- - October 22, 2019 -

The Donning of the Glass Slipper

When I was 9 years old, we were poor. And then I turned 10 years old. We were still poor.

Thankfully my parents knew the power of a cool shoe, so I treaded my first day of late 70s school in a pair of highly coveted suede North Stars with the classic double stripe. I remember holding both feet in the air out from my little school desk thinking how it is possible that one could look so awesome in a pair of shoes.

Walk a mile in my shoes, people say.

You would have had to pry those North Stars from my cold dead feet before I’d have let you walk a mile in my new cool shoes.

I’ve been reading through the bios of these Inspire women. They don’t really talk about shoes. Undoubtedly some have closets full, fetishes of fashion that match garments on a revolving trend as quickly as Vogue and Cosmo and Nike can spew out the latest must-haves. But I’m talking about the other shoes.

The big shoes that they fill. The quiet shoes they walk in. The work boots on factory floors at 3am. The pacing slippers on the oncology floor. The practical shoe that walked the stage for a bow and a curtsy. The one bare foot that tiptoes past chaos while it waits for the other shoe to drop.

Walk a mile in my shoes, people say.

The boots of our nominated firefighters, women who aim their boots toward the flames.

The high heels of the administrators, retrofitting their bunions into office appropriate attire to engage in the warfare of paper – policy changers, charity organizers, CEOs, presidents, writers, accountants.

The steel toed work boots of the women who defy gravity, defy tradition, defy stereotypes.

The glittery sneakers of the young women, the little ones who too, hold their new shoes out from school desks and imagine themselves running companies, running countries, running marathons, but most importantly – just running with their imagination.

I walked a mile in someone’s shoes once. A mile in one night.

I spent an evening dumpster diving for food with a friend who insisted that until I wore those shoes, I would never understand her.

Those shoes were uncomfortable.

Those shoes made me squirm.

Those shoes were embarrassing to wear. Those shoes pinched my feet, my heart, my intentions my perspective. Those shoes made me second guess the date of my last Tetanus shot.

We made a meal that evening from recycled food. We left our shoes at the door, equally barefoot on a kitchen floor that was grateful for the warmth of our skin to its touch and oblivious to the mile we had walked. We had a fresh colourful bouquet as our centerpiece, recycled from the garbage bin behind a flower shop. Gladiolas. They were happy for their rebirth. I was happy for my rebirth. I understood her.

It was the best meal of my life.

I wear Chucks today. I have many different colours. I have a pair with Superman on them. I still hold my feet out from my desk and think how is it that one person can look so amazing in a pair of shoes.

Check your shoe size.

I believe you will find that we all fit that glass slipper.