butterfly

Spread your wings and fly

Shoes have always been my favorite thing to shop for. I would get so excited when I found a style I liked and the store had my size. I’m tall, over six foot, but I never limited my shoes by the size of the heel. I simply embraced my tallness and proudly stood a little taller in a beautiful pair of heels.

Sadly, heels are something I can no longer wear. For one, an AFO brace won’t fit inside a fancy dress shoe. I wear one on each ankle to keep my feet and toes from dragging the ground as I attempt to take a step. And secondly, you’d be amazed how uncomfortable it is to wear a pair of heels while sitting in a wheelchair.

That wasn’t something I thought of in the past. I always thought I’d be stylin’ wearing a pair of heels in a wheelchair. But now that I use a chair, the reality of me wearing heels just isn’t wisdom. I’d be more likely to twist my ankle transferring to and from the chair by misstepping or my foot would unknowingly slip off the foot rest as I’m wheeling down the sidewalk and I’d hurt myself. I surely don’t need any more unnecessary scrapes and bruises.

I made the decision a few years ago to clean out my closet and get rid of all shoes that weren’t practical for me. It was a bittersweet moment seeing bags of shoes leaving out the front door to never return again. I felt like a part of me was being ripped away, but I knew it was the right thing to do.

For me, those shoes were a part of my past life. One tiny part that I was trying desperately to hold onto, yet something I knew I needed to leave behind. It was liberating to finally break down and give them all away.

There comes a time in each of our lives when we need to recognize the changes happening around us for what they are and embrace them. It’s not wrong to embrace change, even if it’s seemingly bad change.

I think in life we hold onto way too much…the good, the bad and the ugly. We know we need to let things go, but we don’t. Maybe the reason we do that is because we’ve grown comfortable with it hanging around. I know I still catch myself holding onto things that I shouldn’t keep around.

What is it that’s stopping me from letting them go? Why do I hold onto emotions, thoughts, dreams and even people that are doing me no good when all it takes is a decision to turn things around? A decision to stop carrying the emotional weights that come along with a chronic illness and a crazy, mixed up world. A decision to walk away from drama filled people and situations. I know it’s not an easy decision to make, but it is so freeing and well worth it when you get to the place of being able to simply let them go.

And don’t pack things up so you can store them away to use again in the future. Pack them up and let them go. It’s okay if you need to do it little bits at a time. Even a little bit is better than not at all.

You are too important and too beautiful to let your thoughts, emotions, feelings or others hold you back. Let them go then spread your wings and fly. Be the beautiful butterfly that you are.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  


About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

32 replies
  1. Kerry Roach says:

    Heels are a big no for me…I wore a pair for about 2hours on my wedding day..even had a cute pair of flats/daps to change into…no one could see under my dress….Am I allowed to mention brands?? as there is only one I use x

  2. Stephanie Culkin says:

    I haven’t worn heels for years! Just bought a nice pair of slip on sandals – extra wide fit! because my feet are swollen (thanks to the gabepentin). If I could I’d go bare foot all the time.

  3. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Why did you ware high heels for? I am a 5ft7″ tall and on’t feel short at all. But you have been taller than 6ft. That’s quite amazing to realise. Thanks for that information, I will certainly respect you problems with the MS monster that you’ve got.
    Well one of my problems has been stopped for a while. I had a spastic left leg when I went to be. It would, let me sleep causing me to gt a bit frustrated with it. I was talking to the lay at Immunotherapist a couple of days ago and she suggested Magnesium Citrate and it works. They are a bit of a horse tablet but it works.
    I am pleaed to get a winning against the monster now.

  4. Tania Padilla says:

    I love shoes….and if they are heels….the best! I can use them a little.:.after a couple hours I throw them……Now I’m loving dresses…..buying them fills me

  5. Jo Anderson says:

    has anyone tried the electrical nerve simulation thing my ms nurse and physio are talking about? does it work? I’m finding it harder and harder to lift my leg. x,

  6. Karen Beck
    Karen Beck says:

    My feet are very important to me and finding comfortable shoes is a chore. Sketchers with memory foam sandals are my best friend. Heels are a thing of the past but still in my closet.

  7. Angel Gliozzi-Cortum says:

    I’m just now getting to this phase. For I loved my heels. Now I can’t even wear cute flat sandals without being in pain. It’s tennis shoes or barefoot for me. What I want to know tho….why can no one make cute comfortable flat shoes? All the comfortable, supportable ones look like shoes made for grandmas.

  8. Marcie Roudebush Dryden says:

    I’ve not really been a shoe fanatic. But I do like them to match outfits, and be fashionable. That be said, my days of wearing heels is gone too. Just another thing to grieve in the journey with MS

  9. Mary
    Mary says:

    I still haven’t let go yet. I love high heels. I wore them all the time. I have a huge collection of them packed away in my basement. I haven’t been able to let go of them yet, I keep hoping that one day there will be a cure and I can wear them again. I think I keep them just to keep me hopeful. Not ready to get rid of them just yet 😬

  10. Nicola Lantsbery says:

    Could I ask a question ? I have been slowly getting worse with walking. Can only stand about 5 mins then feel the need to sit before I collapse in a heap. My left foot is the worse but both are dragging whilst attempting to walk with a stick it’s relentless every day. Could this be a sign of progressing ms ? Have been waiting 8 month to see my consultant it’s a joke, but I do see my specialist nurse next week.

