You ever walk into a store and a pair of shoes scream your name? They are exactly what you’ve been looking for. The perfect shoe for an outfit you have yet to buy for an event you have yet to be invited to. Semantics really, because you have to have them. You grab them off the shelf, try them on and to your chagrin, they don’t fit. You wriggle your foot around telling yourself they’ll stretch.
All you have to do is break them in. Willing to endure some pain, because when it all comes together, you’ll be flawless.
Except, no matter how hard you try they won’t fit.
It doesn’t matter there are a billion other shoes in the world for in that moment, this shoe was all you saw. It was going to make the difference.
If life is a shoe store, we are the potential patrons scattering about trying to find “the shoe” to suit us impeccably. Frustrated when they don’t fit. Or are taken. Or cost more than we want to spend. Often, we feel the only option is to force ourselves to fit into a pre-constructed life manifesting an achieved ideal. Willing to let portions of our being ooze out like overhanging toes in open-toed shoes two sizes too small. The outcome is always the same. We look tacky, displaced and experience excruciating pain.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Acting as if the shoe defines us and not the other way around. Choosing to let life happen to us instead of defining life for ourselves. Sitting in an unfulfilled life like Cinderella waiting for the “Prince Charming of life” to bestow on us our happily ever after.
Choice is a powerful weapon. If Cinderella lived in a world which allowed her to fend for herself, she may have walked out the door and pursued a different path. There may have never been a prince. Let’s be real. She didn’t ask for a husband or the princess title. She asked for a night off and a banging ball gown. There had to be a little piece of her yearning to redefine her life. This was her out. Her sole choice.
But life is not a fairy tale. We DO have a choice.
I choose to be a Pastor who doesn’t quite fit the mold of what a female Pastor “should be.” I define my relationship with God on my own terms, not antiquated, constricted, borrowed beliefs. I choose to love who I want. How I want. I choose to do it in a sweater dress, wedge sneakers, skinny jeans or whatever I feel like wearing for the day. I understand that femininity is not about what I look like or what I wear, but stems from a powerful life-force embedded in my womanhood. I am not defined by my career. I have been a dancer, a counselor, a teacher, an assistant, a receptionist, a pastor and an executive director. I may join the circus next. Whatever I do it is my choice. Seminary, my conservative Christian upbringing, being a former dancer (not that type), being free thinking, sarcastic, my life experience, logic and confidence have all worked together to ignite an irreverent and unapologetic bowl of misfit. I am my own fairy tale. I am actively writing and rewriting my own happy ending.
Within all of us is the power to define our own happy. Write our own story. And pick our own shoes for the journey. Who wants to be Cinderella anyway? Glass shoes don’t work for women breaking glass ceilings and barriers. I can keep trying to cramp myself into spaces clearly too small for all of me. Or I can redefine my own space for a butt-kicking foot as powerful as mine. I choose space. I choose choice. I choose me.