The Stories Our Shoes Tell


5/31/20233 min read

Renowned philosopher and one of my favorite southerners of all time, Forrest Gump, said it best: “Mama says there’s an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes. Where they’re going. Where they’ve been.”

He’s 100% right ya' know. My shoe collection could talk the horns off a billy goat, starting with my 2 inch, open-toe wedges.

These pinching platforms have chronicled the tale of a worn-out woman on her feet all day, braving the halls of a public high school while still attempting to look half-way fashion-savvy. They have hurriedly rushed me down long hallways to countless pointless meetings that should have been e-mails, schlepped me up and down the aisles of Food Lion searching out that elusive box of of Elf on a Shelf cereal for my oh-so-specific-7-year-old, and propped me up through endlessly long lines at the pharmacy because some imbecile in front of me has nothing better to do than argue with the 18-year-old cashier who has ZERO control over the insurance company’s refusal to cover his cholesterol meds.

And then of course there’s my deceptively pristine, yet 7-year-old, Nikes that weave a tale as old as time: one of good intentions, plans to work-out 5 days a week and run a 10k before my next birthday. I specifically chose these teal and gray cross-trainers because of the extra supportive sole designed to weather even the most grueling work-outs because I knew I was in it for the long haul.

And a long haul it was.

Those trainers and I both endured nearly 2 weeks of pounding away on the treadmill. That's right!

I accomplished a full 13 days of moderate training before life intervened (“life” is defined as a full-time job and 3 kids).

And along with it, the inevitable demands of working motherhood. Demands including staying late after work for more crucial meetings and chauffeuring kids to various sports practices, conveniently scheduled at 5:15 on a workday, promptly took precedence over those healthy-living goals I had pledged with so much enthusiasm back in January.

Relegated now to only make an appearance to practice bike-riding with my youngest or BlueJean day at work, the forgotten footwear now sits forlornly in the back of the closet like Slinky Dog or Bo Peep in Toy Story, never inspiring the same amount of enthusiasm as they once did.

And of course, every woman's closet includes a pair of sophisticated, yet comfortable, black heels. These provide the ability to make you look sexy on date night, properly solemn at a funeral, and appropriately congratulatory at any wedding/anniversary/milestone birthday event. Mine have certainly served me well for at least the better part of a decade, but the most colorful adventure these pumps can recall is a wedding reception held in the low-country of South Carolina.

It was held in a fancy, old plantation house where my cousins and I danced the night away to all the reception classics including Kool & the Gang’s “Celebrate,” “The Electric Slide” and everyone’s favorite, "The Chicken Dance". But the most memorable part of the night was when I liberated my barking dogs by kicking off the stilettos to really get down with my grandma to AC/DC’s “Shook Me All Night Long.”

The next morning my trusty toe-pinchers lay passed out on the floor looking as exhausted and happy as I felt.

But to save the best for last, let us never forget the wildly under-appreciated and oft forgotten, faithful black flats. These steadfast slip-ons are always there, waiting patiently by the back door as a reliable, last minute accessory providing at least a passing resemblance to something that matches your outfit.

Waiting in silence like a faithful butler ready to tend to your aching foot’s every need, they too can recount endless tales of this hard-working mama running wildly late on a rainy Tuesday morning, with a Tervis full of black coffee and a first-grader in tow, hopping 3 mud puddles on the way to the car. Or hiding out under this same mama’s desk available for a quick shoe switch when the fashionable sling-backs start killing my feet.

The true heroes of every woman’s closet, they go largely unnoticed until needed, much like mamas themselves.

If you’re anything like me, you have way more than four pairs of shoes crowding your closet, and even though it's certain you don't need a new pair of kicks, you still check out the shoe sales when you pass through Belk or Dillard’s.

Well allow me to encourage you to continue scavenging those shoe racks and find as many perfect pairs as possible!

Grab a sleek kitten heel that screams classy or beach-friendly flip-flops that form flawlessly to your arches.

Really anything that suits your fancy and soothes your sole (LOL- see what I did there). Because there’s just about nothing better than a great pair of shoes.

Unless it’s a good story to go along with them.