  11. Maureen Meyer Hauswald says:

    I gave away so many pairs. I still have some that I will probably never wear. I know I should let them go, but it wasn’t that long ago I could wear them without tripping…not just heals…sneakers, flats…I trip on anything if the tip catches. I found a couple pair where the toes slope up, but someone put cement in my legs and I get tired when I wear them. I wear socks a lot…inside and in the yard…this week, I ordered deerskin moccasins…no sole..one piece…wore them all day…inside and out in the rain. I think they will help, but I still miss my beautiful shoes…I know it could be worse, I’m just not ready to give all of them up.

  12. Sandy Jones says:

    I have over thirty pairs of sneakers. Many colors for every occasion, I even have a pair or two that I will wear with a dress – if I ever wear a dress.

  13. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    I learned the hard way. Took a tumble in shoes too high and broke the fifth metatarsal in my left foot on the outside edge. It took forever to heal, I was in a boot for 12 weeks. Still hurts when it gets cold. Yes, all my shoes are sensible now! But there are a lot of cute sensible shoes out there that give good support, I just had to change my style a bit.

  14. Leah
    Leah says:

    With regard to shoes, I’ve had to do the same thing…sadly get rid of them. All my footwear need to be laced shoe styles to secure my AFO. I still shop for shoes…on line, but now I’ll look for
    1.5-1.75in. laced styles with a wedge heel or flat platform that will give me that extra height to my 5’6 frame. Fortunately, these styles have kept me steady on my feet…with the help of forearm crutches. Likewise, I’ve started to get rid of stuff from my past that I had stored in a storage unit. This has been emotionally draining but mostly liberating.:)

  15. Kathy Hamilton Doiron says:

    Tomorrow I’m leaving for a week at the beach house with my sister chicks. I’m taking along several pairs of shoes that it’s no longer possible for me to walk in; we’ll be having a ‘help yourself to shoes hour.’

  16. Angela Kirby
    Angela Kirby says:

    I have succumbed to wedges-on-Sunday but must follow your example and get rid of those other “heels” (I have always luuuuuved shoes!) Hopefully, someone else can possibly get pleasure from them.

  17. Emily Simonson says:

    I guess this is one area I am lucky in. I have really never wore much for heals and I just hate shoes period! If I can go barefoot I am the happiest girl in the world! My mom still jokes that I can’t even sit down for a meal with my shoes on. As a kid if I came in from playing outside, even if I was going straight back out, my shoes were off.

  18. Beatrix Huber says:

    I’m sorry. 🙁 I was never one of those women you are into shoes. Purses and leaving me in a hardware store… that’s what MY heart beats for. Lol I need a purse in every color to go with my outfits though. And I could watch handymen for hours!

    • Stephanie Beck
      Stephanie Beck says:

      Beatrix, I’m with you. I’ve never been a lover of shoes, except for two years ago. I had lost a tremendous amount of weight and my husband and I were going to Charleston, SC to celebrate our 15 year anniversary. (Charleston was where we had gone on our honeymoon). I bought the cutest pair of white wedge heels that made me feel so attractive and sexy and not to mention tall, as I’m only 5’1″. I had also bought a new sexy dress to wear out to eat and have an evening on the town with so life long friends that we had not seen for years. I felt like the most glamorous lady in Charleston. When we met our friends, Kim said, “I can’t believe what I am seeing. My friend who didn’t walk for 3 solid months and then walked with assistive devices for two years is standing before me smaller than I’ve ever seen her and in HEELS.” We both shared some celebratory tears and laughs. I made it thru diner, in which we took a cab to the restaurant, but then after dinner we decided to walk to a hotel with a rooftop bar for drinks and dancing. When it came time to leave and get back to their hotel where we left our car, we couldn’t find a cab because it was too late. I didn’t want to complain or make a scene so I tried my hardest to walk. My legs started to get spastic and my weaker R leg started to give out. I sat down on the side of the street and took off my shoes and started to walk barefoot but I had waited to long, had been way to stubborn and my legs refused to walk even barefoot. My husband and Kim’s husband got under each arm and they carried me back to their hotel because “a classy lady shouldn’t have black feet after the night we had had. I put my shoes back on long enough to ride back to our hotel and get to our room. I was crying by that time because my legs were hurting so bad. My sweet husband took my “glass slippers” off put them back in the box and since then, 2+ years ago, they have not been removed from that box. I can’t bring myself to give them away because they are a reminder of the night that I felt like Cinderella. They are an incentive to me that if I climbed back up on that MS mountain one time, maybe I can do it again.
      Now, I pretty much only wear Sanuk’s. I have 17 different pair. My ortho dr and my massage therapist tell me all the time that I need to change to a supportive tennis shoe but they make my feet to hot and with my Sanuk’s I can wear them with anything, even a dress. But Beatrix, I’m like you, being in a shoe store does nothing for me but take me to Ace Hardware, Lowes or Home Depot and I’m in my happy place.

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