The Sadness Of Shoes

sadness of shoes Altizurra

I scrolled by these shoes today and felt their sadness.

They’re trying hard to look gay and festive and boho, but you can see right through that shaky facade. They are about to cry.

I don’t know about you, but I can see sadness everywhere. It’s either a gift or a pathology, depending on your value system.

I read a good thesis on empathy as a spectrum, with autistic indifference on one end and a kind of hysterical hyper-compassion on the other end. Neither extreme is any good.

A high degree of empathy isn’t the same as being depressed, although I’m depressed too. It’s just an involuntary response in the right supramarginal gyrus (part of the cerebral cortex.)

I don’t know why an abundance of empathy seems to result in an acute sense of the tragic rather than an overload of joy. It just doesn’t seem to work that way. Certainly not unless you’re stoned.

When poor Hillary Clinton spoke at the Commander in Chief forum last week, she was criticized for not smiling enough, and even worse, for appearing “joyless.”

Imagine being graded on how much “joy” you appear to exude!

Life would be even harder for those of us who feel the sadness of shoes.

When I was getting to know my husband, he complained once that I was not more “celebratory.” I remember feeling wounded but also furious. I think I screamed something like, “Celebratory isn’t even a fucking word!” I figured he was comparing me to his ex, who literally wore party hats.

Maybe there’s a spectrum for celebratoryness, which totally isn’t a word, with me at one extreme and the ex at the other?

Here’s one thing I learned recently and I wish I’d understood it forty years ago, before having my first child: There is a spectrum of human sensitivity, and is apparent in early childhood.  Some kids are more like dandelions and can thrive anywhere, while others are more like orchids – highly sensitive and more permeable.

With intervention, highly sensitive children can learn to process their environment in ways that make life less traumatic for them

If you’re always accused of being “too sensitive” or you suspect that your kid is anxious or depressed, read this.

But first, look at this Fendi sneaker:

sadness of shoes fendi sneakers

It’s like an animal or bird crashed into it and died, but it won’t fall off. This shoe is not only sad, but embarrassed. It wears its shame wherever it goes. And so can you for twelve hundred bucks.




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9 Responses to The Sadness Of Shoes

  1. Marky says:

    Those shoes are tragic. Like, I can’t stand it. What’s more tragic, though, is when one of my favorite designers does something stupid and sad. Much of Thom Browne’s last two seasons can be placed in the sad column. I blame his boyfriend, who should be me.

  2. Sister Wolf says:

    Marky – His bags shaped like leather animals are beyond tragic. Who’s the boyfriend??

  3. Miranda Mitsouko says:

    Your comments about empathy and sensitivity are pure genius. Loved the dandelion/orchid comparison.

  4. Bevitron says:

    Thanks so much for the article, Sister! It will be my bedtime reading material tonight.

    For what it’s worth, I love your high degree of empathy, involuntary or not. I escalated from lifetime hypersadness to overall terror back in March when I was critically ill with a potentially (usually) deadly ailment and spent a few days hospitalized. The ailment is much better but the state of mind has stayed. It’s like the sadness but with this vicious edge – my sword of Damocles. Friends have not responded well to my new, even darker relationship with the world.

    Celebratory? Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever even thought to give a shit about anybody’s capacity for celebratoryness.

  5. Bonnie says:

    Those first shoes are pretty much a dead ringer for Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh. Definitely sad.
    The second pair look like they have a parasite or maybe like they were designed by a three year old. Sad in that they are a failure on every level.

  6. Sister Wolf says:

    Miranda – I can’t take credit for that analogy, it came from the article I linked to. But it’s so helpful, right? Sometimes, framing a concept with the right words is everything!

    Bevitron – I wish I could be magic for you. Or just make life more bearable. I can sort of relate to some of this – I think I’ve become too sad for my friends. I guess it’s you, me and Hillary. xoxo

    Bonnie – Hahahahahahaha! They should totally call those boots “Eeyore!” Good call!

  7. Kellie says:

    That was an amazing article. I did the HSP personality test.
    14 made you HSP.
    I had 23.
    My senses are so acute-especially hearing and smell. And I do need to be able to retreat to a place with controlled sensory stimulation, or I get very agitated and crabby.
    I will take some celebratory cake please. No noisemakers.

  8. Suspended says:

    No idea where I am on the HSP scale but years of loud music has finally given me tinnitus. It’s tragic, I can no longer enjoy silence without the annoying “wooooooooo” of my eardrums. The upside, I’ll just keep playing loud music.

    Those boots are so sad I almost wept for them. When it comes to those sneakers, I have no words, only a feeling of shame.

  9. tess says:

    thank you for the link to the article, I feel like it describes my son and me

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