Subscribe to PostsSubscribe to Comments

Yemisi says…A mile in my shoes!

For those of you who don’t already know, I love shoes…

Ever since I was a little child they have fascinated me. I love them with or without heels, with bows and buckles and sparkle and shine, and every colour of the rainbow – and even some that aren’t. I love the smell of new leather, the architecture of an unusual pair and the comfort of a well worn, old and trusty pair.

Sometimes a beautiful pair of shoes I want really, really, really! badly won’t fit, and I leave the store sad and dejected. Just like in Life, we may want something really, really, really! badly, and it may look great, but just may not fit where we are right now.

Occasionally, I will refuse to let them go, and buy them a size too small and spend my time mincing around uncomfortably, fitting a hexagonal peg into a round hole. Much like we find ourselves in places we ought not to be because we were hasty and couldn’t wait for the right opportunity to come along.

And other times the ones that are in my size are not quite what I want, but I buy them anyway. Sometimes I come to love them, sometimes I don’t, but I always have something to keep my feet out of the dirt. Just like the things that come to us in life may not be exactly what we envisioned – maybe you thought your husband when he finally arrived would be taller or richer; or the job, after waiting so long would be more prestigious, pay more, or wouldn’t eat up all your time. But hey, sometimes you come to appreciate what you thought you didn’t want. And maybe sometimes you don’t, but at least you are not left with nothing at all…

I have bought some beautiful shoes! Crafted with absolute precision, made from the finest materials, cost an arm, a leg, a kidney and a pancreas, but HURT LIKE CRAZY!!! You step out in them and everyone “ooohs” and “ahhhhs”, (apart from those throwing eye-daggers of envy at you that would kill you within 50 paces if they were real). Music stops playing, and cars screech to a halt when you show up in them, but wearing them for more than ten minutes can leave your “little piggies” screaming for release. (if only toes could talk…)

Similarly, other people’s lives may look beautiful, perfect and pristine, but only if you walk a mile in their shoes would you understand the pain, hardship and misery they truly endure while projecting to the outside world that “Life is good.”

Now my shoes have to earn their keep. I love to walk, so they have to be strong and last a long time. Nigerian roads are not known for being uniformly smooth and well paved, so my shoes have to endure sticks, stones, pebbles, rocks, potholes, puddles, roadkill, human, animal and mineral “substances,” et al. Sometimes I lose a heel, sometimes the glue comes unstuck, and sometimes I fall into a puddle and spoil the leather (for people who are well acquainted with my clumsiness, this happens more often than you’d think…), but a trip to the shoe maker to fix the heel, re stick the glue and reinforce the leather can be all it takes for the shoe to have a new lease on life…

We too have to endure the valleys, obstructions, distractions and rainstorms of life. Circumstances and people will test the limits of our endurance every single day. But we must be able to take a beating, and somehow find the strength to keep going and last as long as it takes for things to change…

And as much as I love new shoes, I also love my comfy, well worn, tatty shoes. The ones I’ve had for three hundred years and my face pushes me to wear sometimes because they’re literally falling apart. Stitching has come undone, they’ve changed colour and the soles have become diagonal or the heel caps have come off completely so I sound like a tap dancer every time I walk across the room. And yet, I find it hard to chuck them out, clear out the clutter, to let them go, to consign them to the cemetery of shoes…

Just like in life, there are things; physical, psychological and ideological, as well as people, that no longer “fit” in our lives. Yet we cling to them so tightly, refusing to move forward, refusing to let go, because they are comfortable, instead of cleaning out the junk, and allowing ourselves to attract the right things and the right people….

And you thought they were just shoes….

About Yemisi Sawyerr