Yesterday’s Daily Post prompts us to take our very first blog post and re-write it using all the blogging knowledge we have acquired. I can’t find my very first blog post so I chose the earliest one I could find in my archives — from April 2006. It was originally posted at Mad Hatter Monday, one of the many blogs associated with the Soul Food Cafe and was based on the prompt: “Everyone has owned or known someone with red shoes. Bear witness and tell your story about a memorable pair of red shoes. You might begin with the phrase ‘I had this pair of red shoes…'”
The first thing I notice is how much my original post sounded like a college essay. I even cited references. Over the years, my style has become more casual and chatty and in this re-write I have taken out much of the “scholar-speak” and just let myself use my own voice.
So that being said, here is my revision (even the title is different):
My Red Mary Janes
I have owned only one pair of red shoes, and I still have them even though they are completely worn out. They are like many of my other shoes: simple with no heels. My red shoes are Mary Janes made of corduroy fabric. I hate breaking in new shoes so when I do manage to get a pair broken in, I wear them until they literally fall apart. My red shoes are in that condition now with my baby toes pushing through the sides of the corduroy. They look horrible but I still like to wear them.
Many years ago I knew a woman who was really into shoes. She typically wore fashionable, high-heeled pumps, narrow and pointy at the toes, Italian-made, and very expensive (she would actually tell me how much she spent on them). They always looked uncomfortable and may account for the pained and pinched look that was often on her face.
I have nothing against people who wear uncomfortable and expensive shoes, but this person actually judged the character of others by the shoes they wore (I kid you not!). This woman thought that people who wore flat shoes were poor and unfashionable and were, by her standards, people with whom she had nothing in common. I created a problem for her: she liked me, but I wore flat shoes. To make me fit into her “shoe paradigm”, she rationalized that I could not wear high heels because I was “too tall already” (yes, she actually said those words to me.) Since for her a woman being “too tall” was more objectionable than a woman wearing flats, she tolerated my shoes and continued to keep company with me.
In light of this odd relationship, I am forced to ponder the symbolic relevance of shoes. I am reminded of some classic stories of girls who wore red shoes. Most of us know the popular tale of Dorothy and her ruby-red slippers in the film Wizard of Oz. (They were silver shoes in the book version). Another story, which I want to look at here, is Hans Christian Andersen’s The Red Shoes. In Andersen’s tale, a young girl, whose self-made red shoes are taken from her, disobeys her rich caretaker and wears a different kind of red shoes to church. She is punished for her vanity by being forced to dance in these new red shoes until she repents of her evil ways.
Dr. Estes, the author of the popular book Women Who Run With the Wolves, states that shoes protecting the feet are symbolic of protecting “mobility and freedom” and to wear another’s shoes or a different kind of shoe is detrimental to the individual by forcing her not to be true to her own nature.
In an attempt to respect my past associate’s taste in shoes, I will give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that in her tall shoes she was able to find her authentic self. In my ongoing attempt to be true to my own nature, I say I do not need or want expensive spiky high heels — which for me represent superficiality and destructive habits.
I will keep on walking in my tacky, worn out, red Mary Janes. Thank you very much.
ljgloyd (c) 2012