My friend Kate introduced me to the concept of “break-up shoes”. Break-up shoes, as in, the pair of fabulously festive footwear purchased to add sass and spunk to your step after having your heart shredded by another. Perhaps a pair like these:
I know. Thou shalt not covet. Thou shalt not covet. Thou shalt not covet.
Kate knows what she’s talking about. She comes from a long line of women who know the power of shoes. Her sister, for instance, sports a collection of peep-toe pumps that are so mind-bogglingly pretty that the shelf they live on are a decorative centerpiece. No joke. I LOVE her shoe rack.
But my husband doesn’t get it. I am not particularly into clothes and being cute, but what is it about shoes? Why is it that the only time I have ever concealed a purchase from him was because I had bought two pairs of shoes and thought he would disapprove? (Full disclosure: I “freed” them from their boxes and had put them nonchalantly in the cupboard before he got home… but he had spotted two shoe boxes in the recycling and asked casually, forgivingly, knowingly where the contents were. I fessed up. Won’t do that again.) I am more honest about it now – but I still love shoes.
Along with many women, I harbor a secret-not-so-secret foot fetish. The passion runs deep. Unlike my weight and age where the numbers keep changing, my feet have been pretty much the same size for more than 20 years. They are constant. Unlike a dress or a pair of jeans, my self esteem is not wounded if a pair of shoes doesn’t fit well. And if they DO fit well, they are an instant pick-me-up for any outfit. I can make a regular jeans day into a sassy day by adding a pair of heels. The proverbial little black dress can be transformed from Mournful into Festive by a change in footwear (and maybe a pair of sparkly earrings). Putting on a pair of fabulous shoes can make us feel decorated. And if those fabulous shoes are heels, well then there are the added perks of a longer legs and a curvier shape – all of which can add a lovely feeling of confidence to an otherwise blah day. Or is it just me?
Most places I go I do not see what I look like. Unless I happen to come across a mirror in, I can’t see how my top is fitting, whether there are lumps or bumps or curves or angles. But I CAN see my feet, and getting a glimpse of a cute pair of shoes as I go about my day makes me think: “yay! that looks pretty!” And of course, if there is a peek of a well-painted toenails, all the better for self-esteem.
I try to be responsible about shoe purchases. Groceries and college funds are more important than shoes. Also, heels are not advisable for 99% of my life activities, and not practical for 100% of them. So I confess I spend most of my time wearing sandals and loafers… but I still prefer them to be pretty. And pretty comfortable. But pretty is important. I LIKE beautiful shoes. Even if the rest of me feels sub par, I love beautiful feet.
But even just saying the words “beautiful feet” remind me of another truth – that the Bible says that the most beautiful feet are the ones of those who come carrying messages of joy and good news (Isaiah 52:7). As much as I like my feet to look beautiful, I am reminded that truly beautiful feet are ones which GO. Beautiful feet are ones which carry me out to the world: to speak kindness, to bring encouragement, to proclaim peace, to tell of Jesus. Those are the truly beautiful feet.
I want those beautiful feet. And if possible, I wouldn’t mind if they were sparkly.
Photo credit: bleubirdvintage