"The Definition of Insanity is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results" - Albert Einstein

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Think of a Pair of Shoes

I spent most of this past winter break at my childhood home. And while I preferred to sit around and do as little as possible every day, my mother insisted I should at least use the time to be mildly productive by cleaning my room because she was sick of the more-frequent-than-necessary phone calls to her requesting confirmation that certain items were hiding somewhere in the abyss. So partly because I had no reason to reuse doing so, and and partly because I did have to admit it might be nice to actually know where everything is in my room, I decided to at least clean out my closet.

I'm really the kind of person who owns too much of anything and refuses to throw any of it away. It's honestly a miracle TLC hasn't come to stage a "Hoarding" intervention.

My strategy for tackling the closet was to start from the ground up, which means very literally, my shoe collection. I probably own somewhere between 40 and 50 pairs of shoes. Granted this is a collection I started accumulating in 7th grade, when it became apparent I wasn't ever getting taller and I was thus going to be a size 9 show for the rest of my life. Eight years later, and my theory is still valid.

As I sift through the shelves, I am nostalgically reminded of the different occasions I wore all of these shoes to and simultaneously must justify why they cannot be thrown away. I think to myself, I can't throw away my rhinestone-studded cream colored peep toe kitty heals from senior prom, I wore them to senior prom, and hence MUST be saved. Never mind they pinch my toes and are hideously ugly. They hold enough sentimental value for me to hold on to them, which is to say, they hold at least a shred. And I definitely can't get rid of my black pleather hooker boots because I wore them for three Halloween's straight in middle school. What if I someday need these black hooker boots again?

This same process continues until I get to the one pair of shoes in my close that actually doesn't fit anymore: Size 6 pink ballet slippers. They are an extremely disheveled relic from my elementary school years when my mother would have done anything for a peaceful hour to herself, including enrolling her severely uncoordinated and considerably pudgy daughter in a room full of skinny blonde Stepford wives-in-training with an instructor hell bent on stamping out individualism.

Granted I have to admit, I was four years old at the time, so I clearly didn't have anything better to do with my time, and I'll always be indebted to the Dublin Dance Studio for introducing me to my love of classical music, but I hated ballet class. I didn't like the conformity of the dance steps, the all too revealing nature of my white tights and black leotard, and above all, I hated being clearly the least talented ballerina in our class of clones. Over the 5 years of dance lesson I took, I learned not how to find a spot on the wall to use as a focus point when pirouetting, but instead how to spot every imperfection on your body in a full-length mirror. And I was never the girl who went home and practiced her side splits to increase flexibility, preferring to be the girl who ate banana splits while flexing her intellectual muscles instead.

Eventually I must have complained enough to be allowed to quit, and I remember ceremoniously taking all of my itchy tutus and overly bedazzled costumes and moving them promptly to basement storage. In retrospect, I can't believe I didn't throw them out. In fact, I'm sure they are still in our basement somewhere in a "dress-up cabinet." But this really shouldn't surprise me. I can't bring myself to throw out these ballet slippers either, no matter how physically useless they are to me now. Because I can't throw them away just yet, I may still need them.

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