Me and My Shoes: An Impossible Love Story

I once watched an episode of SpongeBob that showed a deranged chocolate salesman pretending to have a rare medical condition where his skin was made of tissue paper and his bones made of glass, in a sympathy bid to make SpongeBob and Patrick buy his chocolate bars.  Every time he moved all you heard were his screams and glass shattering, as well as tragic violin music playing in the background.  This is the closest analogy I have found to the ordeal I go through wearing shoes.  That or a Greek tragedy, where you think two people (or in this case a girl and a pair of perfect shoes) are destined to be together, for them later to get smighted by Zeus/ killed by a Minotaur etc.

I love shoes.  I buy shoes.  I just can’t seem to wear shoes.  My feet hate me.  My feet want to be free.  My feet are so controlling that they impose conditions on when and how I can wear them – they basically hold my feet to (crippling) ransom!  When I buy a beautiful pair of new shoes I find myself crying at the till much to the horror of the assistant (“SECURITY!”) thinking, how will they punish me this time?!  Here are some of their demands:

  • Suede boots – You can be worn on a dry day between the temperatures of 10 and 15 degrees. If you violate these conditions you will receive a shock in the form of agonising cramps (too cold) or blisters (too hot) depending on how we feel.  Hell, sometimes we’ll throw a curveball and give you both.
  • Leather boots – You may be worn with socks not tights otherwise you will suffer the consequences. If you fail to adhere to our strict instructions we will peel off and send you the skin off the sole of your foot.  Please bear in mind, we may choose not to act on specific occasions to lull you into a false sense of security, but if you try it again you will be punished twice as severely.
  • High heels – You may buy high heels between 2 and 3.5 inches in height and you may NEVER wear stilettos. If you do not comply we will break your ankle(s)!
  • Doc Martins – We’re aware these are meant to be comfy, but we don’t really like purple.  So we’ll arbitrarily punish you for your fashion choices as we see fit.
  • Comfiest shoes I have ever worn – If worn more than 3 times in a row we will make you bleed until you are unable to wear them for at least a week.
  • Flip-flops and slippers – Basically made of foam and fabric, but we will find a way to injure you. Probably via a fibre infection in an existing wound.
  • Bare feet – Sheer unadulterated joy!

One day I will go to the Ball – probably in bare feet! FML!

“A Person of Extremes”

I suffer with anxiety and for most of my life, I have been an obsessive planner.  Someone once described me as being a “person of extremes”, which has stuck with me, and lately I’ve been noticing this about myself a lot.  Once I get an idea in my head, I obsess about it until it becomes a reality, at least for a short while, until I begin to obsess about the next thing and the thing after that.

To give an example, over the past few months I have been trying to find a hobby.  However, it seems to be quite difficult for me to have a hobby of any kind without turning into some kind of future career prospect!

I used to love art, which I gave up when I left school.  I didn’t give up for any real reason, other than I got a job, then went to college, so didn’t have much time to do it anymore. Anyway I began to obsess about painting and sketching, and for a while, I began to do it again, after I’d spent a small fortune buying all my materials and equipment.  And for a short while I was REALLY happy.  I even began to think about a career change, and began to look into art courses, so that I could become a designer and then perhaps in future move into design professionally.  I got as far as looking at an Open University prospectus and looking into finance options for beginning a part time course, when, for lack of a better phrase, the novelty wore off and I began to think about the next fad to take over my life.  All that remains from that dream is one (badly) painted canvas hanging in my living room, a half filled sketchbook and my made up company name: The Topsy Turvy Design Company.

Another example would be the time I decided to up-cycle run down furniture from charity shops and car boot sales into desirable items.  I did hours of research on Pinterest and other sites for tips on how to chalk paint and distress furniture.  I read design blogs and magazines, visited DIY shops to get wall paper samples and buy paints.  I bought my first item, came up with several designs and got stuck in. I sanded (until my hands were raw), primed, painted, and used wallpaper to spruce it up.  I never finished it.  I didn’t have any varnish or polish to finish it off – I was going to get some at the weekend but never got round to it.  Still, it looks great from the front… just don’t look too closely as I couldn’t be bothered to sand and paint the back.  I’m just glad I never bought that electric sander I watched on EBay for 2 days, otherwise it’d be sitting unopened under the stairs.  To think, if I’d stuck it out I could have been the proud owner of Victoria’s Custom Furniture Emporium!

You may think this makes for a depressing read, and clearly I hate my life.  But that simply isn’t true.  I have a wonderful fiancé, a beautiful home, and I work for a charity that is very close to my heart.  Yet sometimes I must admit I do feel a bit lost when thinking about my long term life goals.  I love my job, but charity work doesn’t offer long term job security. Also I have this notion that my life must be filled with purpose to matter.  I just haven’t figured out what that purpose should be just yet!

