life: my move to New York City.
On that chilly Manhattan day, when I first plucked them out of their box, they never expected the life we have lived together. Or maybe it was the other way around?
Please note: This an essay that I wrote in 2009. I already moved to NYC and returned home to Florida a few years later where I currently reside.