A few months ago, I bought a new pair of shoes for travelling. I wasn’t travelling anywhere challenging – my choice of footwear wouldn’t make or break the trip. I needed a new pair of shoes to match my new travelling outfit.
When I travel, I feel the need to dress reasonably respectably; I’ll pack a pair of trackies and a hoodie jumper to change into sometime during the 13/18/22hr flight – they’re my pajamas, that’s my justification. But boarding, disembarking or ‘in-transit’, I need to be dressed in real clothes that tend toward dressy casual.
Don’t misunderstand, no pretenses – I won’t judge you for wearing shorts and thongs (flip-flops in case there was a gross trans-continental mistranslation – I will judge you, harshly, if you turn up at check-in sporting…let’s call it european beach fashion) or a purple velour bedazzled tracksuit with faux tiger fur slippers (I have seen this…seriously.) Wear what makes you comfortable; I do dressy casual because flying makes me feel awful – dressing up a bit counteracts that ‘sucking the life out of me with altitude’ feeling.
So back to the shoes. They’re flat, black, moderately fashionable and made out of a comfortable, soft quasi-plastic material. Great to wash in hot soapy water; durable, good for walking, easy to match with clothes, lightweight…etc, etc, everything is says in the the advertising material or the saleswoman’s pitch. I was very excited and spent a week ‘breaking them in’ because I’m not silly enough to wear untested shoes travelling around. All fine, happy with them, recommended them to others, espoused their virtues to passing strangers…
Upon arriving at my destination (Las Vegas), I could barely walk. I winced with every step, my feet were on fire and I had the worst blisters I have every had in my life – all over my feet, toes, heels – you name it, the shoes tortured me for 22hrs (and I had even worn those really unattractive in flight compression socks for extra padding….). I hadn’t planned for this type of shoe catastrophe – they’d fit so well before, we’d been friends, we’d spent a week bonding, it should have all been marvellous…and so I hadn’t packed another pair. I was spending three weeks state-side and I had packed light – anything I needed, I could buy on the fly. So, no change of shoes – I’d trusted that they fit.
They didn’t. Obviously. I spent my first few hours in Vegas searching out bandaids, doctoring my feet and buying a new pair of shoes that, mercifully, proved to be much more comfortable. Over the next three days, I hobbled my way around the Strip (we walked everywhere…go figure) and planned our assault on LV with my bandaged feet in mind (much to the chagrin of my then fiancé – now husband). Over the course of the holiday my feet healed, so that by the time we got to our barefoot wedding in Hawaii, I could actually go barefoot and bandageless – they were still tender and it took a lot of doctoring over the three weeks and upon our return to get them back to normal, but eventually, they did heal.
That’s the thing about feet – we don’t really give them the attention they deserve until they aren’t working properly – and they get hammered, all day, every day. But this post isn’t about feet or shoes (not really…). Sometimes, things fit in the beginning but then, for whatever reason, they no longer fit. If you keep trying to wear it or make it fit, it’s going to give you a blister – sometimes a big one or multiple ones that finally pop and take a really, really long time to heal.
I’ve done this with several jobs I thought were careers and study options I thought I wanted to pursue for life and relationships I hoped were ‘the one’. But they weren’t, and thinking back, I knew that they didn’t fit quite right, but I pressed on because that’s what grownups do…they press on, they make it fit, they look to the endgame and push through the pain to finish what you start.
One day, I got sick of going to sleep and waking up with blisters (on the inside) because what I was doing and who I was becoming (or trying to become) didn’t fit. So I stopped pushing through and started the long process of healing the blisters on the inside. There are scars there now; they will be there forever – I know that but it’s a good thing because I won’t forget to stop wearing ‘shoes’ that don’t fit.
Do your shoes fit?
PS. In case you were wondering, I donated the above shoes to charity – you never know, they might fit someone!