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I Got Rid of the Shoes
10 years is a totally normal time to process a breakup, right?
Welcome to another edition of Love, Peace, and Tacos, a magical corner of the internet where the vibes are good, the conversations are honest, and the guacamole is free-flowing. Be sure to tune into the latest episode of my podcast, We’re Never Doing This Again. You can also listen to this edition of the newsletter below.
I hope you are all having a good week so far. It seems like spring has finally sprung on Vancouver Island. I can’t wait to go outside and bask in the warmer temperatures & overabundance of cherry blossoms. But first, I have big news. I finally got rid of these shoes:
I know what you’re probably thinking. Uh, Simone, I should care…why exactly?
Because these shoes have been haunting my existence.
Let me explain.
In 2011, I ended a six-year relationship with my then-partner — a big-hearted and incredibly kind man that we’ll call Emmett — and moved out of our shared home in Toronto.
Emmett loved me in a way I’d only experienced from family — selflessly, and unconditionally. Although this was very much what I needed at the time, I didn’t always know how to accept his love. Being with someone who cared about me so blindly, only reinforced how sad and broken I felt at the time.
So, I did things to fuck up the relationship. I stayed out all night, did drugs, had emotional affairs with other people, and kept him at arm’s length. All of this stuff just made me hate myself even more.
Eventually, I realized that in order to heal I needed to be alone.
At the age of 31, I made the decision to leave Emmett and moved back to the West Coast. Even though I knew this was the right choice, during that first year of being apart I missed Emmett terribly.
A year after our split, I returned to Toronto to pack up my storage locker and ship everything home. I also saw Emmett. Thus began our “McRib era” (a three week where we got back together for a limited time only). During this time, Emmett shot a series of headshot photos that I still love (& use) and gifted me these red patent leather pumps.
I loved these shoes and wore them whenever I got the chance. It was the 2010’s so I usually styled them with a pair of black J-Brand jeggings or a fit-and-flare dress made of scuba material (remember those?)— a giant statement necklace included.
When styles shifted, I kept the shoes. I was still holding onto the idea that someday I might need to give up on freelancing & return to an office job…and wouldn’t these shoes be perfect for standing around the water cooler?!
I also held onto the shoes because of what they represented: love in its sweetest, most unadulterated form. Even as I learned to find that love within myself, I kept the shoes because they were proof of what was possible; that I didn’t have to do it all — that once upon a time, someone loved me too.
I kept them in my shoe closet for years (unworn!) until I moved them to the basement, where they became a footwear version of The Tell-Tale Heart. With them out of sight, I became more acutely aware of their presence.
I thought about the shoes often, feeling equally guilty for not wearing them (but they’re so nice!) and for holding onto them (but they’re so nice!) I cannot overstate how much unnecessary self-created anxiety these shoes caused.
(Welcome to my obsessive-compulsive brain!)
Then it hit me: nothing about these shoes felt good anymore.
They weren’t a reminder of love. They were a reminder of a painful break-up and a version of myself I’d long since shed.
The shoes had to go.
However, before I sent them on their way to the Great Big Goodwill Pile in the Sky, I decided to try them on one more time. Just for old-time’s sake!
Reader, the shoes no longer fit.
Sure, I could get them on (kind of) but they pinched my feet and created some very unsightly toe cleavage.
I couldn’t help but see the symbolism and laugh.
Sometimes the thing we’re holding onto — an old relationship, way of being, or the idea of ourselves — is quite literally, no longer a good fit.
If I saw those red shoes in a store today, I likely wouldn’t pick them up. I also wouldn’t choose the relationship I had with my ex.
While I’ll always treasure the good times we had (there were many) his love was so big, so all-consuming that it often felt like mine could never measure up. In the worst of times, it felt airless and smothering.
This reminds me of something I brought up on a recent episode of We’re Never Doing This Again.
Love is a renewable resource.
The idea that you only get a limited number of “true loves” in your life is complete bullshit.
I was clinging so tightly to an old version of love, that I didn’t even stop to consider whether it was what I wanted anymore. When in reality, what I want from my relationships (and footwear) is very different in my early ’40s than what I was drawn to in my early 30s or (yikes) early 20s — and thank goodness.
The kind of love I crave now is driven by a sense of joy and passion, but also equality, freedom, and healthy boundaries.
I can find this within myself and others.
Most importantly, there’s more than enough to go around.
Is there an old pair of shoes (an identity, a version of love) that you need to shed? Leave a comment or hit reply. We can support each other.
Things I’m loving 💖
Friends, I’m officially in my Ken Marino era. As a long-time fan of both Veronica Mars and Parks & Rec, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to watch Party Down. I recently watched all three seasons and then watched them again. I’ve since moved on to catching up on The Other Two (another favorite comedy from the past few years), which also features Mr. Vinnie Van Lowe himself.
I’m also in my Darius era. I’ve been binge-ing Atlanta, a show that I loved when it first came out, and then got so overwhelmed by TV that I…just forgot to watch it? Catching up on these comedies has felt fun and joyful.
Love, Peace and Tacos,