Small Changes

Shoes

I am always amazed by subtle, small changes. Small changes do not openly share all the complexities that led to that moment where something is different but no one can quite tell what. One small change, or the desire to make just one small change, may look invisible. But, the stars that had to align, the consciousness that had to shift, the bravery that had to be called forth is real, though unseen.

There is a woman who exercises the same time I do, here and there, now and again. She has some trouble walking and when I had trouble walking I noticed what brand of shoes she wore. It was helpful information I might need to use sooner rather than later. I made me a bit sad, though, because the shoes were olive green and tan and while they looked flattering on her they are not colors I wanted to have to wear.

She just switched over to fuchsia sneakers. A vibrant happy color. An athletic, as opposed to orthopedic, shoe. A shoe that carried over to the rest of her wardrobe that now included a very pale, but definitely pink, shirt. I kept looking at them, and I could feel her looking at me looking at them and she seemed a little agitated. I never got to explain that I liked them. I hope I get a chance to another day, and that my looking didn’t cause her doubt.

I know for me changing to that bright pink shoe would have entailed so many little steps of courage. There would have been the step to acknowledge that I did indeed want to be a person who struts around in neon colors. There would have been the step to give myself permission to think of myself as athletic, when I cannot run a marathon but I do exercise every day. There would have been the step to convince myself that the expense of the shoe was acceptable from a practical standpoint and from a joyful standpoint. There would have been the step where I mustered the courage to go to the serious athletic shoe department for the first time and asked for help if I needed it. There would have been the step where I put them on in public and was finally okay with being seen as a person who wanted and owned and wore bright pink shoes. A person who might be approached for being bold in this way. A person who might feel like an imposter looking bolder than they feel.

The small shiver of a frown that crossed her face let me know that there was at least one of these moments for her, at least one of these steps to get from the tan and olive shoes to these magenta ones.  There was at least one moment of doubt and one moment of courage that led to this.

I am amazed by small changes, and so happy when I see them.

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