Thursday, March 16, 2017

Shoeships and Friendships: What a pair!

There's nothing better than coming home to find a box waiting for you on your front stoop. Even better, when it contains several pairs of shoes. Many women I've come to know have an affinity for both shoes and pocketbooks. Madison Ave advertising, along with Hollywood, perpetuate this adoration even more as actresses strut the famous name brands at the posh events and even incorporate the products into some story lines. Remember Carrie from Sex and the City and her obsession with all her Jimmy Choos; I mean, even his name rhymes with shoes.  Still, even though most women have a penchant for both, there is a divide between shoe and pocketbook  lovers over which of the two they are more consumed by. I agree the right pocketbook can complete an outfit and store all our little goodies inside. But, for me, shoes are the foundation of a complete look and, hence, more of my passion, especially boots. My favorite boots hug my calves, snuggle my toes with warmth and, as many people have shared, cause me to walk with a bounce--sort of like, "Tigger" from Winnie the Pooh. 

I was elated when my husband recently surprised me with a pair of unique boots I had strategically pointed out to him online awhile back: black leather with an added textured overlay design. But, when I tried them on, the luster and fit didn't feel right, so it was a definite disappointment; I exchanged them for what was now waiting inside the box for me to unveil.  With a new season coming in, I wanted to change things up. I came upon these finds after several weeks of online perusing. I was thrilled to exchange the one pair of boots, for three pairs of shoes:: one blush pink, bejeweled sandal, a brown leather pump and a pair of denim flats. I typically don't like flats as I'm only 5ft 4 and prefer to add a little height.

With the enthusiasm of a child at Christmas, I ripped open my package, while carefully handling each of the smaller shoe boxes contained within. The first box was sure to be my favorite as I desperately want a pair of pink, yup, my favorite color, shoes for the summer; it's rare to find the delicate tone I love. However, the color of the sandal was more beige than pink.  A huge--as Trump would say--- disappointment. Next, onto the rich, coffee brown pumps ordered to compliment my business slacks. Great color, but too big; when I walked the shoe moved up and down, rubbing against my heel. A sure-fire recipe for a nasty blister. Feeling regret, I hesitantly opened my final conquest to meet the denim flats. 

"Hmmm, they look pretty good," I thought. "Ahhhh, they feel divine," as I slid my foot into the cushioned insole--and, much to my surprise, the shoes look delicate and lovely. They even have a slight heel. Definitely not my typical style,  yet even the color matches lots of the casual summer wear I have.  Plus, my husband is always advising me to wear comfortable shoes when we go into NYC.  So the denim flats didn't fall "flat" after all. What a nice surprise! " 

This incident got me thinking about shoes and their similarities to the people we meet in our lives and some of the surprises we find. Occasionally, we're lucky enough to  meet individuals and--like shoes--we fit. We walk in stride, we complement each other, like shoes to an outfit. We support and help each other stand tall and simply being with them seems like an effortless stroll in the park. And when bumps in the road come, we lean on each other. When we reach mountaintops, we soar to celebrate the other's accomplishment to savor the joy. These are the people who are the keepers: the loves of our lives, our family and  best friends....the shoes we find new outfits to match with, so they never go out of style; they are timeless. We're just head over heels about them!

In contrast, we have those shoes, like so called "friends," who wear us down with negativity, or expect so much support and give so little or none in return. After awhile of hearing excuses for why they haven't surfaced, it may be time to move in a new direction. If someone is important, a friend makes it her business to connect.  

There are also the seasonal pals, like shoes, who one sees during special occasions or a sport's season, or when they or their children need a favor.  A few cronies, who like the shoes in the window or online, appear one way, but once we try them on, they're phonies. Maybe their pretense of friendship is opportunistic, and they see us as a way to get what they want for themselves or their kids. They may even bestow gifts and generous offerings which are hard to resist...until, well, their need of our goodwill ends as does their presence and presents.

And last, but most regrettable there are the few plastic people,  who run us down  and become the real "heels" in our lives. They go out of their way to squeeze our toes to hurt and betray us like the synthetic, faux leather and imitation shoes who can't compete with the real ones they are jealous of. They are fake, and like the "knock-off" imposters, often fall short as their cheap material doesn't bend  to lend support. It's only a matter of time before their lack of craftsmanship shines through and they get the boot.  Step aside and onto shoes with higher integrity.  It's time to find room for all the people, like shoes,  who will surprise us.

As I clear out my closets this Spring, I'm mindful that my shoes, like friends, serve a purpose: Some represent many of my life's experiences such as the few stiletto heels of yesteryears I've saved; I can't believe I could even walk in them, much less dance--which is what I did many an amazing night with people I'm still friends with!  I've  kept  some of the ornate heels to wear for special celebrations, I wear them infrequently, which is how often I see some acquaintances in my life. I don't count on either for much support, but enjoy celebrating with them occasionally. I've swapped many of the sneakers and clogs I wore down chasing my kids when they were toddlers with a few pairs of my favorite walking shoes, some new wedges, along with a few reasonably stacked  heels for business and outings.  Of course, there are the sandals for Spring and Summer that come with the added upkeep of a nice pedicure. 

In my shoe stash, I have some surprise finds I've stumbled upon when I wasn't looking. It's often those times, such as discovering the denim flats on my doorstep, that have added the most joy to my wardrobe. When others have commented, "Oh, I never saw you in that style, but I like it," I'm confident that I am the only person who knows which style is for me, and whether or not my shoe, and my friends, are a fit. Similarly, those comments have been made regarding relationships I've had: "Oh, I don't see you with that guy," or "She's doesn't seem like your type of friend." Well, then look a little bit closer. The exterior of the shoe or person may be basic and lovely. But nothing compared to what lies on its inside. And a person's interior--as that of footwear-- is often more important to me. 

 The seemingly monotone, basic black exterior of the boot below is an example as to the beauty of what lies within: an intricate, ruby red (& blue) intertwining interior pattern--reminding me I have the power inside, just as Dorothy did, if I just believe in myself. Yes, true friends do make us feel this way! 

I relish venturing forward strutting my boots this season. Like family, they  are close to reach, helping me  stand tall. My sister friends are my  soul mates, as my  favorite boots are my "solemates." Even when I don't wear them for awhile, I know they are there, and I can count on them for support. Yes, a few wedges may come between us, but we move forward and pump each other up during good and bad hair days.

Because the best part of being  passionate about shoes is, they come in pairs; and, like friends, we meander through life in tandem.