It’s not every day you’d find Hamilton’s downtown core packed with men dancing in red high heels.
But this wasn’t an "everyday" kind of day.
This morning, I saw a lady walking in high heels in the snow. It made me both yearn for summertime and think back to my own experience in high heels. Seriously. Check out the video here for a warming sense of summer and a good laugh.
I get excited about ideas. I love when people develop innovative projects to improve their communities. Naturally, when I heard that the YWCA was holding a fundraiser and awareness event by having men “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” I had to check it out! “Bring on the stilettos!”
I have to admit, I was a little nervous. I was all for the cause - raising money and awareness to support women who are caught in the cycles of homelessness, substance abuse, and violence, but walking a mile in high heels didn’t sound like fun. I’d heard girls complain for years about the torture of their shoes. I had seen the blisters to prove it. You couldn’t PAY most men to wear high heels for a morning, yet here were a bunch of guys, raising money, emptying their own pockets, and putting their own feet on the line for a meaningful cause.
The bright red shoes had been shipped in from out West; I guess it’s hard to find large local supplies of ruby-red high heels in sizes 10-14 (I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore). I registered cheerfully and picked up my shoes. When they offered me tissue paper for stuffing, I momentarily thought they were taking this whole “womanly” role a little too far - turns out, it was for stuffing the SHOES.
Aside from a few stumbles, my poor feet actually took the walking moderately well. I walked alongside other grown men who grimaced in pain, but they all kept going. Many walked with teams from their offices. Some walked with friends. Others had their kids at their sides for the trek.
It struck me that each person there had a story - some connection with the cause that made him care enough to show up. Some people were perhaps like me, simply there to check out an innovative event, create a memorable experience and support a good cause. But the look of determination in some men’s eyes told me that their stories were somehow different. Regardless of the reason, what mattered most in that moment was that everyone there had chosen to participate (walking downtown in high heels by myself never has quite the same impact).
And so as I sat and enjoyed my complimentary foot rub at the end of the hike, I thought about how violence, poverty, and abuse are still all-too-present, even in Canada, an exceptionally rich and “developed” country. But I ALSO thought about all the people who are doing something about it, and how I was excited to be part of that effort, even in my own small way. And, admittedly, I ALSO thought about how much I love foot rubs.
I have to say, I really got a lot out of the whole experience. Giving it a try had been a good decision.
What will you choose to try this month?
February 3, 2011
"A cause may be inconvenient, but it's magnificent. It's like champagne or high heels, and one must be prepared to suffer for it."
-Arnold Bennett, British Writer (1867-1931)
After a 5 month hiatus, we're back in full force with a brand new focus: Formerly called "The Beanstalk", the new article series "Excited to be Here!" is an account of Joel's unique travels and wacky adventures: Life is pretty exciting when you're paying attention.
Joel Hilchey is the Founder of The Beanstalk Project. An educator and entertainer, Joel inspires character by juggling, storytelling, and playing with mousetraps. Joel specializes in opening keynotes for conferences and offsite retreats, engaging people to people think differently so they learn more, have more fun, and get the most out of an experience.
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