friendship, inspiration, leadership, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

I Loved The Shoes, But They Didn’t Fit

In my other life, I wore heels everyday.  Work days, weekends – it mattered little.  I also drove a Jeep Cherokee.  I loved feeling like I could see things that I would otherwise never notice.  I traveled tall.  My shoe collection was legendary and even Casual Fridays involved four-inch heels that I would walk in endlessly – back and forth, staircases, multiple floors, the streets of DC and every other city I needed to be in.  I was a physical example of over-compensation.

Never mind that my back would curse my name each morning when I got dressed.  “Ha” to those who wondered how my stride was even remotely normal and not some mincing step more analogous to those who have had their feet bound.  I rarely wear them any more, but believe me, when I do I’m painfully reminded that they don’t fit my life.  One of the step-sisters insisting that Cinderella’s glass slipper really did fit.


And this is why I won’t be going back to the barn.  As much as I delighted in warming my face against a horse’s flank, found comfort and connection picking dirt out of their hooves, brushing their tails and singing to them.  No matter that I felt love for Elmo and developed a woman-to-woman understanding with Valentine.  And as much as I enjoyed chatting with my rider yesterday, a young woman with a smile that was bright enough to change the weather – the metaphorical shoes didn’t fit.

Honestly, it’s too fresh to recount.  Suffice it to say, I don’t take kindly to being yelled at, belittled or demeaned.  I don’t enjoy other people commenting about the unkind nature of any diatribe – especially when it’s directed at me, because I fall silent and don’t commiserate.  Let me stress – neither the rider nor the horse were in any jeopardy – this was just about me and the instructor.  As plebian as it sounds, I bore the brunt of her irritation and/or she just simply didn’t like me.

If I had a thicker skin, perhaps none of it would matter.  If I believed that personal attacks are a profoundly effective way to get someone’s compliance, I might have been fine.  Unfortunately, I’ve been there done that, and have a higher expectation of those in charge – regardless of the environment where they bear that mantle.  I’ve had my confidence rended and discarded, spent years trying to find those shreds and re-form them into something resembling me.  Perhaps that is why I counsel leaders with a conviction that is so fierce.  Anyway, let’s just say, the shoes didn’t fit.  And that reality hurts.

“If I turn my gaze away from you, dear Earth, please do not feel hurt.  I will come back and kiss you again.” — Rumi

None of this has deterred me from my wish to spend my days in a way that substantively helps others and nurtures my soul.  Hopefully the equine rescue farm will be better.  Some connections to Walter Reed may help me in my hopes to work with wounded warriors.  Perhaps I can also figure out what I should do with my blog, as this first year of posting  comes to an end.

But right now, I want to turn away from the day.  I need to do battle with the self-doubts that are speaking in full-voice about all that I am not.  It’s a short-lived pity party I promise – and I hope you don’t mind not being invited – I rarely serve anything, and the conversation is hardly lively.

And yet, before I left I made sure to kiss Elmo and Nyles and Val – give them carrots and whisper in their ears that which I wanted them to know.  That they were doing great things, with grace and patience and kindness.  And I was so happy that they had come into my life albeit for this short, but meaningful time.



53 thoughts on “I Loved The Shoes, But They Didn’t Fit”

  1. Your post, as usual, elicits so many points of commentary and spans the emotional continuum. 4″ heals + your height = still short? Give them carrots – eat the carrots – enjoy the carrots. Battling the self-doubt. Who doesn’t? You think you are so alone on this ride? Wind blows and we push against it. Forward. Onward. Together. (Oh, yea, I loved your post.)

  2. It’s always hard doing what’s best for us. I know that feeling of self-doubt well and really hate that it creeps up, but it must be part of process. I’m glad you made the choice that’s best. Those horses had a good time while it lasted. Beautiful photo!

    1. As did I (have a good time while it lasted)..It is hard to do what is best when so many other urges are fighting against it. But this is the right thing as much as I hate that awareness.

  3. Knowing you through your eloquent written word I am convinced you made the right decision for you–something that sounds ideal is not always that. As you decide what to do with this blog and where to go, know that I enjoy it immensely and derive inspiration from it–
    I am glad you stood up for yourself, albeit quietly………..

