The Healing Power of…Shoes?

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Dance Starz studio (and later the mall)

Woman’s styling class with Marieta and power shopping with Katie

I have this plan, see.  I’m going to be this amazing, feminine, yet sexy, and strong, and powerful, graceful, and technically excellent ballroom dancer.  That’s how I show up in my head, in any case.  But the picture in my brain differs considerably from what I see in the mirror every day.

Even though this gap between reality and the vision I have for myself is as wide as the Grand Canyon, the only way to bridge the chasm is to begin to take steps in real life to bring this vision into becoming a reality.

The Stefanie in my mind’s eye is sassy, and confident.  She wears cute outfits on her fit body and looks “put together.”  She wears make up and takes the time to style her hair.  If she feels like it, she thinks nothing of wearing leopard skin prints unabashedly, paired with fuchsia high heels, that scream, “Look at me!”

The Stefanie in the mirror wears black (it’s slimming, right?).  She rarely wears make up.  He hair is frequently found pulled back in a ponytail.  She’s pudgy and shy.  She can’t look into her own eyes in  the mirror, much less those of any audience member.  She wears flat shoes, also black, because they are easy and comfortable, and don’t draw much attention.

But luckily for me, I have friends who support me in my vision.  My friend Katie, I’ve mentioned her before in previous posts, is a fashionista!  She saw my sad black shoes and knew that something needed to be done.

“We’re going shopping,” she tells me, “you need some SOS pumps.”

To me SOS means help, and for certain I need an assist in this arena.  However, according to Katie, SOS really means, “Sex on a stick.”  ( Can I even write about this in a blog…I’m blushing as I write this!)


But that vision in my head of what I could be won’t shut up.  I take a deep breath and think, yes, I’m going to do this.  I don’t know when, but we will.

Yesterday was the day.  I got an email forwarded from Katie about a shoe sale at a local store.  I look at the pictures of exotic pumps and text her back, “Holy Hell.”

We made an appointment for the very same evening.

But first its a group Latin styling class aimed at women taught by Marieta.  I swear, I get an education just by watching this woman move.  She is gorgeous.

First she warms us up, feet, ankles, legs, hips, rib cage, arms.  We are ready to go.  She teaches a little Latin Rumba combination, explaining we are to be feminine and move as though we were swimming under water, fluidly, like seaweed waving under the sea.

Next it is Cha Cha.  She explains that each dance has a different dynamic and characteristic.  We need to move in a way that will create a distinction in our movements, avoiding a monochromatic performance.  Cha Cha has pop, pizzaz, drama, and sharpness.  We do a similar combination as the one for Rumba, and surprisingly, dancing beside this beautiful dancer, I’m creating similar pictures with my body.  I pat myself on the back.  Forget the fact that prior to coming to the lesson I was having a “skinny day.”  There’s nothing like standing next to a professional ballroom dancer to shatter a “skinny day,” but hey, I’m moving, and with each shake and shimmy, I’m one calorie closer to being in shape.

Class ends and Katie is there ready to go.  We speed off toward the mall.  It is 8:05 and the mall closes at 9pm.  But we are on a mission and I intend on accomplishing it.  We park and walk across the mall to the shoe store Katie has in mind.

Remember that scene from “Pretty Woman,” where Julia Roberts in full-on hooker garb walks into the ritzy upscale boutique and the saleswomen won’t give her the time of day.  Well, it was kind of like that.  The sales girls eye me sceptically.  First off, I’m in my black dance pants and black sweater top and those sad black flat shoes.  I wear none of the make up that adorns their pretty faces.  I’m twice the size of their normal customer.  My hair is pulled back in the famous pony tail.

Katie, however, wastes no time.  She asks for Lisa, whom she spoke with earlier today requesting her to set aside a few shoe models.  Lisa hasn’t complied, but oh well.  Katie begins grabbing pumps from here and there and I begin trying them on.

I have to admit, I am so glad I had back up.  If I had attempted to go into this store by myself, I would have chickened out.  I don’t have any confidence in this arena and especially with the way the sales women were interacting with me I would have felt very out of place, very uncomfortable.  Why do I give my power away like that?  I’m not entirely sure.  But with a true friend at my side, we created our own “bubble” of fun and exploration.  We had a blast.  I’m so proud of us – we got some SOS pumps in 23 minutes flat!  Talk about the power of intention and committment.

