This post was inspired by the book Our Shoes, Our Selves: 40 Women, 40 Stories, 40 Pairs of Shoes by Bridget Moynahan and Amanda Benchley, with photographs by Melanie Dunea. (I reviewed it here!)
Read to the end to find out how to share your own shoe story and have a chance to win a pair of shoes from IEN LEE, the fantastic line of shoes from Marci Ien and Diane Lee Clemons!
I’m a kindergarten teacher, and I spend my days wearing flats. I am also 5’10”, and feel no need to spend my evenings and weekends in anything else either, unless it’s a very special occasion.
My national TV debut was that sort of special occasion.
I grew up watching talk shows, and that love followed me into adulthood: Canadian favourites like Cityline and The Marilyn Denis show; American staples like Live with Regis and Kelly, The View and of course Oprah – I loved them all, and when The Social premiered on CTV I was hooked. While teaching was very clearly my career path (I always say it’s a calling I can’t escape) there has always been that “What if?” regarding broadcast journalism, and I developed a secret little dream of being on the show.
Clearly I was raised to be confident and resourceful (yay mom and dad), because my question wasn’t “Can I do this?” but “How can I do this?” Talk show time is filled with guest experts of course…I just needed to hone my area of expertise. While I certainly have never considered myself an education “expert”, I had been blogging and writing for parenting magazines for years, and I truly love being able to support parents as they navigate the school system – my second home – with their children, so my subject matter was obvious.
I pitched a local show first, built up my clips, and when the time was right reached out to The Social…and they wanted me!
I knew that my outfit was crucial, so the dress came first, and then I drove out of town to look for the perfect pair of shoes, which I found immediately. They were in a chain store and certainly weren’t expensive (if I had to guess I’d say around $60) but when I saw them I knew they were the right ones. Classic black yet a bold style with a big heel – somehow they made exactly the statement I was looking for. (The zippers on the back even felt a little bit bada$%…which obviously is not a primary characteristic of mine, since I won’t even spell it out.)
The shoes brought to mind the time, in university, when I went shopping at that same mall and came away with a black pleather jacket (hey, I was a student working part-time as a receptionist at a convent – I was on a tight budget) and a big chunky pair of black shoes (stylish at the time), and someone I cared about asked me, “Why are you trying to be someone you’re not?” To my credit, I didn’t doubt for a moment that I was being myself…though I quickly realized my friend did not, in fact, understand who that was.
My big television debut came and went (with a whole group of friends in the audience to support me and take me out to celebrate afterwards), and I now have dozens of television appearances to my credit, but to me those shoes – which may seem very “not Kate” – symbolize the fact that I can’t be pigeonholed as any one thing. Wife and mom. Daughter, granddaughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, friend. Flats-wearing teacher. Writer and now podcaster too. TV guest.
When I make TV appearances these days, I work with sponsors who provide my clothing and shoes, and this special pair rarely comes out of the closet, but while I’m a hardcore declutterer, I can’t see them being donated to the thrift store anytime soon. The point isn’t that I wore them on TV. It’s the fact that for women, the dream, the side hustle, the hobby, the dabble – they can be as much of our identity as we want them to be. I won’t apologize for being a complex woman. And I’m not done yet.
Be sure to check out my fellow blogger Jenna MacDonald’s shoe story at There’s a Shoe For That…and we want to hear your stories too!
We would love to see a photo of your special shoes (old or new, fancy or casual, anything goes), along with a description of why they are so meaningful! If you have a blog, that’s a great platform (no pun intended) for sharing, but any social media account will do, and be sure to use the hashtag #ourshoesourselves.
If you post publicly to Facebook, tag @thismomloves and @theresashoeforthat and we will share!
If you post publicly to Twitter, tag @thismomloves and @jennamac007 and we will share!
*If you post publicly to Instagram, you have a chance to win a pair of shoes from IEN LEE! (Wow!) Be sure to tag @katethismomloves and @theresashoeforthat, follow us both and use the hashtag #ourshoesourselves. We will share, and enter you to win the prize!*
On Tuesday, June 18th at 11:59 p.m. Eastern, the giveaway will end. We will choose a winner from all those who posted on Instagram using the hashtag and tagging both of us, and that person will win the IEN LEE shoes!
Giveaway open to Canada and US. Contest not affiliated with Instagram.
Good luck! We can’t wait to hear all about your special shoes!