What do your shoes say?
My shoes always told a story. Something huge changed for me and now my shoes tell a different story. A story so personal, and yet so public...
My size 3 feet, and the rest of me, stopped growing in my early teens. 'Funny' 'friends' leaned on me and named me a Public Leaning Post (PLP). Height is a rarely talked about source of discrimination and I spent many years being affected by it but not realising quite how much it impacted on my self esteem. My whole sense of who I was, hung on never being tall enough. I even have a school report that mentioned that "though diminutive, Pamela seems to be a popular member of the class". I asked my Mum what it meant, I still don't really know, except that I'm glad it made no sense.
Compensating, assimilating, hiding
So what do we do, when we are made aware of an aspect of ourselves, that is seen as undesirable?
Whether it's height, skin colour, accent, spectacles, dyslexia, sexuality, gender, body shape, economic status...there's a risk that we take it on as a shameful thing and try to hide, disguise, blend in, joke about it before they do or get into fights.
For many years I wore high heels. Painful, beautiful, centres of attention, my shoes were always a conversation starter. The more important the gig, the more amazing my shoes needed to be. After a number of years, I worked out why I put up with the blisters, the lack of mobility, the ache in the rest of my body from the posture high heels send you into. I stopped saying the shoes made me feel more confident, dressed up, professional, blah blah blah. And instead I came out...
I started admitting what I'd finally realised: my shoes were an attempt to compensate, to borrow the inches I felt I lacked. About 12 months ago I decided to drop the heels and acknowledge all of my 5 feet 1 inches. I've already amassed a fine collection of beautiful, flat, fabulous shoes. Shoes that still spark conversations but that now allow me to bounce about stages and conference rooms. Shoes that make me smile every time I put them on. Shoes that make me feel more me than I have since I was a little girl in my comfy Clarks (thanks Mum).
As the great writer said "Be yourself, everyone else is taken".
When we waste time trying to fit in, we miss out on the time we could be spending being out in the world, being who we were created to be. I'm passionate about encouraging you to really live that aim. Let's crack on with the life we can live - and enjoy - when we stop worrying about how others might see us or judge us. When we stop trying to fit in and instead, see what fits us.
I have nothing against anyone else enjoying their high heels and I may even pop some on myself from time to time. But I know for sure, that when I really want to express my full energy, my message and my joy of life, I'll be needing my feet firmly on the ground with some fabulous flat shoes. Shoes that I can use to bounce higher.
I invite you to be all of your more gorgeous self this week. Be you, you're already amazing!
All my love,
A quick run-down since I wrote last -
Went to 3 parties in 3 days, and was reminded (by my body) that I am actually 52 not 25 😉