I nearly didn’t write today. My thoughts are feeling rusty, disjointed, muddled even. I am tired and that temptation not to write with the excuse that nothing will make much sense anyway, was nearly enough. However, I vowed to myself that this year I would write weekly, not matter what, and I am holding onto that with a fierce grip. Writing these weekly posts has made me think much more intensely about my week - for the first time in forever I am writing regularly, no mean feat I tell you! So I apologise if my thoughts today are not crystal clear but I need to press the publish button before I change my mind!
So my topic this week is shoes and the feet within them. I’ve never really given much thought to my feet before, in fact I confess to having quite a phobia. I cover them whenever I can, even in the summer months no sandal will cross my path. My perspective has however shifted significantly over the last couple of days, as I have been reading yet another juicy chapter of Women Who Run With Wolves. The chapter that got me thinking is based on the story Red Shoes, a tale showing in no uncertain terms what happens when you ignore the warning signs; when a true creative life is repressed and then, as it hasn’t any outlet, turns into mania, obsession and pain. The girl in the story is fine whilst she has her own hand made red shoes, they express who she is, she is proud of making them, they make her unique. They reflect her creative soul and she is alive in them. However, then she is taken in by an older woman, who wants to help a poor orphan, but who in the process represses her by not allowing those much treasured red shoes. This all leads to the girl sneaking a pair of coveted red shoes into her world, but they are not connected to her, she hasn’t made them, they are merely an attempt at compensation for what she cannot really have and this in turn causes a lot of trouble. She tries to stay away but those sparkling, glowing material world shoes take over her mind and she is cursed to dance in them for eternity.
Whilst the story is a powerful warning, it is also a celebration of those handmade red shoes; creativity, soul, spirit, roots. For feet are our roots.Those first red shoes are an amazing expression of a creative wild woman and to be treasured immensely.
“Shoes can tell something about what we are like, sometimes even who we are aspiring to be, the persona we are trying out.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
The connection then for me is that for a long time shoes have been a means for covering my feet up. One of the many means of hiding what I do not like about myself. But I’ve sat there examining my footwear with fresh eyes today, my attention drawn to the flowery plimsolls, the funky energetic baseball boots, the worked leather of my healed boots, that are slowly but surely taking over the plain black shoes, the dreary, soulless trainers- the more I grow into my own truth, the stronger my shoes seem to resemble who I am deep inside. I see a bolder, more vibrant, sparkling, soulful me in these shoes, and those are the roots I want to take hold. The proof is in my feet! Estes also writes about the meaning of feet as symbols of mobility and freedom, with shoes protecting and defending these wonders and allowing them to be. Maybe I need to take a closer look at those feet of mine. I think it is wonderful to see my shoes as purposeful protectors instead of vessels for hiding. Yet another step towards valuing myself, both the good bits and the bad.
After much inner dialogue I have managed to take a photo of my foot,
a starting point if ever there was one.
Still on the feet theme, Estes also writes of leaving footprints. i.e. doing something to connect with the wild woman within. Doing something you love and making it matter means that you will leave your own remarkable stamp on your world. It doesn’t always have to be vastly life changing, nor on a grand scale, but it does have to connect with the soul. I know very well that in order to make my own footprints I must continue to embrace my creative red shoes, stepping forward in them with life and purpose. I love the idea of leaving creative footprints, it is a gentle way of reminding myself that I matter; my world may be a small one but it is lovely to think that I am sharing myself within this world.
I know for certain that I shall be looking at other peoples' shoes over the next few days. What do your feet say about you?
I just had to include this quick shot of Charlie's paws,
which make the most gorgeous set of footprints.