Shoes That Fit

May 21, 2024 – I have more than enough.


What I am realizing is, I am likely going to collect stories or memories as they arise into my psyche on an inspired or provoked basis versus a weekly reflection. I will continue to maintain the standard of committing to a weekly blog, but I do want to take these moments to reflect on memories and feelings (or my interpretation of what had happened). I almost think that this might be more of a psychological exploration, but I feel as of late, that’s what I need to do to figure out who I am and what motivates me. What I am understanding is, what motivates me stems from many of my experiences as a child or young adult. Trauma is embedded in each story. It’s not one or two dramatic events (although I had those too) but rather the ongoingness of traumatic events that no one really noticed, or noticed and did not (or could not) say or do much about it. I’m guilty of that too. I’m sure I’ll unpack that too.

I have decided tonight that I will start numbering these stories or memories. I know that I have written some content before this series or on my other WordPress site with OpenETC. I will look for those over time, but I need to take the opportunity to document these stories or memories to unpack what I’ve experienced and I believe that many of these experiences related to my #ethnicidentity, positionality, and sense of self. These memories may be interrelated while others might be tangental. I am in the process of sense-making. Much of my past as a second-generation Chinese Canadian cis-gendered woman in BC is somewhat unknown to me. I’ve led much of my life striving to be a successful “white male” Canadian and did a horrible job in doing so because I found it confusing, disingenuous. and inauthentic to who I was/am. Maybe in my 50’s I’m permitted to say, “what’s up & why is it happening?

This story today was inspired by a walk with my friend the other day. I had worn runners for the Moosehide Campaign walk downtown and returned to the university replacing my runners with Crocs (which is my shoe of choice despite all of the stories I’ve heard about not be “safe” shoes to wear). That day, I continued the day with my Crocs and leaving my runners in my office overnight and for days to follow. When my friend prompted me via text to go for a walk, I realized that my runners were in my office at the university. I have another pair of runners, but those are meant for the gym (to walk in “circles” on the indoor track). Curiously, I thought I must have another pair of runners in storage. I went to go look Underneath several pairs of winter boots and on pair of gum boots, I found runners. Not just one pair of runners in the bin, but a few pairs. I chose one pair and voilĂ , the image for this blog post. These runners look almost new. During the walk I was left wondering, why so many pairs of shoes?

I may or may not have mentioned that I am the third child of three. My sister is 4-years older than I am and my brother is my older twin. Positionality in my family has always been a “thing” for me. I would grudge-fully call myself “number three.” My relatives would number themselves off in their families, meaning my aunts and uncles on both sides of my family. That said, they had many siblings within their families, 7 and 9 respectively (I may be corrected in future on these numbers). Anyway, I was 3 of 3. Admittedly, that concept waned on my for decades (aka., half a century to be exact). As a child, I would always get hand-me-down shoes and clothes. I never had “my clothes” per se. I just took clothes I was given, most times. This is not to say that my mom never bought me clothes, but I always remembered my shoes being too small. That’s it. I would ask for a new pair of shoes, but often I had to live with what I had for as long as I could. Interesting… I did not expect to write that last sentence (and I’m flooded with examples). Huh. [I just love writing as thinking.]

How I felt at that time was, my shoes are too small. What I understand now is, my parents were doing the best that they could with what they had. Runners were not cheap and it was best to wear shoes or anything to its fullest capacity before investing in a new pair. As mentioned in my last blog post, my mom was frugal. She had to be to keep food in our mouths and a roof over our heads. I am romanticizing the experience, a bit. I’m guessing, but I feel that I’m not too far of my guess. My mom was so proud of not having any debt, buying and building a house of their own as immigrants to Canada, and giving (always) to those in need when she could. I remember this pride when during her last #20days. I remembered about painting every wooden panel for the new house on 240 Prince Rupert Boulevard and realizing they painted the wrong side and had to do the work all over again. You can sense her frustration at the time while she laughed at the thought. For me, having shoes that don’t fit or shoes in general was a sore point for me, hence my many pairs of shoes.

Reflecting on this story is in some ways messed up. I don’t mean to judge myself, but what I am doing is looking at what has motivated me to buy shoes and examining why I have many pairs of them (not just runners). I can still remember those shoes.