Getting Grounded In Life: A Tale of Two Shoes

Shoes in my life: The Before and The After

So this weekend I took an interesting—perhaps even bold—step toward whatever it is that might be coming next: I divested myself of a rather large quantity of my former-life fancy-girl clothes and shoes. As I went through my closets and pulled out the dresses that I knew I wouldn’t wear again in two years (too fancy, too small, just for TV appearances, bought for an event and wore once, never really fit me perfectly anyway, etc.), and laid them on my bed, I was struck by how much pleasure they’d given me. It even pleased me now to pull them all out and stare at them, such gorgeous fabrics and prints and sequins (yep, sequins, and not a small amount). I wish I’d had the foresight to snap a little photo of them to show you.

Then I opened up my second closet (I know, I deserve an eye roll here, go ahead) and slowly, painfully sorted through my collection of very high, very fancy heels. The kind of shoes I used to dream I’d be able to buy when I was a little girl, all stacked neatly in their fine, high-quality boxes. I pulled each box down and opened them up, recalling exactly when I bought them, what outfits I wore the shoes with, and imagined parting with them. I’m proud to say that seven pair of truly fantastic and little-worn shoes made it to an amazing little designer consignment shop in my neighborhood. (If you’re a size 10, head on over to the store, m.a.e.,  ASAP; there are deals to be had!) The chili-pepper red Jimmy Choo slingbacks. An unworn pair of leopard D’Orsay evening shoes with crystal accents. (I ended up going with a closed-toe gold Valentino cone-heel that night instead.) Antonio Berardi six-inch high brown-and-green strappy platform sandals. Sky-high black jet-beaded Giuseppe Zanotti stiletto sandals (which were never comfortable, frankly).

But I did keep some shoes for myself, of course. Most decidedly so: the python Prada sandals pictured above. (Love beyond! Look great with anything! Very walkable!) The yellow Jimmy Choo gladiators with 4.5 inch heels. (So good with my blue satin dress, which I’ve kept.) And the gold cone-heel shoes, which I can run for my life in, even though they come in at 4 inches tall. Turns out they aren’t very practical! I think it’s fantastic that I had a job where they were considered practical. I can absolutely walk to the subway in them, and walk out of the subway and get to work and then take taxis and black cars to all my events and take a taxi home. What I can’t do in them, apparently, is be a part-time writer and part-time mother, pound the pavement looking for a job (lots of blisters and they slow me down), and gather up the day’s groceries in preparation for making dinner for my son, my boyfriend and me.

But that’s the life I’m living now: a life of Park Slope Mommy bright purple Birkenstock sandals, Haviana flip-flops, Toms sneakers and a great new pair of affordable sandals from Aerosoles (I think they were $18). Yes, I’ve found some comfortable shoes (even the orange J. Crew heels shown above are made for a full day on the feet) to help me get comfortable in my new life of not-quite-next, neither-here-nor-there. It might be a long road before I arrive at my next destination, so it’s a good thing these new additions are made for walking.

About stacy

I am a writer, author, mother, former magazine editor (last at Redbook), optimist, and, above all, a searcher. I'm still searching for whom I'm really meant to be, after a series of very jarring losses: a divorce and house disaster that led to a book (Falling Apart In One Piece); a week after the book came out, my parents suddenly fell gravely ill, I resigned from my job (and, apparently, my career), my son went into crisis, my parents then rapidly died four weeks apart, and my boyfriend (who had moved in with me and my son just weeks before the book came out) began the painful journey of realizing we couldn't make our relationship work (that story unfolded on this blog). Since then I've been trying to figure out what's next. Or, in other words, how to fill in the blanks.
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8 Responses to Getting Grounded In Life: A Tale of Two Shoes

  1. Ok, I’m back. Really, we have led somewhat parallel lives. I had a similar divestment phase about eight years ago when I left even the part time part of TH. I still have two pairs of Manolos that have survived a few subsequent purges just to remind me of who I used to be, and of the folly and pleasure of what I once considered necessary.

    We won’t talk about whether or not I can still walk in them.

    xo, Jill

  2. Heather says:

    Great post! I love how the closet defines your life in the moment.

    As an aside, if you are looking for comfy heels. I love Jambu and J-41 heels. Kind of like sporty clogs with a wedge heel. I can walk, run, even do tree pose in them, but they still look very nice. DSW and Macy’s carry them I think.

  3. I wear a size 10 shoe, but alas I think I’d only stare at the fancy shoes on my bed, too. Sigh…

  4. Loukia says:

    That before and after picture pretty much defines me as well. I live in flats now that I have children. I am really not one of those moms who can wear high heels all day long.

  5. maddie says:

    I’ve been going through your site and even read some on your other site too. I just wanted to reach out and give you a hug.

    You did the right thing by cleaning out your closet. That stuff was nothing more than a reminder. I once sold everything I owned. House, car, furniture, everything. I had no more than a carry-on suitcase with just clothes.

    As things went out the door, I realized that all that stuff didn’t make me happy. I didn’t pick them. They picked me. I would see a picture and be sad. I had some furniture from a previous life that was too much trouble to replace. I had dishes that were a constant reminder from my grandmother. Most of the stuff I had made me feel guilty, wistful, and sad. Some of the stuff made me happy too. But not much.

    I’ve picked up new stuff since then but it’s stuff that I picked. I used to have a pretty decent job in tech and I quit that. I don’t have as nice a lifestyle as I used to but I’m happy. I think the shrink is wrong. There’s nothing wrong with cntrl+alt+delete and starting over.

    You won’t look for a new job that will make you miserable so you might as well go ahead and start working towards what you want to do. It’s a first step. By doing what you want to do, you can be yourself. Who knows, you may even be good at it.

    • stacy says:

      Thank you, thank you. It’s so nice to meet people who have been here already. : )

      • maddie says:

        That house you want, rent one just like it and buy yourself some time. Success in life isn’t about status or how other people rate you on the social scale. It’s about how happy and satisfied you are at the end.

        I had a complete meltdown with the work I was doing before. I would cry every day in the shower while getting ready for work. I came to hate my work that I used to love. The idea of finding a job in that field filled me with so much dread, I was afraid to send out resumes. I didn’t want to be given an offer. I had offers from friends’ companies that I would find one reason after another not to take.

        I thought there was something wrong with me. I thought that I was going completely out of my mind because I kept turning down high paying jobs for something I was really good at.

        I took off backpacking and went to ‘find myself’ out there. I thought somehow, I could come back to that life refreshed and happy to do it again. I was wrong. That life had become wrong for me. I even tried to think up jobs that I had the current skills for and got depressed about it. So I did cntrl+alt+delete.

        I got the skills for the job that I did want to do. It doesn’t pay very well in the monetary sense but I don’t cry in the shower either.

        It’s not to say that life still doesn’t send you curve balls. My twins were born 2 months early. I was warned how there might be problems developmentally with them.

        One of my twins is special too. She’s two and a half and has never said a word. She loves her books and finds dark corners to play with toys that have flashing lights. Yeah, I know. The big ‘A’ and sometimes I worry how to help her.

        None of that matters though. I know she loves me and she knows I love her. When she gives me one of her rare smiles, I want to shout for joy. Some day, she will call me mama. She will say ‘I love you’ back. I’m looking forward to that day.

        • stacy says:

          Maddie, an amazing story. Thank you for sharing it. It’s so hard in life to pull ourselves away from what we think is “safe” even when it makes us crazy…. And as for our kids, they are teaching us that love counts more than success. Because it does! Here’s to the day you and your daughter can exchange that, even if it’s not in words. xx

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