Daily Archives: October 2, 2006

The Red Shoes

I have washed not only the kitchen floor, but all the hardwood as well. I have brought my office carpet up from where it was in summer storage and scrubbed it clean.

I’ve done editing, some on my MS, some on the one I’m reading for the publisher.

I am too awake.

So I will tell you about the find I thought impossible.

This season, I decided that I wanted red shoes. Red leather shoes, preferably with a small yet sensible heel, and a strap. Why? I have no earthly idea why. I just realised one day that I wanted red shoes. I think it stemmed from a desire to wear something concrete that reminded me that life was fun. I don’t really understand the connection, because I find red a very difficult colour for me. It has to be a very specific kind of red, with lots of blue tone to it, and not too bright.

I only mentioned this odd desire to one or two people, because really, red shoes? How impractical is that? And remarkably unlike me.

I hate shoe shopping, by the way; it’s right up there with bra shopping. I have long narrow Cinderella feet and buying shoes is a pain because so few styles actually fit, and I’m picky about heels. My toes usually feel crammed into the end of most shoes. Also, my heel slips out of most pairs unless there’s a strap. My right foot is an entire half-size larger than my left. Shoe shopping is so traumatic that I don’t go into footwear stores unless I have to. Since this odd notion struck I’ve been engaging in odd behaviour for me: I’ve been glancing into shoe shops as I walk by. Red leather stands out. (Most of it seems to be patent — shudder! — this fall, from what I’ve seen.) Red shoes are easy to spot amongst the brown and black, so I can see them very quickly and usually discard them as possibilities right away. Too wedge, too platform, too patent (ugh), too bright, too chunky, too high a heel, too flat, etcetera, etcetera.

Except today, when I was walking through the mall, having stopped to look for plain shirts for Liam. Today out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of a lovely little shoe deep inside a shop, and actually went in to take a closer look for the first time this season. The shoe was a deep blue-red suede, closer to a claret colour, almost a ballerina flat with a wisp of a heel, and a tiny strap close to the curve of the vamp. It was lovely.

But it had two strikes against it: it was suede (I have two pairs of suede loafers that I never wear because if they get wet they’re pretty much ruined and I like my shoes to be a bit more practical than that, especially in this climate), and the price (they were over one hundred and twenty dollars). Expensive, impractical: not even worth trying on.

As I turned to go, I caught sight of another red shoe. It was soft leather, still blue-red but lighter in tone, with a calm gentle curve of bone-coloured decorative stitching along the edge and over the toe. It had a higher heel, with the strap slightly further from the curve of the vamp. They were almost exactly what I had (admittedly vaguely) envisioned.

I picked it up and played with it a bit. The leather was very soft, but sturdy; it had a good sole; the price didn’t make me want to pass out. And I eventually thought Heck, why not, it can’t hurt to try, and asked to try it on. The size I usually take was a bit loose; the size lower was a just-fit. (They’re made narrow and long. Imagine that.) They were comfortable when I walked around. They made me smile shyly when I looked down at them.

I thought about it as I walked back and forth, and then I took them off. They cost one hundred dollars. They are red shoes. How often would I wear them?

I asked for the shop’s card, and the model number, and said I’d think about it. And I’ve been thinking all day. Off and on it’s been How often would I wear them? and Hundred dollar shoes! and They are exactly what I imagined. I didn’t think I’d ever find them, so I hadn’t thought about what I’d do if I met them. The likelihood was so slim, after all.

At dinner, when I said, “They’re red shoes, how often would I wear them?”, HRH replied, “As often as you wanted.” Which is a very sensible answer. And my feet don’t grow any more; they’d last me a long time. They’re made by a good, reliable, well-made company.

And I just found fifty dollars’ worth of gift certificates in my purse that I’d forgotten I had, part of my last birthday present from my in-laws.

I hate shoe shopping. I so rarely find shoes that fit properly.

I think I’m coming home with this pair tomorrow. And I will wear them whenever I please.

In Which She Examines Hurt

You do not have to validate negativity. You do not have to accept it.

t! has an excellent column on Naysayers today. Some of its advice came in very handy for me this afternoon as I dealt with the aftermath of the crap that was thrown at me this morning.

