Sexy Shoes

Bet you didn’t expect that title to appear on one of my posts. Can’t say that I expected it either since I never quite know what’s going to happen when I introduce a new art activity to the women at the Lighthouse who are somewhere on their journey of recovery from substance abuse in this year-long faith-based residential treatment program.

Knowing that we’re all on a journey every moment of every day, and that we wear varying types of shoes depending on what we’re doing, my art partner and I begged, borrowed and brought a really impressive assortment of shoes for our latest art adventure “These Shoes Are Made For Talking (And That’s Just What They’ll Do).” From a Shanghai slipper to a silver snakeskin sandal to an elegant black dress heel, there was quite an assortment of footwear. But there was unabashed admiration for an exotic collection of glitzy platform party shoes with six inch stiletto heels.

The women were invited to choose a shoe then write a brief story in the first person from that shoe’s perspective about itself and its owner – the person who wore it.   

 This is Monica’s story – “Sexy Shoes”

I am a very sexy shoe. (Lots of oo-la-las from the other women)

Every time my owner takes me out for a night my owner seems to be very happy. She tells me that I make her feel very sexy and that makes me happy!

So one night my owner feels like being sexy so she puts me on and we go out to a club where my owner wears me out on the dance floor. (More oo-la-las and cat calls around the room)

But she is so happy that I don’t care. She’s dancing with this nice man that she met on the dance floor and decides to go home with him. (Some knowing wink-wink, nod-nod comments)

But instead of his home we end up in an empty apartment building. (Audible soft uneasy sounds from some)

I notice my owner starting to look nervous and feel her legs begin to shake. Before she can say a word, the man that had convinced her to go home with him had swung a knife to her neck and cut her throat. (A collective gasp from everyone)

She kicked and fought so hard that I somehow broke my strap and slipped away from her foot. All I see now is him dragging her out of the car and away from my sight. Some time later I see the man come back alone and drive away. (Stunned sober silence)

 I’m now alone, afraid, wondering if my owner is feeling the same. (A hiccup of silence punctuated with applause and enthusiastic shouts)

When the applause died down, I turned to Monica gently inquiring, “It’s obvious you didn’t get your throat cut because you’re here, but is this part of your story?” Softly she replied, “Yes. It’s not exactly what happened, but it’s my story.”

This sexy shoe was made for talking, and that’s just what it did. Dramatically. Honestly. Courageously. For the time being Monica probably doesn’t have sexy shoes in her closet as she learns to live a good fun-filled life that doesn’t include risky behavior. She’s learning to put on the shoes of peace that come from the Good News so she’ll be prepared to live in a world full of risky opportunities. That’s a platform that won’t stick it to you like a six inch stilettos.

What are the stories your shoes would tell, if they were to talk about your life as their owner? Are there stories, or snippets of stories, from the shoes you no longer wear? Would they tell us something meaningfully or spiritually biographical about you?   

Tell me a shoe story.

PS – Michelle, Monica’s tablemate, also wrote about the same platform shoe with a six-inch stiletto. An amazingly fast artist, she created a three inch miniature replica from air-dry clay, part of a tongue depressor, and strips cut from a clear plastic cup – all painted burnished gold just like the real sexy shoe.


This art activity was inspired by an original curriculum created by Joel Lambert, Eastern University Master’s Student in the MA Urban Studies: Arts in Transformation Program and introduced at the BuildaBridge Institute. 2009. Used with permission.

4 comments to Sexy Shoes

  • Deanna J Bowling

    I have always thought that the sound of a woman’s high heels ‘clicking’ on a hard surfaced floor was sort of sexy. Back about 24, 25 years ago, I had a pair of black heels.

    I won’t go into any of the stories, but those heels and I had a lot of fun. Now, I’d probably fall off the edge of them and wind up breaking my whatever.

    I guess my dress shoes of choice now, the newest pair of SAS oxfords I own, says a lot. But oh, the memories of them still bring a smile to my face.

    Love, hugs and prayers,


  • Maria

    Hi Lynn,
    Thanks again for sharing the powerful work of your women in recovery. WOW–the stories these women have! They’re so lucky to have a program where they can share this raw material in such an honest and courageous manner. Keep up the wonderful work.

  • cynthia

    i am a pair of low heeled white sandals. i was purchased on saturday, july 11, 1981. my owner walked the mall in an upbeat contented way. she walked confidently, unaware that her life was going to change dramatically in 2 days. when she brought me home, she never removed me from the box. in fact, she left me in the box, so i’d be in pristine condition until that perfect moment qhen she wanted to wear me for the first time. i stayed in my box for 2 long years. then one day, she opened my box to look at me with longing. you see, she had become disabled by a severe stroke and sandals with heels were no longer possible for her to wear. i could hear her thinnking that she had never valued her ability to walk until it was taken away. she felt sad to know we’d never be partners, adventuring through life. so, she did the next best thing & gave me to a friend. tomorrow, i’ll be going to my new owner. i hope we’ll walk together for a long time.

  • Lynne

    The comfortable shoes.

    I am a pair of brown shoes. My mistress wore me for 15 years. I went to work with her for 13 of those years as a cashier. She stood in me for eight hours a day.

    The last six years have been bad. In 2004 she had breast cancer. One breast was removed and she had chemo. Her recovery was more difficult because her husband would not help her. He wanted her to take care of him and do what he wanted. She did and took longer to recover. He never helps when she is sick.

    In 2006 he tried to have an affair with her friend. We had just gotten home from a long day at work. She made dinner and was just sitting down when her friend called and told her what was happening. She could not believe it. She asked him and he said yes. It was her fault because he did not get enough attention from her. She for gave him. She is more Christian than I am I wanted to kick him.

    In 2010 I took her to the hospital for open heart surgery. We spent 6 weeks in the hospital and in a recovery home. She knew he would not help her recover. She wore me every day. Her husband came maybe 2 or 3 times a week and stayed for 10 or 15 minutes each time. When he was in the hospital we went every day and spent most of the day there. She became tired during those times. She should have thrown me at him.

    In October 2010 she was still recovering when came home one afternoon and found him in bed with a prostitute. She confronted him and he told her it was her fault because she did not give him attention. She finally woke up and divorced him. We walked out. He is history now.

    She is free now and I am worn out. She will remove my laces wash and keep them. I will be tenderly placed it a bag and and put in the trash. Gone but never forgotten.

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