"Don't forget no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you can."
-Charles de Lint
When you look at this piece of art, or when you take a moment to stare at this photograph what goes through the mind of your imagination? For some, you look at this photograph of a pair of shoes and think, “Wow these shoes are old, this person needs to buy new shoes, these shoes are dirty, or this person is too broke to buy new ones.”
Well, some of those statements are cruel and can be someone’s reality, but these are all statements from people that I have heard. These shoes are my shoes. This photograph is a plateresque moment of my life that creates a delicate story, but not just a single story, these shoes have been on my feet for the last 5 years. Do you know how long five years truly is? Five years translates to 1827 days, 43830 hours, 2630000 minutes, or even further 15780000
0 seconds. Now do not get me wrong these shoes were not on my feet every second of the day, but I am on my feet 15 hours of the day and I do not have the fortune nor do I want to own multiple, upon multiple pairs of shoes. When you look in my closet you have the Sunday pair of shoes, you have a pair of running shoes, and then you have my working shoes those are all.
These shoes when you look at them are in detail and each part of my stories in the last five years has shaped and changed my mentality beyond words. When I see these shoes it breaks my heart to not be able to wear them anymore (mainly because the rain can now soak my feet).
To say I know where to begin with these shoes would be an understatement. These converses were bought at a consignment shop for brand new at a cheaper price. I wore them through the endless hours of my days, but to give you a brief overview of my journey I will begin with the day after the shoes were brought to my 800-square-foot home. Our journeys started when I didn’t know I was pregnant, these shoes made it through the pregnancy of a 20-year-old who was still in her junior year of college, with a full-time job, a full-time internship to eventually graduation that was right on time. Although do not let the success story of doing just that with my shoes fool you, these shoes have seen the hard times.
Those moments where you hide away from the world because you just need to break down because life just doesn’t seem to be letting up. These shoes have walked the hallways of hospitals when my family was sick, to hold their hands, or to help walk me down the hallway when I went into preterm labor. They have spots from when the blood didn’t stop that scared me to think I had a miscarriage. These shoes in the photograph have helped me in so many ways, that most cannot think of. I do not switch my shoes often, so think of everything you have gone through over the last five years.
These shoes made it to my second pregnancy as well as through my life-changing career that I thought I wanted to fulfill. They walked me up a mountain to go on adventures with my family. They helped me place another foot forward when I didn’t want to as a Social Worker. When I found the situations unbearable to see, to look at another child that didn’t even have shoes to walk her stories. My shoes are busting out of the bottom, these holes remind me of the countless hours I would walk my children to the park, where I walked children out of their homes to try and help them the best I can, or those moments where I came home so broken that I couldn’t help the children. These exact shoes, helped me put another foot in front of the other out of the door frame of the home when all I wanted to do was hold the child that couldn’t speak to me to let me know they were unsafe.
These shoes that you look at to judge someone, you have no idea what those shoes have gone through to create a story with their soulmate. My shoes were a soul mate from the beginning on the rack inside of a consignment shop, I looked at them and said they are meant for me. So before you judge someone's shoes you must stop and ask the question, “ What story are those shoes trying to tell me?” These shoes are not easy to just put up because these shoes and I were destined to be together but most importantly they have been with me through more than most people. So before you judge someone by their shoes, maybe stop and ask yourself what have they gone through, maybe it is just hard for them to part with their soulmate (no pun intended) and story.
We all have that one item that we are attached to, what is yours?
What were your first thoughts when you looked at these shoes (be honest with yourself did you judge the person)?
What does your item tell about you?