Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If the Shoe Doesn't Fit...

This morning I was joking about my list of Cinderella chores, which usually brings to mind the Disney version with singing mice...

But in her book, Ruby Slippers, Jonalyn Grace Fincher describes the Grimm version in which the stepsisters, so desperate to fit into the tiny golden slippers, slice away parts of their feet and hobble bloodied and mutilated to the prince.  (And in case you missed the end of the story, it's all for naught.  Cinderella still gets the guy. ;) )

Fincher states:

Often the roles we play are like pinching shoes.  In order to fit some role, we squeeze ourselves, contort ourselves, even cut off parts of ourselves...It hurts to wear shoes that are not for us.  It hurts to keep shaving off parts of our souls.  Can we just admit it once and for all?  Our feet don't fit Cinderella's slipper...It's embarrassing-- ugly even-- when we see what we've done to ourselves to fit something that doesn't even belong to us, but until we admit it we can't get out of these silly shoes (pp. 19-20).

Now, part of me is all about shoe analogies right now.  The instrument of torture treadmill is taking a toll on my tootsies.  It's not pretty and a pedi is not going to fix it.  A visit to a professional running shoe fitting type person is in order and I think I know someone who can point me in the right direction.

 So my feet, they are a little messed up, but as I've shared, my soul is a little blistered, too.

People learn bits and pieces about me and they think they can label me.  They squeeze me into a shoe that is not a good fit and I try to hobble around in it...or I try to kick it off.  I have 6 kids.  I went to seminary.  I....have done and said and experienced lots of things, and I still do.  I didn't stop learning and living and growing. I still make mistakes, question, evaluate, change my mind, say and do stupid things...because I am human and humans are a big ol' mess. 

As I was contemplating this, I kept thinking of a Meredith Brooks song. I hate the world today, (The Husband will tell you I utter this phrase frequently.) You're so good to me, I know but I can't change.  I tried to tell you but you look at me like maybe I'm an angel underneath, innocent and sweet...I'm a little bit of everything all rolled into one...

Sometimes we change our shoes to fit our moods or a season in our life.  I love to wear clogs now.  In college I wore penny loafers (as did most of my sorority sisters. ;) ).  In the winter I love to wear my black leather boots. In the summer, a cute pair of flip flops is the ticket. I'm still searching for a pair of heels I can wear without tottering like I've had a few too many glasses of wine (when I'm perfectly sober).  Just like I change my shoes, I have an evolving and growing sense of self. 

Trying to fit into a role that isn't authentically our own...is like wearing shoes that don't fit.  They pinch and blister and hinder our progress. (Like every pair of heels I've tried on lately.) 

Let's agree to not shave off pieces of our souls to fit another person's expectation of what we should be or do.  Let's just be our best authentic selves, in whatever shoes really fit us...and likewise, not try to shoehorn anyone else into the pair we think they should be wearing based on a snippet of what we think we know about them.   

Now, somebody help me out of these silly shoes. ;)


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