To name a few of purposes I thought my life should have, but have come to realise since that it probably wouldn’t work out:

  • Mother of 10 children (aged 4) – Even then I knew this one was ridiculous as I theorised several would have to sleep in the bath as I couldn’t cater for enough beds.
  • Author and illustrator (aged 6) – I could save money by illustrating my own books
  • Doctor (aged 7) – I figured this probably wouldn’t work aged 10 when I was extremely relieved I was chosen to become a prefect rather than a first aider at primary school!
  • Artist (aged 14-16) – I was sure art was what I wanted to do until I couldn’t do it at college.
  • Solicitor (throughout college and university) – I studied law at university and really enjoyed the subject. I was sure I would become a successful lawyer and work for a commercial firm once I graduated.

Post graduation I decided not to pursue my dream of becoming a solicitor.  A part of me was relieved, as I think deep down I knew that legal practice wouldn’t be the right fit for me.  Looking back I think that law became my obsession at College because art wasn’t available as an option anymore.  I enrolled intending to take art, then the course didn’t run.  I think I latched onto the next best thing, my law class.  That time of my life was not the happiest, there was a lot of turbulence.  I think I clung to the idea of getting out and moving onto better things, through being a lawyer – it would whisk me away to a brighter future. Yet when I finished my degree I was in a better place emotionally, so perhaps I didn’t really need it anymore; I had already achieved the brighter future I had been hoping for.

Being a person of extremes, focussing on one dream with such intensity, then realising I never really wanted it in the first place, has left me feeling confused about what to do with my future.  I’m not expecting I’ll find the solution any time soon – I’m just determined to enjoy finding my way to the right path.

My latest obsession: Writing a blog just for fun about my experiences.  I intend to beat the cycle and make sure that this is not just a short term craze, but something longer term.  I’m not sure what I’ll write about just yet, but I’ll start with my thoughts, feelings and observations and go from there… Enjoy!

I welcome your comments and observations.

TECHNOPHOBE: A 3 hour emotional rollercoaster!

Is it weird that I’m terrified of new technology?  I must be a massive technophobe the way I react to new gadgets.  Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty; smartphone, laptop, tablet etc, but each undergoes an extensive initiation process undertaken by my fiancé Scott before they enter my (initially!) sweaty palms for the first time.

Buying a new gadget goes smoothly.  I’m hypnotised and drawn into the whole shiny, new, fancy gadget.  I find myself thinking, my life would be infinitely better if I owned this new device!  So I part with my (or more likely, Scott’s) hard earned cash.

Then, boom, the mood changes from sunshine, unicorns and rainbows to storm clouds, dead unicorns and DESPAIR.

The thought of setting up a new gadget for the first time; downloads, installations, registrations (etc) fills me with dread; my stomach churns and I become a gibbering wreck, afraid to press anything in case trolls, gremlins and viruses emerge from within and destroy my new toy.  God forbid something pops up, a user licence needs accepting, or Norton flags suspicious activity!  Action stations!  The world is ending, life as I know it is over!  I need to excuse myself from the room as the thought of looking at this device makes me sick and filled with rage.  WHY?!!! Why did I cave in to peer pressure/ pretty colours/ fancy looking apps and buy this evil machine.  What was I thinking?  I have betrayed my trusty phone/ computer that has served me well for the past x amount of years.  I should have overlooked the fact that it crashed every five minutes.  I could live with not being able to browse a website without requiring 10 minutes for it to load.  Who needs to actually be able to access e-mails from a phone?  Why is that even necessary?!

I’m not very trusting of new devices.  Almost as mistrustful as I am towards salesmen trying to make me buy said technology (does he really mean that, or is he just saying it to make me buy it?).  Some non-descript user licence agreement pops up asking me to accept its terms and conditions without reading them.  You’d like that wouldn’t you? Well I’m going to sit here and read every last one before accepting, just in case I accidentally agree to mind control or am legally obliged to give away all my possessions due to a tiny piece of small print.

I also have this weird habit of researching things online from another “trusted” device, whilst setting up a new one.  E.g. a programme I don’t recognise/ understand pops up during set-up telling me I need to take specific action, so I will pain-stakingly google the programme with the search term “is this a devastating virus” and see what the search returns.  Most of the time, my search leaves me safe in the knowledge, that no, Adobe is not a virus (I’m kidding – I am aware that Adobe is not a virus), but I also question whether or not the site the response has come from is reliable, until I end up in this horrendous spiral of regret, anger and broken dreams.

Scott is very kind and has a lot of patience.  He initially treats me gently like a baby animal.  He’s full of sweetness and light; providing insight and guidance into the new machine’s brain/ the ways of the jungle when I have a panic attack; “No pressing OK is not going to delete all your files”.  Then he gradually becomes less helpful, until he becomes fed up with my melodramatic ways (holding my fist up into the air and screaming NOOO when something goes wrong), until like a mother (or father) elephant/ lion etc, he decides enough is enough; you need to make it on your own in the wild/ online.

But then something magical happens.  I start to do things on my own… and I don’t die!  I don’t corrupt the system completely.  I feel hope and joy when using the new device and all is well with the world.  Well apart from that time I accidentally downloaded a Trojan (still don’t know how) …