When I was maybe 14, I watched this movie about a girl who wanted to be famous so she left home and set out for Hollywood. I don’t remember much but one thing that stuck with me was this one scene: The girl let’s call her Bee and her aunt Dee were having a little argument. I think it was because of Bee’s rising fame. So, aunt Dee told Bee a little story I will never forget: (Story may contain a little bit of improv because 8 years is a long time to remember everything an angry 60+ white woman said.) Okay, here we go:
Wait, does the full stop come before or after the bracket? I need an editor for real. Does it?
Once upon a time, I bought this really pretty pair of shoes. Each time I would wear my new shoes, everywhere I went people would always give me the best compliments. They loved my shoes and I was happy. What nobody knew though was that those shoes were a size smaller. Each time I wore them they would kill me. I didn’t let anyone see that though because that would mean that they would stop giving me the compliments I felt I deserved. But each time I removed those shoes, I was forced to deal with painful and sore feet.
I never really understood how deep that little story was until I was the one wearing the shoes. For the first time in my life I felt like I was walking around in a beautiful pair of shoes and getting all these compliments and I was loving it. What I didn’t tell anyone though was that the shoes were killing me. Literally, my feet were already very swollen and for the longest time I worked on how best to maintain face. Might I add, I got really great at it but I noticed that each time I looked at my little shoes all I could think about was: for how much longer?
The more I thought about it the more I realized that I had been wearing these shoes for the longest time. I just didn’t realize it. It was almost like I had sold my soul to these devil shoes and the compliments I always got made the pain seem like it was worth it. My mom once told me that the world is no place for my soft heart.
There is nothing wrong with having a kind heart but in this world of ours, you have to develop some level of elasticity. They will see your kindness and immediately use it as a weakness. They won’t show you though, they will bite the hand that feeds them while simultaneously offering a helping hand to soothe the pain. Be careful.
At the time my mom and I were having this conversation, I couldn’t see it but she could. She looked at my backyard and saw me walking around in my beautiful shoes, elated because of how much they loved them and even though once in a while I would twitch because of the pain, I never let them see it. But she did and she saw every last one of them slowly come to realize that my feet hurt and with the same vigour they showered my happy little painful feet with compliments, one by one they all started to use that pain against me. My mom saw it, my mom warned me, my mom tried to get the shoes off but I wasn’t having any of it.
Now look at me, just look at me. I feel lost, I feel empty, I feel sad but I have finally managed to get off the last shoe. My feet are still sore and the pain is unbearable but look at me, I got the shoes off and that must count for something right? What makes me prouder is that I got them off by myself. It was my choice. It was my call.
The demons gave me the stars.
The stars became my only light.
How does my story end?
When do my feet get better?
When do I get better?