Sunday Scribblings- My Shoes
My shoes~current faves Rocket Dog canvas mary janes with cherries and rhinestone skull.
I am not a great collector of shoes these days. I know they can be beautiful works of art and that they can “make an outfit”. In days gone by I was much more conscious of my shoes. I wouldn’t wear an outfit if I didn’t have the right shoe to complete it, and would willlingly aquire blisters for beauty. Don’t get me wrong, I am still all girl and recognize the beauty of a Jimmy Choo or a Manolo but for many years now my focus has shifted elsewhere.
I went to the tropics for a marine biology course when I was in college. It was my first experience with poverty. I remember the children from the near by village running around with no shoes. I remember looking at the thick skin on their feet, built up to protect them as they ran through the mangrove forests, the hot city streets and mountain trails. Some were lucky and had shoes. They would wear the same pair for years and cutting the toes off when their feet out grew them to wear them like an open toed sandal. I would look at these children and think of my over stuffed suitcases.
I had packed for every eventuality. I had dresses with matching shoes for clubs, trainers for hikes, flip-flops for the beach and many other assorted outfits designed for various activities. It suddenly seemed strange to place so much importance whether or not I looked perfect, on if I had the right shoe.
Growing up in an upper middle class suburb of Northern California, poverty was not something I had any direct experience with. I grew up in a land of nice family homes with kids who had new school clothes every year. I knew it was out there, it just didn’t really have a root in my awareness.
Like most girls, my closet plays host to several different types of shoes. My dress shoes, my versatile tall boots, my trusty Uggs (that are now 11 years old!), my converse that I wear almost daily and my trusty running shoes that I hope will keep me from any more stress fractures. Since that first trip, my shoes have taken me on many travels. Trips to Central and South America, Europe and soon they will come with me to live in Africa. I am grateful that I have had the luxury of so many pairs of shoes. Shoe choices. Life choices.
In thinking about this Sunday Scribbling topic and all the many ways I could go with it…I kept coming back to that first life-altering trip. To the memory of those kids and their sweet spirits and bare feet. To the knowledge that meeting them had altered me in a very meaningful and profound way. I left all of my shoes save one pair to get me home with the children of the village. I also left them all my paper, colored pencils and my gratitude for teaching me so much.
I think I took away more than I left behind.