Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The Red Shoes.

Every woman needs to own at least three pairs of red shoes. Wild and free. Celebrating our femaleness and our power .. there's something almost magical about roaming the bad earth in bold shoes.

These are my baby shoes.

I’ve taken them to every house I’ve ever lived in, put them up on the shelf like ornaments. Relics of the past. I like that I learnt how to walk in red shoes.

Years later after many, many pairs of red shoes ... I purposely bought these to wear to a concert.

I’ve been to every U2 concert since I was sixteen, all amazing but this one was different. I waited twelve hours in those red shoes on a hot day for the chance to run into the stadium and snag a place up close, near the stage.

The red shoes spirited me to the very front of the stage and I stood there wearing them for the whole concert. Tip-toeing up as Bono sang straight to me, holding my hand. It took my whole life to get to that moment wearing those pointed red shoes with him, 60,000 people behind us. MAGIC. They're not even real leather and I'll never wear them again, but I'll never let them go.

The other night, Max and Rocco were sharing a big bounteous hotel room bed but wouldn’t go to sleep. Just kept punching each other and whining.

Who, us?
Instead of yelling (again) - I plonked down in the middle of the bed, announced I was going to tell them a story. Not read - tell. There's a big difference. The boys like my "tell" ones because they're always full of ridiculous things that I make up on the spot to make them laugh.

"What’s your favourite ever story, mum?” 

I said the Red Shoes was my favourite ever story. Rocco told me to tell it so I told it, told my two wild ponies the familiar story of a girl that couldn't stop.

Did you know in the proper version of Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf eats her dead? We sugercoat too many things for our kids, shelter them in so many ways. I told my boys about the wild girl who disobeyed her mother and wouldn’t stop dancing. Night after night, creeping into the forest and dancing and dancing until the sun came up, then creeping back home again. Abandonment, mother issues, addiction, female disobedience, being wild. So many juicy themes!

"The only way she could stop dancing was to get her feet cut off by the local woodcutter." 

I held off telling them how the red shoes with the amputated feet still inside danced gaily around town, purposely tormenting the girl.

Rocco asked me if her feet grew back.

“No sweetheart, they didn’t grow back and she had to sit in a chair for the rest of her life. Now go to sleep and stop punching your brother.” 

“Ok mum. NITE!”

I wonder if there's a version where she grows up, gets wise .. and wears red cowboy boots in memory of all the red shoes she had to say goodbye to? I'd like that version.

What's your favourite fairy tale? How many pairs of red shoes do you own? 

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