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I Hope Multiple Sclerosis Lets Me Keep My Stilettos a Little Longer


The other day, I found myself consoling a friend after someone he knew passed away. “He went out with his boots on,” I said in reassurance of his friend’s sense of self being maintained, even in death.

Out with boots on.

The familiar cliché of someone who has left the earth, doing what they loved. With dignity, respect, still kicking. So to phrase.

I want to go out with my stilettos on.

I know that’s vain of me. Selfish. Pretentious.

In my weak defense, multiple sclerosis (MS) has chipped away at my being and sense of self most of my adult life. It’s been stripping away my wardrobe. My boots. My shoes. My heels. My nerve sheathings. My brain matter.

Admittedly, I am a girly girl. I like to dress up. I like the pretty. I like to shine. Taking that away shakes my sense of self. It wrecks the ground I walk on. It upsets my very foundation.

They say we are not our bodies. We are not our physical selves. We are our personalities, our beings, we are our souls.

I have a hard time separating the two. I am my body.

I am the navel I had pierced.

I am the calves I sculpt in ballet.

I am the thighs I work when I walk.

I am the eyes I paint with black winged liner.

I am the hair I pull back. I am the finger that balances my loaded paintbrushes.

Like my artwork, my body is one of my canvases. I like to change it, to alter it, to color it and give it expression. I want to make it show not only what I am, but who I am.

MS makes that kind of hard.

Am I a half-blind, weak, shaking woman? Sometimes. Am a smiling, blonde, sassy writer? Sure. Am I nauseous, scared and fatigued beyond belief? Yes. Am I dressed in pink and lace and heels? I hope so.

The artist makes the canvas. The artist paints the world as they see it, and as they want you to see it. Take that away, and the brush is no longer mine.

Take the shoes away and I’m not exactly who I want to be.

There are worse ways to live, there are far more terrible things to lose than a silly pair of shoes. In a world wracked with devastation, disease and desperation, a pair of red t-strap heels are the least that should concern a woman facing complete neurological degeneration in one fell swoop. I shouldn’t be so petty.

But for now, let me have it.

Let me have me.

Let me go through most of this life with my boots on. Let me keep my stilettos, a little while longer.

Getty Image by grinvalds