Raising awareness and bringing joy with a pair of sparkly, red shoes

As soon as I saw the ruby red, satin and sequin, kitten-heeled sandals in the store I knew I HAD to have them.  They were perfect for my year 12 formal and I had desperately wanted a pair of sparkly ruby shoes for as long as I could remember after seeing them over and over again on my favourite childhood movie; The Wizard of Oz.  That movie never failed to bring me toe-tapping, heel-clicking, fuzzy-warm-feeling joy and my desire to have my own pair of dorothy shoes never went away even as my movie collection expanded.  That movie is special to me in so many ways.  The song, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ was my favourite song growing up.  For years my grandmother would play it on the piano and I would sing.  Even when her fingers were too painfully arthritic to play anything else she would still play that song for me and now, whenever I hear it, it never fails to bring back those memories.  For a long time after she passed away I couldn’t listen to it and it still makes me cry, it was our special song and while I can never sing it with her again I still have the memories.

The Wizard of Oz (and that song in particular) made me believe as a child that there actually was another world over the rainbow full of magic, music and mystery.  That good will always triumph over evil, that tin men and scarecrows can come to life and sing and dance, that courage, love and intelligence are in all of us even if it doesn’t appear that way at first, and that there will never, ever be any place like home and all we have to do to get there is believe and click our heels together 3 times (that part still gives me goosebumps!).  That pair of shoes is the embodiment of all those messages.  They are love, joy, laughter and carefree innocence and I have a sneaking suspicion that this movie may be the origin of my shoe obsession – well really, everyone wants them and they’re just too darn cute!

So my pretty red shoes didn’t last forever – they were satin, somewhere along the way something got spilled on them and eventually the sequins started to fall off.  They also weren’t the most comfortable or practical shoes in the world but that was really beside the point.  The point is how they made me feel and that is where the joy and awareness part of this post comes in.  A fellow dysautonomia sufferer (and owner of a fabulous, home-made pair of dorothy shoes) had an insomnia-fuelled brainwave.  In her muddled, sleep-deprived state very early one morning she thought to herself, ‘what is missing from the lives of most dysautonomia sufferers?’ AND (even more impressively for 3am), found the answer to that question was; Joy!  And the obvious vessel is dorothy shoes.  She then took it a little bit further and thought about how dorothy shoes could be used to bring joy AND promote awareness of dysautonomia and came up with; The Dorothy Shoe Project.  Which is a stroke of genius really, for any time of the day!

So, what does the Dorothy Shoe Project involve? you ask.  Well, the idea is to post a few pairs of Dorothy shoes to Dysautonomia sufferers around the world – so far she has had expressions of interest from Australia, the UK, USA, Canada and New Zealand (I believe) and take photos wearing them.  Wearing them anywhere doing anything (well, you know what I mean, let’s keep it PG please people!) particularly anything silly that involves copious amounts of joy and laughter AND the person wearing them has to have dysautonomia of any type.  I am so excited about this project, it gives me another chance to wear sparkly red shoes and, lets face it, there can never be too many chances for that!

If you or anyone you know might be interested in participating in the Dorothy Shoe Project, raising awareness about the project or even sponsoring the project, check out ‘Living With Bob (Dysautonomia)‘.

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Written in the stars

Isn’t it funny how when you make a huge decision to do something out of the ordinary or sometimes even something selfless and good, all the pieces start fitting in to place of their own accord, like the universe is telling you – this is what you are meant to be doing right now.

On Tuesday I finished reading ‘The year we seized the day’ and decided to walk the Camino de Santiago.

On wednesday I went in to town to look at new hiking boots and found that all the outdoors shops were having sales.

On Thursday I told my mother what I was planning and she didn’t disown me or have me committed – in fact she offered her frequent flyer points to help get me there!

On Friday I received a promotional email from Jetstar about their friday sale fares and booked a round trip to Singapore for $438.  If I have enough frequent flyer points I could cover the cost of my fare from Singapore to Paris and only have to pay for the Paris-Singapore fare on the way back – this could be the cheapest journey to Europe ever!  AND My brother is heading out to Europe for an undetermined amount of time when I’m on my way back and we cross paths for a few hours in Singapore.

Then, out of curiosity, I checked my horoscope.  I’ve always believed certain personality traits etc are common to people of the same sign, it seems more than coincidence that it keeps happening.  However I don’t usually set much store in the daily horoscope because I believe that a lot of them are completely made up and designedly ambiguous so you could really apply them to any situation, but this time it was different.  Cancer:  “You are bold, daring and enterprising during this time.  You feel hemmed in by present circumstances and feel an uncontrollable urge to enlarge your vistas.  Your restless need to accomplish more and break free of present limitations may inspire you to seek a new job, look at new places to live that offer more opportunities, increase advertising of products that you market, or peruse business opportunities in your local area”.

Ok, if you look at the last bit with a bit of liberal interpretation and don’t limit yourself to the options suggested you could ‘be inspired to go on a crazy journey’ instead.  Or it could be talking about my desire to study medicine and imply that my results for last weekend’s GAMSAT (medical entry exam) are going to be phenomenal and I’ll be offered a place into the school of my choice…

I think I’ll go with the crazy journey now 🙂
And ‘enlarge your vistas’ – how much more enlarged can you get than a pilgrim trail across Spain?!

Where was I – oh yes, Saturday (today) I went through mum’s drawer of hiking gear and found; waterproof over-pants, gaiters, a dry sack (only 1L but still useful), a hat with a brim that goes all the way around and isn’t ridiculously large and inappropriate like my travel hat, hiking pants with zip-off legs, shorts and hiking poles.

Yep, hiking poles.  I am now faced with a tough decision.  Do I become the uncool hiker with extendable ski-pole-like walking aids OR, do I find myself a nice branch I can use as a walking stick along the way (preferably in the first 10 minutes or my knees will hate me sooner than necessary) thus joining the ranks of the ‘cool’.  It just doesn’t seem right to be doing a pilgrim trail with hiking poles, a wooden walking stick, however, seems perfect.  Then again, I do have a super-light ultra fancy-looking hiking pack that happens to be a very bright colour so I might just stick out anyway.  Tough decision!

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