As women, we grow up learning that our first love is our family and friends. Then we get older and find boys, and we talk about love and marriage and children. We love boys, who turn into heartbreaks, and then men, more heartbreaks and, if we’re lucky, the real deal. But for those of us who find boys and love and heartbreaks and not much else, there’s still hope for us. There’s shoes. They’re the third kind of right kind of love. (Try saying that three times fast.)
Taylor Swift once said, “I don’t know if you know who you are until you lose who you are.” Love her or hate her, she’s absolutely right, and every breakup teaches you to do that. A breakup from true love does so much more. True love is something that last, unconditionally through all time and space, interweaving into your life and never ending. You could hate your ex and hope a gorilla eats him. Getting back with him could be the like, ever kind of never ever. If you were going to talk to your ex in only cat memes, these might be the ones that would represent what you had to say best. (I’ve used the last one. I’m too nice to use the other two.)
Regardless, no matter how definitively you’ve moved on or how much you’ve let it go and watched it run away, and how happy you are in your life, you will always love that person somewhere deep down inside, no matter how much you hate them on the surface and think they’re a piece of dirt. It’s those kinds of relationships that leave you feeling bare and empty and sad when they’re through. Something has to change, and you realize it has to be you. Back to me without you. (“You made grief my chief emotion. Why’d you have to do what you thought you had to do.”) Me. That’s who I need to find again.
We’ve all been there, so we resort to who we were before we got lost in trying to love the things he did because we loved him, and strip ourselves to the bare essentials, becoming a better us for it. It’s easy to get caught up in being “us” and lose yourself as part of a team, but when one team member quits, it all falls back on number one. It’s this incredibly saturating feeling to be the best you, and now even better; stronger.
This is a lesson it took me so long to learn, and I remained stuck in the past for longer than I’d like to admit, even if I had moved past the person. I started looking ahead and realizing that it wasn’t him that had me stuck, but I had myself stuck, because I was surrounded by my past. I’m one of those people who doesn’t throw anything essential out unless it’s completely ruined. One day I opened my closet and found that none of my clothes were me. That’s probably because every article of summer clothing, at least shirt wise, was something I had owned since I was in high school, prior to getting sick, a whole thirteen years ago, save for the few vintage pieces Aunt Bev had given me. I look young, and I was dressing like a kid. I hated all of my clothes and half of them didn’t even fit right. It was time for a change. It was time to find a new love that wasn’t a boy. It was time to really love myself.
So I changed my wardrobe and got rid of stuff that had sat in my closet for years without being worn, and the stuff that didn’t fit me right, and I found a few great pieces that were me. It killed me to give away shirts that were in perfectly good shape, but they were pried out of my hands by my mom, who insisted I did, in fact, look as ridiculous as I thought. I was feeling better about myself already. Even though I knew the ex wouldn’t have been attracted to me in the clothes I wore, that brought me peace, because I was finally myself. It showed me how many miles apart we were and how glad I was to have had the chance to part from him and get back to me. I felt lucky to have a chance to find someone who would love me for me; someone who appreciated the mature way I dressed and wasn’t looking to relive their high school days.
What I never planned on doing was changing my shoes. I’ve never been a shoe person. Even when I worked at a shoe store, I wasn’t a shoe person. Shoes were just some stupid things I had to spend money on so I didn’t walk around barefoot and was allowed in stores. I bought the cheapest ones I could find that fit and called it a day. That could be why, when I went to clean out my closet, I noticed all of my shoes were falling apart. I mean literally losing their souls, or discolored, or badly worn. I change out my tennis shoes every six months in order to keep good padding in my shoes and keep my back aligned, but I’ve had the same shoes for at least ten years when it came to every other kind of shoe, save for my cowboy boots, which were now also pretty dead to the world. I also had one pair of dress shoes that actually fit me right and didn’t care if they matched what I wore when I needed them. I had three pairs that didn’t fit. There was a lot of horrible going on.
