I love shoes. I really do. Even though I’m tall—over 6 foot—I would wear 3 inch heels proudly. When multiple sclerosis came along, it messed up my shoe choices. I could no longer wear heels because my numb feet and legs were unable to manage even the slightest of wobbles or unsteadiness. I also had a tendency to walk out of a flip-flop without even realizing I had done so and slip-ons, well, let’s just say they wouldn’t stay on.
I remember the day I decided to pack up my unwearable shoes to donate to charity. It was a hard hitting blow of reality for me. One I didn’t want to face but knew I needed to undertake. I couldn’t walk in most of the shoes I owned and they were just filling up space in my closet, so instead of seeing them every day and feeling sad because I couldn’t wear them, I decided to pass them on to those who could. It was a tearful time, but a freeing one as well.
And for anyone thinking, “Oh, just save them to wear anyway since you’re in a wheelchair.”
That’s not actually as simple as it sounds. It’s amazing how unstable my feet, ankles and legs are even from a seated position in a wheelchair. Flats are my only option, although I have been known to leave the house barefoot more than once. Besides, I can still look stylish in flats.
I knew by giving away my unwearable shoes, I would be able to bring smiles to people and that someone would be walking tall and proud in a new pair of heels—new to them at least. That made my heart smile. Knowing that I was helping someone else made my day brighter.
Over time, I have realized that there are moments when reality knocks on your door and other times when it smacks you upside the head opening your eyes to what you’ve known for quite some time…that multiple sclerosis has changed your life. But don’t let MS change your heart by allowing it to grow bitter and resentful of what you are no longer able to do.
I guess some people could see me giving my shoes away as not being hopeful enough. That I am giving up and allowing MS to call the shots, but I don’t see it that way. To me, if I’m not using something, I would rather give it away to those that can than keep it stored away for a future time that may never come.
That’s reality, not hopelessness…and besides, they are only shoes. If the time should ever come when I’m able to walk free or even dance, at that time I will go shopping and buy a new pair of shoes.
Life is so much more than shoes and, oh, so much more than things stored away. Life is for living now….today. Don’t hold onto what used to be. Move forward into the now and live, letting go of those things that hold you back.