As I was trying on one pair, walking, just walking in them mind you, I wobbled.  Katie bust out laughing.

“You can do the Cha-Cha in 2.5 inch heels but you can’t walk!  You showed me the Rumba walks, now let me show you how to do the runway walk.”

She demonstrates how to walk on the tippy toes.

The sceptical sales girl suggests that perhaps I should try a lower heel first.  Clearly she doesn’t approve of my choice of SOS heels.  But you know what?  Screw that.  This isn’t about her and what she might be thinking.  It is about me.  And I’m not going to settle for less than what we came here for.  I’m committed.

I decide on the pair I want and tell the sales girl to ring me up.  In a flash, I am almost overcome with emotion.  For one split-second, I see the vision of Stefanie completely unfolded, the Stefanie who wears shoes like this.  I see that really, I am this girl, who fears not to wear bright fire-engine-red too-high-to-be-practical heels.

Yes, I really, really am.

It may be starting with my feet, but the feet have stepped through the partition from my inner mind’s eye to real life.

One foot represents me now, the other represents what I am stepping into becoming

Who knew that buying a pair of shoes could be so healing?  I certainly didn’t!

These are the ones I finally decided upon.

Now, what the heck am I going to wear with these!?

Again, Katie to the rescue.  We are set to find an outfit on Thursday.  I think I’ve been possessed by a “body snatches pod person.”  Then again, maybe not.  Maybe the real Stefanie, the one who’s been hiding all her life, finally feels like it is safe to come out.  She needs the support of her friends and a lot of love and compassion, but little by little, I detect her flower blossoming.  And all because of the support of a friend  who helped me find the courage to go and buy some silly, red shoes.  (I mean, awesome, sexy shoes).

I just need to learn how to walk in them….

5 thoughts on “The Healing Power of…Shoes?

  1. You go girl! As it’s been said “a good pair of heels can change your life!”

    We have many parallels -I am also an evolving ballroom dancer – I always say I’ve never worked so hard at something to be mediocre in my life! I do International Standard and have danced for 6 years. I’m about 60lbs overweight – and although I lose 20 at times ( before competitions) I sabotage myself and gain it back. But as I said – evolving and growing – not done yet!

    Glad to have found your blog – I will follow it with joy and anticipation of all your growth.

    • loveablestef says:

      Hi Ellen, Thanks so much for your comment! It has been a busy and long day but I finally have a moment to reply and wanted to ackknowledge you. Way to go, girl, sticking with it for 6 years. That is great! I know the self-sabatoge game, and have played that one for a long time. Just when I start to make progress, or feel good about myself, I find some way to derail the train. Right now I have some positive momentum and excellent support with friends, not to mention the accountability of having a blog. Seriously, accountability is my friend. It is so easy to “cheat” when no one is looking, don’t I know it! I’m glad you found my blog too! Every single person who takes the time to read my ramblings, and especially leave a comment, means so much to me. I support you in your path…maybe we’ll even meet at a competition some day! But you won’t catch me doing International Standard anytime soon…that stuff is HARD! Take care, and feel free to proclaim your big hairy audacious goal to the world, here or otherwise. You might be suprised at the support that shows up for you. I can’t wait to hear about your successes, or whatver comes along the way as you move forward in your growth and evolution. Sincerely, Stef

  2. Thanks! I may take you up on that! At the moment, my goal it to stay motivated. For me, I can’t focus on # til I am even ready or willing to care enough for myself. Somehow this time of year is always tough. I put on a smiling face for the holidays and then hold my breath through Valentines Day – being single, overweight and 50 can be tough – yes I know 2 out of 3 are choices and the other is a blessing – but that doesn’t make the emotional or mental aspects any less difficult. So for now, my goal is to be willing.

    I have a comp coming up the first week in March – and Showcase the second week in June – then I will be having some foot surgery over the summer so I probably won’t be able dance for a few months ( withdrawal) but I have put it off for years because I did not want to miss competitions, etc. Now I really have to do it or I won’t be able to wear shoes! So when I have those videos I will share with you.

    • loveablestef says:

      I think being willing is a great place to start. Sometimes it has been all I’ve been able to do, but it creates movement, cracks open the door, so different opportunities can arise. I’d love it if you chose to guest blog. Just let me know when. Consider it an open invitation. Also, I’d LOVE to see video! Please do share. I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties with your feet. Hopefully that surgery will fix things for you.

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