As a little girl, my favorite Disney story was not particularly Cinderella. But for a girl who didn't particlarly love this character, I was notably fond of the glass slipper and the concept that a fairy godmother could make things better with a simple flick of her magic wand.
Out comes the jelly sandal. Colorless, in pink, in turquoise, clear or opaque. And I was in love; especially with the clear and colorless ones that shimmered in the sun with their glitter. I loved every aspect of those shoes. I remember observing that I could feel the warmth or the chill of the ground beneath my feel so well in these shoes. I enjoyed stepping from the sidewalk to the black top in the shoes and observing the changes. When not wearing the shoes, I'd stare at them and observe the edges of the plastic. Sometimes there would be a piece I could peel off between one of the many holes in its body. I even loved the feel of the shoe as it would become wet with the perspiration from the bottoms of my feet on a hot day. Sometimes dirt would clump in them and I loved to clean them out. I had a great affinity for those shoes and missed them greatly in the periods of time when they would fade out of popularity and would cease to be manufactured.
Throughout my life I have watched for jellies. The most recent pair that I purchased was from Urban Outfitters and saw about 4 outings on the town before the plastic began to fall away and deteriorate. As I was packing to move very suddenly out of my apartment with my former fiance, I threw those out. They had always looked dirty to me, but they were the closest I could get to my glass slipper. I have missed them ever since, thinking about where I might be able to find a new pair.
And then today I was shoe shopping. No shoes had particularly hooked me and I was on my way out when I stumbled upon--what else?--Jelly flats. From afar they looked like beaded shoes. They glistened in the light of the store. As I came closer, I realized their true identity and the first thought in my mind was "It's a glass slipper!". As old as I am I still associate them with feeling like a princess. I nearly walked away from them but my mom talked me into having a second look. They were, after all, Steve Maddens, and they were, after all, only twenty bucks. I walked back with a hop in my step "I'm going to get some glass slippers!" I could hear my inner-child chant.
As I approached them I had such affinity for them. These were not the typical "glass slipper" jelly flats. I observed them the way I had as a child. The sparkle was not in a glitter piece inside of the plastic. Rather the gel glistened beautifully itself because of it's facets, cut like glass or a fine diamond. Instead of the geometric and evenly distributed connections in a connect-the-dot pattern on the typical jelly, there was an intricate and messy webwork of smaller strings and holes. No plastic to punch out. Just perfection.
And it occured to me that a shattered glass slipper is exactly where I am in life. I had entrusted my metaphorical slipper to my so-called Prince Charming. I felt his insecurity in holding it and yet I turned my back to it. I so wanted to trust him with that prized posession. I felt him quiver, and still I only glanced over my shoulder until I heard it shatter; felt it shatter. And as I turned and knelt to pick up the pieces, he walked away. But there I still remained. Picking up the pieces one by one. Discovering with every sliver, who I am. Who I want to be. Who I had become.
These are all pieces of me. An intricate webwork of a human being. And these are my shoes. For the most part, they depict me. Shattered, but somehow put together. Quality. Glimmer. Detail. Reflection. Present-time. Fun. Playful. Flexible. Confident, and most of all, looking for an adventure in this new opportunity.
And just like my shoes, I too will eventually belong to someone who adores me for all that I am.