Wearing the holes in the soles of her shoes

Today was the kind of day where I just couldn’t stand not to be outside.  The sun was shining, but still merciful.  For once, I regretted that I do not live closer to the beach.  At first, I felt the urge to just run – to nowhere in particular – which, for those of you who know me, is a bit unusual.  And so I ran.  I ran for as long as I could – which was halfway around the block.  Then I returned home and collected my purse and decided to walk somewhere, anywhere.  I walked to the library, but couldn’t stay inside for long.  When I left, I had a hard time walking.  My shoes were rubbing my feet raw (they, it would seem, were not made for walking).  I’ve spent a lot of time the past month trying to find the perfect fitting shoes – ones that would keep my feet from aching after a day of walking, and ones that would hold up for more than a couple of months without getting holes in the soles.  But as I stepped out into the fresh winter sunshine, I wondered – why wear shoes at all?  If they hurt, take them off.  And so I did.  I walked the two miles back to my house barefoot.  I thought of the dozens of strange cities and beaches and mountains I’ve walked through over the years.  I walked across hot asphalt and cool concrete and soft, scratchy grass (where I inevitably found a patch of prickers) – the whole while musing over the various song lyrics and old adages about shoes.

They say that to know someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  But sometimes, I wonder if that would really work.  I wonder how many of us forget even to walk in our own shoes.  Our shoes contain us.  They cage and compartmentalize us.  Polished black shoes for working that cushy day job; bright white trainers because we swear we’ll make it to the gym this time; strappy sandals to go with that new sundress that was just made for flirting with strangers – each pair of shoes is only a part of who we are.  No, I decided, to know someone you must walk a mile in their skin.  In their feet.  In your skin.  In your feet.  Why do you think they call it “baring your soul”?  I don’t think it is a coincidence that we speak of both souls and soles being bared.

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