Begrudgingly, I decided to set out on a search for shoes. I don’t even like shopping for tennis shoes, nor do I care what they look like, so I just go to Ross and find a cheap pair. However, the last time I bought tennis shoes, I got some fancy Skechers shoe and I love them. They’re so light and so comfortable, but I digress. It was time to go out in the world and buy actual shoes that actually went with my clothes and completed my new, adult look. However, every time I think of shoe shopping, I can’t get this out of my head, which wasn’t helping me take shoe shopping seriously.
One pair of shoes I don’t mind shopping for are cowboy boots. They’re kind of my trademark, but the last time I bought a pair, I got a cheap, not so authentic pair, and they died over the last year because I wore them all the time. I’m picky about my cowboy boots and couldn’t find a pair I liked, until I came across an authentic leather pair made by Laredo. When I was a child, I rode horses and lived in Laredos, so I knew that they were comfortably padded and guaranteed to last, unlike my other pair. I didn’t want to spend the money on them, but I found a terrific deal and went for it. I am truly in love with these shoes, which isn’t unusual since they are cowboy boots. They’re so me.
Then, to sweeten the pot, I found a leather jacket on clearance at Target that matches them perfectly. Since I was in the market for a new jacket, they became the perfect pair. The cutouts on the jacket are the same as the ones on my boots. This picture, for whatever reason, came across with a weird glare that caused it to look vintage, but I like it.
Boots were the easy thing to shop for, because I was going to do that anyway. I wasn’t planning on replacing my other shoes, simply because I hate shoe shopping. I never find anything I like, so I buy cheap and go on with my day. This time, I decided I was going to buy shoes I actually liked. I knew this was going to be a disaster and a half and require a ton of online shopping, because I didn’t have the energy to scour stores, and the few I did, I hated everything. I felt like Grumpy Cat. My other problem is that, with my medical problems, I need something comfortable or I just get completely annoyed and won’t wear them. Every good woman can tell you that beautiful shoes are not comfortable. I also wasn’t willing to spend a fortune, so I was pretty much on a mission bound to fail on the principle of asking too much.
I decided to start the shoe search I didn’t want to do with sandals. This sounded easy, but royally sucked. Those things that go between your toes? I don’t do those. Apparently almost every shoe does. I had the perfect pair that didn’t do that and were as comfortable as all get out, but also just as ugly and the soul was coming detached from the part you slip your foot into. I also had another pair that broke at the buckle and had to be tossed.
I decided I didn’t want to shoe shop and only wanted one pair of sandals, so they had to be cute, go with everything, and be a little classy.They also had to be flat and easy to slide on. No one carried them, naturally. By accident, I came across a pair on Wal-Mart.com that they didn’t carry in stores. They were also Dr. Scholl’s, so they should be comfortable. Who knew Dr. Scholl’s made cute shoes that weren’t just for the retirement village folk? They were flat and soft on the feet like my one pair of old ones, but also had the pink buckle like my other pair. They were perfect. The only issue I found is that you can’t wear them if you’re going to walk all over the place like I could with my old ones, because the buckle will dig into your foot some. I was bummed about that, but learned long ago that sandals were not really made for long walks anyway, so they were sufficient for what I needed. Plus, they were only $15, so I was a happy camper. That’s more my price range. Actually, zero is my price range, but that’s how I ended up with crappy shoes I hated in the first place.
Just like that I threw out two pairs of shoes that were falling apart and I didn’t like anyway and replaced them with one pair I did. That was great and wonderful, but I really sucked at buying high heels for several reasons. I can stand a high heel, but I can’t stand the pumps in the front part, because that’s when I fall over and either break something or kill myself. My ankles swell because of my blood disorder, so straps were completely out of the question, as they end up digging into me. I just wanted a straight, basic pair of high heels. Apparently fashion has taken a couture turn in the past couple of years, because this task started to feel more like recovering The Ring from Mordor than buying something pretty.
Let me preface this by saying that I’m very pro Taylor Swift’s adorable style and that’s the kind of girl I am, but I never wear heels. This is because mine don’t fit and I can never finds ones I like, so I just don’t do it and I end up looking frumpy and not at all how I feel on the inside. Investing in heels I loved was something I was serious about, but also didn’t want to spend $50 for a pair of heels, so I had to be cautious about finding cute and inexpensive. I was dooming myself again.