Show this person what his words are doing, how he hurts you with them. How he hurts himself by thinking these thoughts, before he even speaks them.

The hardest thing about today has been dealing with trying to point out that I have been horribly, horribly hurt by someone else’s deliberately thought-out nasty words. Words that were unnecessary, words that I didn’t have to receive; words that I feel were given to me because I wasn’t respected. I don’t know if I managed to get the point across, the point that I was hurt by being the recipient of the strike at someone else through me. Probably not. I made the effort, but I doubt it was understood or even heard over the defense of the action.

And now there’s a huge obstacle between people, all because of these words. I’m sure the person who sent them thought that saying those words would make them feel better; however, all it’s done is make everyone feel worse. And I’ve said words back that define who I am, and what my limits are. That’s the only good that I can see of this whole thing. It doesn’t balance out the bad parts, not even close. My day is ruined; the trust I had in someone else has been damaged; I’m forced to try to work through this by pacing, crying, yelling at walls, writing out my feelings and thoughts, seeking to make some sort of sense of it all, instead of actually doing the work that was scheduled for the day. I thought I wouldn’t be able to sit at the computer at all (hence my earlier statement warning you about not seeing me for a while), but I keep coming back to journal things, some here, some privately. It helps, a bit. I work with words. They mean things to me. They’re how I explore. And perhaps that’s why I’m so utterly crushed when someone I love and trust uses them to do something deliberately hurtful to me.

I am, however, lucky that I can think things through by writing them out. By tonight, I may have reached a place where I can actually do work once the boy’s gone to bed. I know that I’m sick and need my sleep, but I’ve got to get something added to this MS, and I just cannot focus through the storm right now.

But first, I’m going to go wash the kitchen floor, because it’s a task that I hate and I can’t possibly get into a worse mood. And I’ll feel that I accomplished something.

Zero Tolerance

Apology received. I had to demand it, but I got it.

If you think you perceive an insult, even an unintentional one, talk directly to the person who originated it and work it out. Do not use me as an intermediary. Do not hand the emotional burden to me. It is not mine. It is yours. Do not insult me on your way to insult someone else for the insult you perceived which was clearly not intended as such.

I have zero tolerance for drama — zero. If you initiate it, and try to draw me into it, I will not stand for it. I am not a doormat for people to walk over, to suck up their resentment about something that does not directly involve me. It may come as a surprise to some that I’m demanding to be treated as an adult after years of biting my tongue. I am fully within my rights to demand an apology for something that treats me as incidental and not worth the civil considerate adult treatment that others merit. Familiarity breeds contempt, or so the saying goes. I’m tired of being walked over by people who don’t see me as an individual with rights and feelings because they’re too close to me.

The day is totally shot, and I’m livid about that as well. I don’t have work days to waste.

What Holiday?

We’re back. Yes, we decided to drive to Toronto, stay one day, then drive back Saturday, and then HRH would drive four hours in the opposite direction to work on Sunday. It was ultimately his decision, and I can understand why he did it: to stay home would mean everyone brooding and a totally ruined family vacation this year.

Well, things weren’t great yesterday, being the day after the drive home, what with everyone being stuck in cars for long periods of time, and both Liam and I with really bad colds, and sleep being not restful. Scarlet and Blade made us dinner on Saturday night after we got home, which was unexpected and so kind, and then again last night, and just before that they even tried to kidnap my son in order to give me fifteen minutes of peace with a cup of hot tea. It would have succeeded, too, if I hadn’t just put him down for the night, two hours early. As it was, I loved the tea, and the thought, and the caring.

I thought today would be all right. Or better, at least. And it’s not, because I just downloaded five days’ worth of mail and found a deliberate insult waiting for me that has made me see red. What little benefit I got from the weekend has been totally ruined. And I use the same phrase I used in the first paragraph to make a point: All that effort, down the drain.

I am livid. And I’ve calmed down to this point, after an hour. I can finally string vaguely coherent words together. I don’t think I’ll be able to work today, I’m so furious.

Email is such an easy way to take calculated shots at people. You don’t have to look someone in the face when you insult them. It’s cheap, and it’s cowardly. And everyone I know and call family or friend should know better.

Don’t expect to hear from me again for a while.