Friday, January 25, 2013

on a shoe story: volume v.

let it be on record: i believe in the power of a peep toe.
they can do no wrong in my eyes.
before i graduated college, like many, i had some time on my hands. i had a varied schedule. i went on runs at 10:30 AM and off to the mall at 2 PM (oh the glorious life of a college senior!). my life was an amazing, flexible, do what i want, magical dream. so, naturally, a few weeks before graduation i found myself in the mall right before lunchtime, wandering around looking for a graduation dress and shoes. for the latter i went to see an old and reliable friend, steve madden. it was on this day that i bought my most trusty, well-worn, dare i say, loved, pair of shoes. my black peep toes. a boring purchase, for sure, but a necessary, and still pretty, purchase. a purchase that had miles in it.
i walked through graduation in these shoes. down the aisle, across the stage, with diploma in hand, never daring to trip. i wore them as my scum-of-the-earth ex-boyfriend insulted me as he stood nearby, gleefully taking advantage of the fact that i was in earshot. they supported me as i stood, stoic and silent, pretending i heard nothing. and before my graduation, just a few days before, i stood in them as we put my grandma to rest. i stood, stoic and silent, pretending i hadn't seen my dad's tears fall, as we good irish catholics tend to do.
i wore them to my friend's wedding in atlanta. and to my friend's wedding in pennsylvania. and that wedding in miami. and the other one in rhode island. and one in philly. and to the rehearsal dinner for that other one in new orleans. (as i list these, somewhere, silently, my bank account is weeping). all of these friends, who have given me the privilege of watching them say i do on their wedding days. these shoes have been there for all of them.
i wear them on most thanksgivings. and most christmas eves, come to think of it. i have worn them on countless dates, and danced in them until the wee hours of the morning more times than i can count.
they have been everywhere, they have done everything. my cobbler has only re-heeled them once. in this life, ladies, you truly only need one pair of amazing black peep toes. make it count.
***
and it is through these shoes that i feel i can cite an example of this: the importance of my shoe stories. these stories seem, at times, silly and vapid. i post soliloquies to my shoes as others pour their hearts out to their spouses, children, friends. but it's not really about the shoes, you see? my shoe museum, while beloved, could burn down tomorrow and i wouldn't miss a thing. i would lose nothing.
we own our possessions. they don't own us.
and from my shoes i alone have these memories. they don't own those memories, i do. memories of the miles i've walked. of my graduation, or the weddings of dear friends, or my grandma's burial. or a random, peaceful day that makes up the blissful end of college. i could lose all my shoes, or grow out of them, or give them away tomorrow. but still it would remain - the purpose they served, the fun i had in them, and the memories i created as they chauffeured me around will never leave me. the places they have taken me are worth every penny i've spent on them and then some.
like i said: you only need one pair of amazing black peep toes in this life - make it count.

12 comments:

  1. Wow Colleen, this may be my favourite shoe story from you yet. And what a gorgeous pair of peep toes they are. It’s got me wondering how many more monumental events these shoes will be present at? (I am wishing that your story included these shoes kicking your scum of the earth ex-boyfriend in the shin though).

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    1. haha - I kind of wish that too :) and thank you - truly amazing how long these shoes have lasted, can't wait to see where we go next.

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  2. I feel like your shoe stories just keep getting better and better! This series is your blogging niche, Colleen. And for the record, I never thought them shallow or vapid. Your shoe stories are about YOU, not the shoes. The shoes just carry you there. I love that this one pair has carried you so many places. So much life has been lived in them!

    I have a similar peep-toe pair that I love, I just need to get them re-heeled. You've inspired me to get on that!

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    1. thank you Laura - I have so much fun telling them too. especially a pair like these - they have literally been everywhere! I guess I feel silly at times writing about shoes and I go read a post where someone is saying how much they love their baby or something, which is when I reminded myself, and what I articulated in the last half of the post, that these stories are about the journeys and experiences I had in these shoes, not just about the shoes themselves. so thanks for the vote of confidence - it's nice to hear.

      also - yes, definitely see your cobbler! it's amazing how long shoes can last with just a new heel every few years or so.

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  3. This. is. stunning. As a big-time shoe lover, I totally understand these little odes, and you did such an amazing job of reminding us that these material things can be important and unimportant at the same time...they are full of stories, but they are not the stories themselves.

    Also, I'm a big believer in shoes that last forever and are worth getting fixed up.

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    1. thank you so much :) i agree - a good cobbler makes a world of difference (and can make shoes last forever).

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  4. This is by far my favorite shoe story yet! Colleen your shoe posts have become my most anticipated posts of yours. I love that you can take a pair of shoes and get so many stories, experience, and moments out of them. These shoes have taken you to so many places and through so many things. Your shoe museum is SO much more than a case of enviable shoes--it tells stories of who you are and your life! I love that.

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    1. thank you sherri lynn :) whenever i write a shoe story i'm like "i hope she likes this!" since you've been such a big supporter of them :)

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  5. I have a very similar pair of black peep toes that I also purchased for my college graduation. And although I wear heels much less frequently than you, they are my go-to, stable, reliable pair of heels when I need them. They've seen weddings and parties (but thankfully no funerals) and never let me down.

    I love your shoe stories and have never thought of them as shallow. We all hold memories differently and just because your tales are loosely centered on footwear makes them nowhere less valid. Whether you mean it or not, I always read them as metaphors for particular friends in your life anyway :) Keep up the good work!

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    1. i LOVE that you read them as metaphors for certain friends - it's so awesome to write something, and get opinions and viewpoints back that make you see your writing in a totally different way. love this comment.

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  6. LOVED THIS. Love your heart and mind, Colleen. Always.

    You know, I have never brought any of my shoes to the cobbler? But my favorite pair of boots (4 years at LEAST) are really starting to get run down, so I think I will take them soon.

    Memories are so SO important, and however they come back to us, be it through a pair of shoes or a song, or a place, I'm glad we can be reminded of these cherished times.

    This is one of my favorite posts of yours. Loved it. :)

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    1. yes - cobble that shit! (consider that my new phrase).

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