this is an allegory

your mother bought you this pair of shoes when you were young. they didn't seem to fit, but she told you they fit and looked pretty on you and she bought them just for you.

sometimes they catch on things and you trip; your mother scolds you for ripping your pants. you always have blisters.

later, she buys you another pair because you outgrew those. they don't feel any better but you have been told that they fit and look pretty on you. they were bought just for you.

when you are old enough to buy your own shoes, you try on the size you learned to wear. they make hot spots immediately, but you know that is just how shoes feel.

but one day, you are in a shoe store where the shoe person takes the time to measure your feet and present to you something that doesn't rub on your blisters or leave a big gap around your toes. you stand up and take some steps, disbelieving that you could walk without pain.

you learn your new shoe size, and realize that you can try on any kind of shoe you want because there are no rules forbidding it. you learn to run, hike, climb in specialty shoes that you previously never conceived of trying out. sometimes, you enjoy walking around barefoot, airing out your feet that are no longer raw and cramped.

when you visit your mother, she presents to you shoes she got on sale to give to you as a gift. you tell her they're not the right size. she is confused and hurt, because she has bought you shoes for years, how could they not fit?

instead of wedging your feet into that old painful shape again, you don't, because you know that your feet have to support you through so many adventures and you can't go back to hurting them again.

you thank your mother for thinking of you and buying you shoes, but you also say that you prefer to shop for shoes yourself now.

and the memory of all the times you tripped over your own feet, wincing at the blisters, is how you know who you are.

30 October 2019 16:46

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