How I Solved the Strange Case of the Stiletto Shoes
My mother used to have this thing she did almost every time I’d visit her. She’d take a long, laborious look at my high heels, and then shake her head as if to absolve herself of a crime. Because Lord knows she didn’t raise me to be immodest and worldly.
Au Contraire. My upbringing was religious with a capital R.
Fashion was considered to be ungodly. And high heel shoes? Two pointy pumps that would lead you straight to the highway to hell. So while my mother never said it directly, her message was clear. Those shoes are wrong. Which made me defensive and angry. I’d stitch a smile onto my face for our visit, but inside I was still on the battlefield. We’d talk about superficial things, neither of us acknowledging the stiletto in the room until it was time for me to leave.
That's when she called after me as I walked to my car. “Don't break an ankle in those shoes!” Ah, there it was. I came to expect this sort of an exchange when I went to see her. I prepared for her comments the way you’d prepare to be snapped with a rubber band—bracing myself as I walked up the steps to her house. The solution was obvious. Just wear flats. Put away the heels for our visit, then slip them on again as I drove back to the city. And yet, that didn’t feel authentic to me. I had already spent most of my life hiding my true nature in order to please others. No. The heels had to stay. I considered sitting her down and having an honest conversation about how I was feeling. But my mother and I hadn’t developed any safe boundaries at that point in our relationship. Any attempt at honesty always seemed to trigger emotional outbursts that did more damage than good. So I ignored her comments, wore my heels, and allowed an uncomfortable divide to grow between us. And then something happened. I started working with horses. And not in a “ride-em-cowboy” kind of way. But as a deliberate student of non-verbal communication. Because, (surprise, surprise) horses don’t speak English. They read and interpret ENERGY not words. They see through the social mask we wear and feel the truth of our intention beneath it. You can’t tell a horse you’re “fine” when you’re not. They know. And guess what. Deep down, so do people.
Matter is really just energy—and at the end of the day, we’re all radiant beings, broadcasting our inner states out to the world.
Even when we’re not speaking, on some level, our energy can be felt. My unconscious stories were influencing people and causing their reactions to me! Working with horses taught me that if I wanted people to respond to me in a positive way, I had to be centred and clear and steady. I had to own where I was in my life and be comfortable with it. Seems we can influence the behaviour of others just by being secure in ourselves. Ding! Ding! Ding! I decided to try this out with my mother. Because the truth is, the problem with the stiletto shoes was all about ME. On some deep level, I was still rebelling against my childhood religion. I was still waging war with an archaic belief system that equated clothing with spirituality. The shoes weren’t a symbol of freedom. They were a FUCK YOU to all the people who had tried to control me and clip my wings. And that kind of energy doesn’t bring peace. Peace can only come from self-love and acceptance.
Which meant I had to stop looking to others for approval.
Nothing would change until I became the core leader of my own life. (And believe me, once you do THAT, the other “horses” can feel the shift and will follow your lead) Developing a leadership energy requires commitment, but here's how I did it.
I began releasing my attachment to feeling victimized and abused.
I started accepting MYSELF and stopped making my happiness (and worthiness) anyone else’s job.
I started communicating in a more effective way—sending out little mental, energetic “love notes” to my mom.
"You don’t have to worry about me." "I’m okay." "I’ve got this." "I’m good." I stopped bracing myself for an attack and started seeing all the love that was there for me. I wore my beautiful shoes out of the joy they brought me and stopped worrying about what they might represent to others. And an amazing thing happened. The problem disappeared faster than you can say, “Jimmy Choo.” My mother never commented in a negative way on my clothing or footwear ever again. Not even once. On occasion, she still casts a sideways glance at my shoes, but there's no judgment there. Only playful curiosity. “Those are really beautiful,” she told me recently when I showed up in leopard print heels. Whoa. It's pretty obvious that something has changed. And I’m proud to say it was me. Sending you so much love,