My thoughts & opinions on whatever pops into my head. Keep in mind, that my tongue is always kept firmly in cheek. My political opinions are just that...opinions - not intended to offend or inflame. Opinions are not facts & should not be construed as such. As a Libertarian & fan of the Constitution, I believe in free speech, free thought & the right to express my thoughts, beliefs & opinions just as all others have the same right. You are free not to read it
This topic resonates with me because yesterday I returned a pair of shoes that I’d ordered online from Nordstrom and stumbled across a sale that called to me. I returned I pair and returned home with three.
My shoes have gotten steadily more expensive over the years: primarily because I have worked hard for 35 years and realized that it is better to purchase a selection of shoes that I love and will wear until they disintegrate rather than multiples of fashionable less expensive shoes that hurt my feet and fall apart after one season. And heels of any height beyond the currently fashionable kitten heel have started to hurt. Not only that, I’m more likely to be distracted and step off of a curb in a clunky way risking life and limb wearing heels. I must admit it vexes me to admit it. This from a woman who used to run through airports in stilettos of 4 1/2 inches or more. Now I can barely totter from one room to the other on such stilts.
From a shoe addict of a certain age (as the French would say) I’ve discovered these brands work for me:
There are Facebook groups devoted to love, lust and appreciation of these shoes. Ties are foldable ballet flats with no elastic. They do not rub or cause blisters and mold to your feet. After purchasing my first pair about 4 years ago, I’ve never been able to wear another ballet flat. As I type this I’m wearing my Poppy Tieks, a color I love so much I accidentally bought them twice.
The designs are fabulous, fit true to size, and are comfortable right out of the box.
Last fall I was in LA for a mediation and became disenchanted with the shoes I’d packed. Nordstrom in Santa Monica beckoned to me and I followed the call. I found a divine pair of Paul Green blush patent kitten heel pumps on sale and have been sold on Paul Green ever since. I must confess however, that I cannot bring myself to pay full price. If you can find Paul Green on sale, take the plunge. High quality. Maximum comfort.
Kitten Heel Pumps: Amalfi, Stuart Weitzman, & Donald Pliner;
I’ve found these pumps on Amazon, various department stores, Zappos.com and 6pm.com
Eileen Fisher footwear is consistently good quality & provides comfort - although some styles are bit stodgy. There are enough cut shoes to keep me looking!
Dressy Flat Mules: AGL and the Lewit Cara Mule (Nordstrom)
A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows public opinion.” Chinese Proverb
One of the greatest accomplishments a modern woman can hope to achieve is the ability to stay true to herself. There are constant onslaughts by the media, employers, family members, spouses, fashion gurus, counsellors, psychologists, teachers, politicians, universities, social media, clergy, friends, coworkers, and the little voices in one’s head that begin talking at 2:00am that try to tell us how to think, how to act, what to say, what not to say, how to be, what to believe….that is can be a monumental challenge to celebrate who we are individually and to stay true to ourselves.
That is not to say that we should ignore common sense. I have been working on enhancing my soft skills and my inner Eliza Doolittle for many years. I come by it naturally. My inner Madame de Stael or Mary Wollstonecraft has been difficult to quash. But I understand, in certain circumstances, that my natural self can be a hindrance and should be tamed. No doubt in the 18th or early 19th Century I would have been labeled and denigrated as a bluestocking if I’d been fortunate enough to be part of a salon.
Despite the difficulties it is important to maintain the substance of who I am, who you are, who we are and refuse to compromise to please others. There is so much pressure from public opinion to think a certain way, vote for a particular candidate, react predictably, embrace truths that others believe one should embrace, or agree with a certain ideology. But I will not compromise my inner soul or being because others disagree with me, think I am somewhat strident or opinionated or goofy or brash or cerebral or Libertarian. And it is okay.
This evening I practiced yoga with a newly certified teacher, who was substituting for one of my favorite Shiva Rea practitioners who is attending a retreat on the Greek isle of Lesbos. Paulette, the instructor, has a soothing voice that is perfect for yoga. This was a gentle yoga practice that focused on self-kindness; but what really struck me was the concept of Wabi-sabi (侘寂), the Japanese world view with a focus on the acceptance and beauty of transience and imperfection in the natural world.
I suppose the concept of Wabi-sabi resonated with me because I've always been attracted to objects with flaws. When I lived in Asia I would seek out objects in the local markets that spoke to me. I was always attracted to and collected works of art that had cracks, chips, fissures, irregular paint or carving, some facet that rendered it imperfect. To me the imperfection made the object special, unique, unlike any other. Not to mention the imperfect objects were also available for a discount!
The discussion this evening explained that Wabi-sabi is rooted in Zen Buddhism and originally associated with the Japanese tea ceremony in which the handmade vessels of irregular shape were considered beautiful in the imperfection. I feel gratitude that I can appreciate the beauty of imperfection and embrace it. Perhaps my 5 years in the east altered my concept of what is of value and what constitutes beauty in conjunction with my love of the Romantic poet Keats and his Ode to a Grecian Urn: 'beauty is truth, truth beauty,' – that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know".
To often I see that those of us in the west crave perfection instead of finding beauty and truth in what actually is. I've belonged to some groups on social media where people obsess about a 1/16 inch perceived difference in the stitching on a pair of handcrafted shoes, take photos and ask compadres for insight as to whether they can see the flaws! They can't see the beauty in the handcrafted shoes because they expect perfection for the price they paid. But handcrafted items should be expected to be imperfect. People are not perfect. I do not aspire to the unattainable perfection!
Wabi-sabi is authentic. It is a crack in an antique yellow ware bowl. It is the off-kilter gait of our two 3-legged cats. It is the gap in Lauren Hutton's front teeth. It is the beauty and charm of a worn Persian carpet. It is the comfort of a well loved book that has dog-eared pages. It is the beauty of an ugly shaped but tasty heirloom tomato. It is the appreciation an ancient, dilapidated building or collapsing barn that still radiates beauty. It's my appreciation of the landscape filled with uneven terrain, patches of ground covered with rock that will not support growth, wild berry briars that cannot be tamed, a ski slope driveway that needs resurfacing, our unfinished screened in porch, and the little dents in the sports car. I can celebrate and appreciate the imperfect and the authentic.
I am filled with gratitude that Paulette caused me to consider Wabi-sabi this evening, which reminded me of my love, contentment and appreciation for the imperfect people and things in my life. For how can an imperfect person really expect to be surrounded by perfection?
As I've learned in Al-Anon - progress, not perfection - leads to peace and serenity.