    1. I really appreciate your perspective – and it helps me as I slog through this mire of ‘what should I do?’ 🙂 Thank yo too for supporting me supporting myself..I’ve never been known for my self-advocacy, so it felt very daring to me..!

  4.  I’m very sorry that your barn experience did not turn out as you had envisioned, honey. I feel your disappointment in every word, but I also feel with every fiber of my being that the loss is theirs. I know your heart is bruised, but yours is a generous, loving spirit, and it cannot be quashed by this encounter. You will find the perfect pair of shoes, honey, worry not. I’m imagining a gorgeous pair of Laboutins with Mimi written all over them. ;-). And as for the Karma Truck, I selfishly hope that it keeps motoring along, because it delivers joy and inspiration to my doorstep every day.

    “One’s best success comes after their greatest disappointments.”. Henry Ward Beecher the moon… Xox, l

    1. I don’t know who’s more on point – you or Henry Ward Beecher. And I know you’re right – I will find the right fit, where I can feel like my contribution is important and matters. Thank you my wonderful friend, for your faith in me – when I have less faith in myself..xox, m

  5. I echo what Lori so beautifully said…you will find the perfect fit. Your shoes may be under the bed of opportunity through one or both of those you mentioned, but they may be somewhere completely different. The important thing is to keep trying them on. I so understand this quest you are on, wish no more ache for that special heart of yours, and have complete faith in you. You have made such a difference in the lives of so many who begin their days waving back to you as you drive by…I truly, truly hope you see that…xoxo

  6. Hi Rhonda, your faith in me is both restorative and calming – even if there’s the benefit of your bias in there too..:-) This day will pass and I will be fine. And I’ll always drive by your house with a wave and stop for a hug..xoxo

  7. There is something waiting behind the next door. You will recognize it when you see it. Sometimes you just need to try on several shoes before finding the perfect pair. I feel your pain and disappointment, not just for yourself but for those whose lives you wanted to touch with the passion you bring to everything you do. So, take off the shoes. You’re at a place where that type of pain need not be yours any longer. Their loss for sure- and I’m not talking about the kids or the animals for I’m sure in the few days you were there, they got more love and compassion from you than they have seen or felt in a long time. I guess the journey to find the right fit begins again. And I know, because I know you, that it waits around the next corner (or two)- but it’s there. It’s there. To the moon and back xoxo

      1. When we’re together I’ll tell you about the “slap in the face” I received from the Make a Wish Foundation. Adding insult to injury years ago when I was the student council teacher advisor we raised money for Make A Wish at a dance. Great success for the kids and the community. I guess Make A Wish lives in the moment and their memories are short and financially inclined. Anyway, no one tells you that in “retirement” it takes a while to find the fit that will fill the void. You’ll find it, no doubt, I’m here to help you look especially if looking includes trying on shoes 🙂 – always and then some more…

  8. My wish for you is that you hear the words of people who love you louder and clearer than those spoken in anger. It’s my experience that when people resort to angry personal attacks to make a point, it’s more about them than you.

    1. I agree with you Susan – certainly intellectually, I do. Emotionally, I respond a bit differently at the outset, but I arrive at the same conclusion in a little bit of time.

  9. I think one of the great benefits of wisdom through experience is know when to end a challenging situation. The good news is this: it didn’t take you long to figure out that it was a less-than-optimum fit and to move on rather than trying to make it fit out of a sense of guilt or obligation. Kudos for that, Mimi. I know that there is a wonderful place for your gifts and talents just waiting for the right time to show up. Hugs, Cathy

    1. Thank you Cathy…You’re right, wisdom does come with experience, and it was fortunate that I found this out sooner rather than later – no matter how much I wanted it to be the ‘right thing’. And I look forward to finding the right place and certainly won’t give up until I do..Hugs, m

  10. And as I and many others have had to do before….so you have done….”And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet” Matthew 10:14 FORWARD, my friend♥

      1. Oh Paula, is this the place? I never thought of it that way…Perhaps it is the sheer exchange of wonder and talent and heart that makes me feel like my presence is inconsequential to this amazing cyber-world..But if it enhances this little world, then woohoo and thank you thank you thank you…<3

      2. The first time I “met” you, here in cyber space….my thoughts were, “She has it all together….I can glean much from this this person. I’m definately following her!” Your openness, honesty, and giving spirit are a rarity. I’d say THAT is moving forward♥

