This guest blog and paintings are courtesy Leslie Escoto.

“If the shoe fits, wear it.”

This old cliché has always been used to remind us we are responsible for our actions, for our words, for any pain and damage we may do and that the right thing to do is to own up, be honest and accountable.

Jeepers, I’ve tried on so many shoes… worn them even when they pinch, they slip, and when they lead me to places I don’t want to go. I’ve even worn shoes that belong to someone else in order to keep the peace, divert attention, or allow others to be right even when they were wrong.

I’ve slipped into many shoes, trying to find my prince, my lover, my soulmate. I’ve squished my feet into shoes many sizes to small and a bunch that were way too large.

I’ve been dazzled by shoes that sparkle and shine, that are hip, popular. At times I’ve had to wear discards, hand-me-downs, or shoes given me in pity.

There have been times in my life, and one painful event, very recently, that I have been laughed at, ridiculed, insulted, shamed because of the shoes I was wearing—ill-fitting, totally the wrong color, and way outdated. Finally enough was enough and I threw off the “wrong” shoes and walked barefoot, flat-footed, and on tippy-toes, pretending to have adorned the right shoes, the perfect fit.

Finally it dawned upon me that shoes were not the answer, it wasn’t about the things I put on my feet that caused my pain—it was the feelings these ill-begotten fashion items engendered inside of me, in my heart, my soul, my spirit. I realized that those who laughed at me, ridiculed me, insulted me, shamed me because of my shoes had no idea why I wore what I wore, why I chose what I chose, why I trod through my life wearing so many different shoes.

And then I remembered another cliché about shoes and I felt better, I felt good, I felt able to continue walking my own road, wearing my own shoes, while holding my head up high and saying,

“Take a moment to walk in my shoes; I bet you’ll fall on the first step.”