A little birdy by the name of Fate told me that Forever 21 carried some cute classic country pieces, so I stopped in and picked up a few new shirts so I wasn’t so 2000. While I was heading toward the checkout, the heavens open and I about fell tit over ass over a display with shoes on it. There, I found shoes that were so very vintage Americana, and so very me. I fell in love instantly, and these came home with me. It was meant to be. Better yet, they were only $27.99, which, men, is cheap for heels. If your woman ever comes home telling you she spent that for heels, praise her and take her out for dinner. Take her somewhere she can wear those heels to.
I have some very pretty dresses and shirts that would go amazingly with these heels, but with the pattern, there were some things that just weren’t going to have any of that at all, meaning I needed to find a plain pair of heels for those everyday events. I wanted just a classic black pair, but nothing boring. I was hoping for something with a little lace, but all of those were peep toes, and homie don’t play that. Discouraged post trying on several pairs of shoes that I found boring, I knew I needed to change things up.
I happened to be minding my own business when an incredibly obnoxious commercial come on. Lo and behold, it was advertising shoes, so I went to the website to find out it was Rachel Zoe’s website, Shoe Dazzle. I love Rachel Zoe in a weird kind of bananas way, so I signed up and took a look-see. The shoes seemed reasonably priced, but out of my cheapo price range, so I went for the clearance rack. There, I found a flowered lace pair of black high heels, with a shiny metal toe that can be used for kicking people you don’t like strongly in places they don’t like to be kicked, at the wonderful price of $25. Done.
My only mistake here was that I had looked through all the clearance shoes while looking for this perfect pair, and there I became completely obsessed with shoes, because I found a pair so perfect, so divine, so worth obsessing over and falling in love with multiple times a day for the rest of my life that I was nearly shitting kittens. I finally, FINALLY, understood being obsessed with shoes. It was just that I didn’t need them. Unlike the black high heels, they wouldn’t go with everything. The problem was, I was already in love, and they were also on clearance for $25, so I splurged when I knew I shouldn’t have. Once I got them, though, I officially became completely shoe obsessed like every other woman. They are that perfect. They are, single-handedly, the shoes that made me realize shoes are more fun to fall in love with than boys, and definitely the perfect fix for loveless times after you lost a love. These make me feel so classy and grown up, but still young.
While I was ordering from Shoe Dazzle, I decided to search the clearance boots, as fashionable boots have long been a staple in my winter wardrobe, but mine had detached from their souls and found their death. All the boots I was finding were ugly and made me unhappy, but then I found a versatile pair for $13 on Shoe Dazzle. They’re so versatile because you can wear them below the knee and buttoned, or above the knee for a new look whenever you feel like it. These weren’t easy to photograph myself in since they have to be on to show the true potential, so I used stock photos from the site. Not very creative. Sorry!
I am completely and absolutely enamored with shoes now and Shoe Dazzle. The transaction was quick and easy, I got my shoes quickly, the prices were great, and they had shoes that no one in my area is sure to have, so I can be unique. I just have to remind myself that I can’t keep buying shoes. Thank you, Shoe Dazzle and the perfect high heels for making me cray-cray about shoes, or just plain crazy. This is problematic for me. I can’t tell you how obsessed I am with heels, especially that specific pair, and shoes in general. I’m practically as obsessed with shoes as Rachel Zoe now.
Sometimes you have to invest in you. It’s not a waste of money to make yourself feel good. Buy things you love, but buy in your price range and you’ll be happier for it. How you look on the outside is just a showpiece of how you feel on the inside. If you’re going to wear it, it’s okay to spend some money to update your wardrobe so you’re absolutely you. And someone will love you for it.
On a separate note, this song makes me so happy and the video is so cute. It gives me hope and makes me completely jealous of these kids all the same. Great, now I’m jealous of eight year olds.
If none of this stuff helps you get out of your breakup rut, because you are fabulous and need a guy who appreciates you, let me help. If you’re tired of listening to Johnny Cash to make you realize that, hey, you don’t have it that bad, then I suggest My Blood by Ellie Goulding. It got me over everything, even in the roughest times.
“And God knows I’m not dying but I bleed now, And God knows it’s the only way to heal now,
With all the blood I lost with you,
It drowns the love I thought I knew”