If the shoe fits…shine it!

As individuals, we all have some small way that we dress or accessorize so regularly that it becomes a part of our identity. My husband, for example, never goes without an undershirt, even when he’s wearing just a basic tee shirt. I’ve come to lovingly refer to it as his “shell”. Similarly, I’m known for my brightly-colored sneakers. I started wearing them to liven up my mandatory uniform of dark scrubs. My collection grew as I noticed the favorable reaction of the patients I encounter on a daily basis. I work with chronic pain patients, and nearly every one of them starts a conversation about my choice of footwear. Somewhere along the line, I realized that if by being known for wearing crazy shoes, I am able to take their minds off of their pain, even if for just moments at a time, perhaps I’m bringing something good to their day. And so I’ve embraced that identity, and with it, I’ve grown my collection of eclectic footwear (often to my husband’s dismay)!

More recently, though, a seed was planted into my mind. Some recent life-changing and enlightening experiences as they pertain to friendship have grown that seed into a fun little revelation that I’m now ready to share. From the depths of my ever-churning brain, I present to you the many ways I believe friendship is like a pair of shoes!

  • In childhood, your caretaker will pick your shoes out for you until you are deemed old enough to choose for yourself. This selection will be based on their potential for comfort, durability, and overall good fit for your lifestyle. With this guidance, you may be lucky enough to find a few early on that you continue to invest in through the years, without fail, because they are tried and true. You may also “stick it to the man” and end up with a pair of combat boots that, while people just don’t understand, stick with you season after season. You may accumulate a plethora, each one fantastic in a different way. You may also prefer to go barefoot at some stage in your life.
  • You will try on a LOT of different shoes until you find the perfect fit. Some will fit “okay”, but will never leave you feeling just right. Then, there will be shoes that you want so desperately to fit, but they will leave you blistered and sore. The time will come when you finally realize you have to stop forcing what just isn’t a good fit for you.
  • It doesn’t matter who you are, how successful you’ve become, or how much money you’ve got in the bank to go shopping- not even the fanciest, most top-of-the-line shoe is necessarily right for your fit and lifestyle.
  • Are you familiar with the saying about “a reason, a season, or a lifetime”?  Some shoes are appropriate for certain occasions. It’s okay to enjoy them, but wear them sparingly. Moreover, don’t expect them to remain practical once the occasion has come and gone.
  • Other people will wear and love the same shoes that you wear and love, and you have to understand that that’s okay. If they are truly the best fit for you, someone else loving them as well doesn’t make them any less perfect for you. Besides, you can’t wear the same shoes day in and day out. It’s just not healthy for your feet. They need to breathe.
  • On the flip side, sometimes you will loan a pair of shoes to someone, and when you get them back (if you get them back, because sometimes you won’t), they’re just not the same. Maybe there’s a hole somewhere that wasn’t there before. Maybe they’re stretched out into the shape of another foot, and just don’t seem to form back to your feet the way they once did. Say goodbye with grace, my friend. They just weren’t the perfect shoe you always thought they were.
  • Should you have children, you might find that the shoes that seemed so perfect before may make your feet feel cramped and uncomfortable. They just aren’t practical. They’re still ready for you to drop everything and head to the club, and you’re over here like “where are my flip flops? I can’t even bend over and tie sneakers with this screaming baby pulling my hair!” Don’t write those shoes off just yet. Though it doesn’t feel like it, those days of being constantly needed will pass, or at least become less frequent. I have a feeling you will squeeze into those shoes for more than a few more good nights once all the chaos dies down!
  • New shoes always seem shiny, bright, and exciting. However, the stains and frays from the journey become more telling than the out of the box condition.
  • You will always have one or two pair of shoes that feel just right, no matter what the occasion, or how long it has been since you have worn them.
  • Your choice of shoes is a direct reflection of you, and one that people will notice. Be proud of your choice, and all that went into making it.MY LAST TWO THOUGHTS ON THIS MATTER ARE MY MOST PROFOUND!
  • If you don’t take care of your shoes, they will not take care of you. If you treat them like they are cheap and expendable, their lifespan will be short.
  • Most importantly, all shoes aside, you really have to take care of the feet wearing them. After all, they are irreplaceable.

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