      3. I’m speechless and happy and touched and humbled..and I would follow YOU anywhere (even before you wrote this!)..Thank you for encouraging me to see this in a way I never otherwise would have done. I am forever grateful..<3

  11. I know you will find your spot, a spot where you are loved, welcomed, appreciated. In the meantime, I know this stings, and as I know you would say to me or any of your lucky friends, this is so about them, and not about you. Someone who cannot see your abundant heart and soul is missing something critically important. I trust that this will lead you in the right direction, I just wish that this door did not have to slam so loudly for you. I get the self doubt and so I echo what Lori and Rhonda say…I have total and complete faith in superbly amazing you. You don’t need to send out invites to your pity know we are already there, ready to buoy you as long as you need and then scatter when it’s over! xoxo

    1. THe party is over – they never last too long because I find my own company when I’m in a mood so boring..:-) I will find the right place and regale you with stories that underscore the magic of making a difference. I am incredibly grateful for the support and love of such good friends and I know that in the big scheme of things, this is not a big deal. Just a disappointment – and who says life is devoid of those right? Thank you for reminding me of that which is important – the love of my friends..xoxo

  12. I am so sorry this experience was one filled with heartbreak for you. A good soul as yourself does not deserve to be treated but anything with the kindness and loving respect you show others. There is definitely a place out there for you that will welcome and deserve your loving nature.

    1. I know I went with the best of intentions and perhaps there will be a lesson to be absorbed by the instructor one of these days. I will find my place, and I really thank you for your understanding and support – and thinking my soul is ‘wonderful’..<3

  13. Mimi, I am so very sorry that anyone would hurt you like that, and for what it’s worth I would be more concerned about you if you did have thick skin. Feeling is what makes you warm and loving a fine human being. I can’t stand the thought of anyone treating you unkindly, but I do know that the Karma truck will show up in that person’s driveway too, and it won’t be bearing any gifts. In the game of life, you win hands down. Much love coming your way.

    1. We’ve known each other a long time – and even when in a leadership role, I always held strong beliefs about the way we treat each other. And I gather that the older one gets, the thinner the skin becomes – but the wiser the heart gets to compensate. I’m ok with it no Jill – I needed yesterday to feel funky, but it’s over now. If I could figure out how to download from youtube now that the url isn’t posted, I’d ust put up REM’s “Everybody Hurts” – cause it’s true and I’m one of everybody..:-) Much love to you..xoxo

  14. I liked this post. It dealt with real problems that people have. My feeling is that you’ve been protected too long… either by yourself, or by others… and protection makes us weak. And it could be that you’re too nice, as well. Stupid brutes take advantage of such things, and it doesn’t do you much good either. I can tell you that even tall people have to stand on ladders sometimes, or on chairs… or on tables. If you’re interested in learning something new, the only question you should have, is whether they still know something you don’t know… whether there is still more to learn from them. If they have poor manners, or don’t know how to show respect for their fellow man, you might not want to adopt them as friends, but you don’t have to escape. You can quietly enjoy your own thoughts, and still learn from them. And sometimes, when we get to know people well, we discover that they had some good points we didn’t see at first, because they were showing their other side. My best wishes to you for a beautiful holiday, and a beautiful new year… and I hope that just because I was a little critical, you don’t think I don’t love you…

    1. Perhaps you are right – though perhaps I don’t have the perspective to see my life as over-protected. Naive – perhaps. I take your point and your criticism and appreciate your love. The emotional component that I bring to the table is something I typically would diminish. It has taken me a little while to learn that I can have boundaries and limits to what I will and will not accept from others. In this case, though I may have learned a lot from this woman – even how not to behave – I am choosing to avoid hurts that are not inevitable. And I love you too.

  15. No matter what happened, your heart is in the right place and that’s all that matters! All is well and the best part is that you got to walk away from an “ugly” person who doesn’t deserve your dedication.

    1. Your generosity knows no bounds – and I am very appreciative!! I really wish my heart’s intent and the opportunity had matched up, but I know that I will find another avenue one way or another. Thank you Fran..hugs, m

  16. “That they were doing great things, with grace and patience and kindness. And I was so happy that they had come into my life albeit for this short, but meaningful time.” I suspect that they felt the same way about you, what you did, and why you were there, my friend.


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