When I was a little girl my dad bought me orange shoes. We were in Kmart and they were in one of those bins where the pairs of shoes are connected with a white plastic string. They had a buckle on them and were a reddish orange. To me, they looked just like Dorothy’s shoes, those magical ruby slippers. They caught my eye, I pulled them out of the bin, and slipped them on.
I really wanted them. I took a few steps (hard to do since the shoes were connected) and I could hear a tap from the heals. I loved that sound when I was a kid. I loved shoes that made noise, like women’s high heels. Even then, I knew that they didn’t really look like Dorothy’s shoes. The resemblance was vague at best. There was just something about them that felt magical to me, something that felt like those ruby shoes. Some part of me thought I would be magical in those shoes.
I asked my dad if I could have them and he said yes. He bought them and when we got home, my mom was horrified. I don’t think she liked them (she had such great taste) and I suspect she also started wondering something like “what will she wear them with.” Money was tight so blowing it on hardly to be worn shoes was not a good idea.
I don’t remember much of the conversation and in truth, my mom wasn’t really upset. It was that sort of eye-roll what did you do now kind of thing. What I do remember, as vividly as if it were yesterday, was my dad saying this, “… but honey, every girl needs a pair of orange shoes.”
Pretty cool, huh?
I was talking with someone recently about growth … about how we learn, grow, discover who we are through our experiences in life, and also how those same experiences can prompt us to pile on camouflage masking our true nature, our best self. I’ve been thinking about that little girl in the orange shoes. Thinking about my younger self and about how great she was whatever my insecurities then might have been. I’ve been looking to her as a muse and a teacher. I’m realizing I have a few things to learn from her and that I miss her.
I also miss my dad, the guy that bought me those shoes, and my incredible mom that let me wear them any time I wanted.
So many of us have lessons we need to un-learn from our childhood. Do you ever think about what you need to embrace?
Have a beautiful day and wear your orange shoes.