Last November, when I booked to go to the Story Wisdom Retreat in the Brecon Beacons in Wales, my first thought was “I have nothing to wear!” What I really meant was: I had no waterproof walking shoes.
I’ve always had problems finding comfortable shoes – so once I’ve found some, I dress from the feet up.
So, off I trekked to the “outdoors” shop in Kingston to try on some hiking shoes. I tried on several pairs of sensible grey shoes, but none of them felt comfortable. I was starting to feel rather embarrassed. In desperation, I tried on a bright pink pair – and they were really comfortable! So I bought them.
Fortunately, I have some clothes with a bit of bright pink in them (the outfit has to match the shoes), so all was hunky dory for a while. But then I started to get bored wearing pink all the time, and I longed for other colours. But how could I wear other colours with bright pink shoes?
I thought the answer was to buy an identical pair of shoes in GREY. So I sent off for a pair.
In the meantime, the deadline for sending in a summary of the talk I was planning to do at the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin was looming. I had been feeling exhausted pretty much since our trip to Venice, and I just didn’t have the energy to think about Berlin. So I wrote to the organisers and said I couldn’t go.
I immediately felt a sense of relief. I told myself I had been asking too much of myself, committing myself to doing too much yet again. Pulling out of the event was the right thing to do.
But then I started to realise that I did want to go to Berlin after all. After a bold start, I had just got scared – and feelings of exhaustion had clouded my judgement. But was it too late to change my mind?
A couple of days later, I got an e-mail asking those of us who had missed the deadline if we could get the summary of our talk to them by a new deadline. I wrote to the organisers again, explaining my health situation and asking if I could be put back on the list of speakers.
The next day I received a reply. “Of course!” Hoorah – I was back on track.
Meanwhile, the grey shoes had arrived – but I was having second thoughts about them. They felt like a metaphor for me losing the will to be bold – so I decided to send them back.
No more grey and sensible. It’s time to shine my light and stand out from the crowd.
Bring on the bold, bright colours!!
(Update: I later tried the grey shoes on with a pair of black jeans, and they actually looked quite cool. So I decided to keep them after all, so that I could wear other bright colours – red, yellow, green… which I couldn’t wear with the pink shoes. Bold, bright AND sensible!!)