As individuals, we all have some small way that we dress or accessorize so regularly that it becomes a part of our identity. My husband, for example, never goes without an undershirt, even when he's wearing just a basic tee shirt. I've come to lovingly refer to it as his "shell". Similarly, I'm known for my brightly-colored sneakers. I started wearing them to liven up my mandatory uniform of dark scrubs. Almost immediately, I noticed a favorable reaction from the patients I encounter on a daily basis. I work with chronic pain patients, and nearly every one of them starts a conversation about my shoes. I began to see that wearing over-the-top footwear affords these patients a moment or two to take their mind off of their pain. Perhaps in doing so, I'm bringing something good to their day. I've embraced this part of my identity, and with it, I've grown my collection of eclectic footwear (often to my husband's dismay)
Photo Courtesty of Angela Ashton Smith
Some recent life-changing and enlightening experiences in friendship have developed into a fun little revelation, to which I would imagine many can relate. The following are examples of the many ways I believe friendship is like a pair of shoes.
You will try on a lot of different shoes until you find the perfect fit. Some will be good enough in small doses, but will never leave you feeling just right. You will, at some point, invest in shoes that you want so desperately to fit, only to find that they leave you blistered and sore. The time will come when you begrudgingly realize you have to stop forcing what just isn't a good fit for you.
It doesn't matter who you are, how successful you've become, or how much money you've got in the bank to go shopping- not even the fanciest, most top-of-the-line shoe is necessarily right for you or your lifestyle.
Are you familiar with the saying about "a reason, a season, or a lifetime"? Considering this will help you see that some shoes are appropriate only for specific occasions. It's okay to enjoy them, but wear them sparingly. Moreover, don't expect them to remain practical once the occasion has come and gone.
Other people will wear and love the very shoes that you wear and love, and you have to understand that this is okay. If they are truly a good fit, someone else loving them as well doesn't make them any less perfect for you. Besides, you can't wear the same shoes day in and day out. It's just not healthy for your feet. They need to breathe.
At some point, you will lend your favorite shoes to someone. When you get them back (if you get them back, because it's possible you won't), it will become painfully clear that they are just not the same. Maybe there's a hole somewhere that wasn't there before. Maybe they're stretched out into the shape of another foot. Say goodbye with grace, my friend. They just weren't the perfect shoe you believed them to be.
Should you have children, you might discover that shoes which fit so perfectly before now make your feet feel cramped and uncomfortable. They just aren't practical. They're still enticing, beckoning you to drop everything and head out for a wild night with the girls! ,In reality, your current situation rarely calls for anything fancier than flip-flops. You can't even bend over and tie sneakers without a screaming baby pulling your hair! Don't write those shoes off just yet. It may not feel like it, but those days of being constantly needed will pass, or at least become less frequent. I have a feeling you will slip back into those shoes more than a few times once all the chaos dies down.
New shoes always seem bright and exciting. However, the stains and frays from the journey become more telling than the out-of-the box condition.
You will always have one or two pair of shoes that feel just right, no matter what the occasion, or how long it has been since you have worn them.
Your choice of shoes is a direct reflection of you, and one that people will notice. Be proud of your choice, and all that went into making it.
If you don't take care of your shoes, they will not take care of you. If you treat them like they are cheap and expendable, their lifespan will be short.
More important than any pair of shoes is making it a priority to take care of the feet wearing them. After all, they are irreplaceable.
- In childhood, your caretaker will select your shoes for you until you are deemed old enough to make your own choices. This selection will be based on the potential for comfort, durability, and overall good fit for your lifestyle. With this guidance, you may find a particular kind of shoe that you continue to invest in through the years, even when you have the power to choose for yourself, because they are tried and true. To the contrary, you may use your newfound independence to "stick it to the man". Perhaps you will end up with a pair of combat boots that, while many in your circle just don't understand, stick with you season after season. You may accumulate a plethora of shoes, each one fantastic in a different way. Then, for a period of your life, you may just prefer to go barefoot.
Follow Angela's personal blog Driving The Struggle Bus
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