Things Fall Apart

There are days where things fall apart. I work hard to make something work only to get multiple signs from all angles that maybe I should let it go. I’ve had this happen a number of times.

For example:

Busting my buns to get to a play date, despite a broken down car, bad directions, and fussing baby who’s missed a nap—then when I arrive the kid we’re set to play with is super sick with chicken pox or something equally annoying. Yes, that’s something I’d like to know before agreeing to a play date, thanks.


Doing everything I could to get a job promotion, despite failed hard drives putting together the paperwork, shady interactions with potential bosses, and staining my dress shirt right before the interview. Then when I get the job, find out it’s for less pay and more hours. Not exactly the promotion it was advertised to be.

In either case, the universe is trying to warn me against something and I’m so determined that these are just hoops to test my strength (sometimes they are), but a lot of the time it’s exactly what it is: a huge blinking caution sign.

I ran up against one of these caution signs this weekend. I absolutely can’t believe I’m going to blog about shoes, but here it goes.

When I had my son about seven years ago, I had some major nerve damage. Long story short, I had to do several months of physical therapy to re-learn how to walk (I had the ability to stand, but the signals to pick up my legs and set them back down was not activating). Maybe someday I’ll blog about it, but not today. (A year later I had to do another year of PT, for a re-occurrence of the same problem—again another blog post). During the course of the PT, my physical therapist explained that I should wear a certain type of shoe for my safety. I just don’t have the same muscle control as I did before in my legs. And I could never really walk in a heel to begin with . So I need shoes with tons of grip, wider bottom for stability, and preferably something that supports around the heel, so I don’t have to fight for balance (not a slip on, not a flip-flop, not a pump).

I got rid of my worst offenders (Good-bye Dansko). I figured I’d get by and cheat with the rest. I wore my dress shoes so infrequently, I figured I’d walk carefully and slowly and make it work.

I was born without the girl shoe obsession gene. I don’t really like to shop, especially for shoes.

Then this last year, my black dress shoes stopped cutting it. The leather has become so stretched out; it’s hard to wear. So I thought rather than buy new shoes, I’d use my Eddie Bauer gift card and buy a new dress and a new skirt. I only owned one dress before and no skirts. I swapped out my black shoes and thought I should start wearing my brown dress shoes instead. My daughter begged me to wear my new skirt around town and I did.

The black shoes are too stretched out and I’m sliding around in them. The foot bed of my sandals (which are fifteen years old) are crumbling and falling apart between my toes. And I thought I was being smart to save money by re-discovering my brown shoes, but they fell apart while I was walking around the house. No, really. They LITERALLY fell apart. I’m not mis-using the word literally. I’m not creating a hyperbole. Here is a photo of my brown Clarks shoes:

I was just walking and the rubber started crumbling

I was just walking and the rubber started crumbling. My husband is holding the shoes in these photos (in case you’re creeped out by my incredibly manly hands 🙂


Here is an angle where you can see a string of hair. Excuse me while I go sweep the floor again...

Here is an angle where you can see a string of hair. Excuse me while I go sweep the floor again…


So you can see, for once, I’m not exaggerating.

Things fall apart. Stories I’ve spent months perfecting don’t sell, despite the personal rejections piling up. Plotlines lose their logic and stop making sense, the kids get sick when I have a deadline, and I settle for last minute get-togethers with friends than the planned out parties we used to throw. It’s like I’m duck tapping a plastic chair together that is not safe to sit in anyway, or scrambling to keep a paper tablecloth from blowing away in the wind. Maybe I need a new chair. Maybe the table underneath is fine. Maybe that story that won’t sell is not my best and I have to dig deeper.

I’m pretty sure the universe is trying to tell me to let the world crumble a bit. And then search the remains, because something interesting/more beneficial/more healthy always comes out of the pieces. Instead of holding on to the old things around me (keeping status quo), it’s time to take action. It’s time to go the directions I’m being pointed toward.

And it’s time to buy a new pair of shoes.

We love comments! Every time you leave a comment something someone tried to make work that didn’t will turn out to be better than originally planned.



13 thoughts on “Things Fall Apart

  1. Martin L. Shoemaker

    What happened to “Every time you leave a comment, a [SUBJECT] [ATTAINS IN SOME CLEVER FASHION] its [GOAL]”? Those were always my favorite part of the posts here?

    1. Tina Post author

      Haha! Just for you Martin, I’ll change it back. I like coming up with the tag lines too, but I wanted people to know it was okay to tell their own stories in the comments. Anything to get more comments and more good deeds through karma posting 😉

  2. Martin L. Shoemaker

    Don’t think of it as things falling apart, think of it as discovering new ruins to explore and chronicle!

    Hudson Hawk: What’s with all these stones in people’s back yard?

    Tommy Five-Tone: They’re called ruins…

    1. Tina Post author

      My philosophy is somewhat similar. Rather than run around trying to hold it all together, I’ll breathe through it, triage, and then rebuild. Sometimes holding it together works and is exactly what I need to do, sometimes not. It’s the sometimes not I’m working on.

  3. Pingback: Happy Links: From Stuff to a Story — go small, think big & be happy

  4. Susan

    I got here by way of Rowdy Kittens…glad I did. Good post. And my mouth fell open when I got to the post about the brown shoes…I also had some Clarks that I kept forever and wore off and on. I reclaimed them out of the closet…the soles were all cracked and I didn’t realize it…the sole fell apart JUST LIKE YOURS!!! LOL!

    1. Tina Post author

      Thank you, Susan!

      I’m glad you came over, too! I thought I must have been imagining things, but Clarks must have had a period where they used a bad rubber or something, because usually they have a good reputation for lasting forever. Also I find it interesting yours were also unused for a while–just like in my situation.

  5. Cece

    Same thing happened to two pairs of Clark’s shoes my friend inherited from her mom (shoes were about 10 years old but had never been worn). Clark’s told her it was not uncommon and they did give her a discount on new shoes.

    1. Tina Post author

      That’s really interesting, CeCe! Since mine where so old I didn’t take them in to see if I could get a discount–I should have at least tried. Mine weren’t unworn like your friends, but they were still very nice. It must have been the rubber they were using at the time.

  6. Kristi

    I had the same thing happen, just with Nine West sandals that I had for over 12 years! They were fine in the morning, but about half-way through a shift at work (thankfully a desk job in a call center) I noticed something funny on the floor at my feet; OH NO IT IS PART OF MY SHOE! They started cracking and crumbling away at my workstation! I added some scotch tape cross-crosses to the offending section, and clocked out for lunch break. I was able to call my other half to ask for different shoes, but as I traveled down from the third floor and to the hallway to meet him outside… they eroded more and more with every step! It was a professional building, so I couldn’t go barefoot. All I could do was walk slowly and hope no one noticed the trail of black ‘sand’ I was leaving.

    Finally I met him outside the cafeteria, and we had to throw my old shoes into an outside trashcan, as there was no way to salvage my beloved ‘leather upper’ footwear. I was so sad they had failed! On the way back from the shoe exchange I tried to gather the chunks I had left in the hallways, as I had left an odd trail along the way that I hoped no one could pinpoint to me. Quite embarrassing!

    1. Tina Post author

      I felt a little Hansel and Gretal, too, with all the rubber bread crumbs I left around the house before I figured out what was going on. Good thing your other half got you the replacements on time. I’ve been stranded before with broken shoes (cheaper brands. I would not have expected it from Clarks though!) and hand to hobble home. Not fun!


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