Home > Personal, Reflections, Youth > Big red sandals

Big red sandals

You know the straw that broke the camel’s back?

I feel like I’m living one straw from a broken back these days.

One little straw shifts on my back and I have to rebalance everything. That seemingly tiny change demands care, precision, time and energy to address, leaving me gasping and stumbling as I try to carry the weight of that shifted burden.

Today several minute strands shifted at once. Though unlikely perceptible from the outside, I felt it keenly. I wept as I tried figuring out how to shift my balance enough to keep standing.

A box was waiting on my doorstep when I got home.

In the box, the pair of big red sandals I mentioned buying in my post “Little red sandals.”

I put them on and smiled.

I have carried many heavy loads on my back since I outgrew my little red sandals. And, look! I’m still standing!

How many loads will I carry in these big red sandals?

I don’t know, but I’m certain to be stronger and even more skilled at rebalancing when it’s time to retire them.

It’s not much, but it’s enough to keep me standing.


  1. May 6, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    They arrived just in time, to keep you balanced, to keep that last straw at bay, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re adorable!

    • May 6, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      That’s exactly how it felt when I saw the box sitting by the door, and then–even more so–with them on my feet! ♡

  2. May 6, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Sometimes it’s those little things that give us just enough fuel to keep going. Sorry to hear your straws are shifting. Hopefully they’ll realign soon.

    • May 6, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Thanks, Carrie! Me, too. Though there’s merit in becoming more skilled at shifting quickly, it’d be nice to carry roughly the same load for a while …

  3. Deb
    May 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Why is it that so much tends to pile on when we least need, or want it. Couldn’t the universe see fit to at least limit the changes to something like 2 per week so we feel as if we could catch up in-between.
    The shoes are wonderful and I hope that they lighten the load a bit 🙂

    • May 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Yes! I second your proposal heartily! But as long as the universe keeps up its onslaught/drought routine, I’ll be glad for rays of light … in the form of shoes, or kind words that ease my heart. Thank you. ♡

  4. May 6, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    NIce sandals.

  5. May 6, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    That overwhelmed feeling suggests that you need more red sandal joy in your world. It is my private theory that I can do anything if I have to, but I so wish that I wasn’t tested so often and so thoroughly.
    Look after yourself. Please.

    • May 9, 2015 at 8:43 am

      I’ve been thinking about your comment since you posted it. You’re totally right. Life feels almost purely functional to me right now: do x to accomplish y, do a to accomplish b, and so on and so forth. I’m going to make more effort to create red sandal joy in my life, the better to carry me through the tougher moments. This morning, I started by walking in my red sandals. I don’t mean taking a walk, which is the only kind of walking I do these days. I mean walking back home from the car dealership. Functional walking, such as I used to do hours daily. Then it was necessity; today, the functional was joyous reminder.

      Thank you. ♥

  6. May 6, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Sorry, your going through a rough patch, hopefully things will be better soon. Maybe there will be another red shoe moment soon. Maybe a friend can help you out. It’s not weakness to ask for help. Perhaps someone can babysit while you get some alone time

    • May 9, 2015 at 8:45 am

      I had one just this morning! Maybe one of my next will involve hiking with you wherever it is you go. Your pics from yesterday were gorgeous. I miss you. I miss Oregon. I’ll be back soon! In the meantime, I’ll be seeing a couple of dear girlfriends. Looking forward to it, now that I see how good spending a little time with a good pair of shoes feels. (So much the better with friends!)

      • May 24, 2015 at 9:19 pm

        theres a couple spots in the area i like going, the boardwalk in Corvallis (theres also a nice park in corvallis with a real train for kids to climb on and dino bones. near lebanon here is a waterfall. one of the nice things abour oregon is theres pretty outdoor scenery within a short distance.

  7. May 6, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    They make the feet look GOOD! I’m excited for you new chooos.

    • May 9, 2015 at 8:46 am

      I just went walking in them! They felt great. I’m kinda tempted to buy some not-red pairs, but I’m going to see how well these hold up first. (PLEASE let them hold up well!)

  8. May 6, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

  9. May 6, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Damn, how those straws can pile up sometimes. I’m glad your snappy, red sandals arrived in the nick of time.

    • May 9, 2015 at 8:47 am

      The funny thing was something happened that took a bunch of the straws off the day after I wrote this. I’m trying to think about how to write about it, but I’ll probably email you about it beforehand since you’d asked about it once. Happy Mother’s Day, Peg!

  10. May 7, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Isn’t it funny how something we wear—even if it doesn’t have emotional significance like these sandals—can help us stay standing and strong? In college i used to put on eyeliner when I was feeling particularly stressed. I did it only rarely, but feeling more attractive helped me pound out a paper or study those final hours for an exam.

    • May 9, 2015 at 9:00 am

      YES! If I show up at work wearing make-up and my nicer clothes, it’s a surefire sign I need a boost! It makes a difference, somehow.

  11. May 7, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Love this. Right now, in this moment, you are okay. Right now you are surviving.

  12. May 8, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    I saw these before I read the original post discussing their significance. Now I want to say: May they take you in the direction of your deepest dreams. (just click your heels three times…)

    • May 9, 2015 at 9:04 am

      Thank you! I just walked home from the mechanic’s wearing them earlier this morning and felt the resonance of being (thusly) dreamward bound.

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