Five years ago when I was going through a difficult divorce, I was told by a friend and colleague that when my divorce came through, I should be sure to purchase something very expensive. Since I need little to no persuasion for this, I was in agreement although my sensible head told me I should probably be saving instead. The divorce came as a shock for me. I put it out of my mind, avoiding the inevitable until I received and opened the email from my solicitors five minutes before I went to present a paper to a Board of Trustees I was working with. As soon as I walked out of that meeting I burst into tears and out of the building to go home. It was over.
"...be sure to purchase something very expensive."
A few weeks later I was shopping on "Black Friday" when I caught sight of something quite wonderful! I sensibly walked away but couldn't stop thinking about the ridiculously high, stop and look at me, no one really needs
these; over the knee leopard print boots by Roberto Cavalli. There was only one pair left and it was in my size - a rarity since I am a UK size 8. Taking this to be some kind of "proof" I threw caution to the wind and asked to try them on and in my Cinderella moment I realised I didn't actually want to take them off! Thankfully for my bank balance, they were the only thing I purchased on that shopping trip and I kept peeping inside the box to look at them the whole journey home. They were exquisitely wonderful and just the thing my colleague had suggested as my "divorce gift" to myself. I hadn't wanted the divorce, I had fought it with everything I had but I had lost.
"I hadn't wanted the divorce, I had fought it with everything I had but I had lost."
Recently, I was asked to be present at a really difficult meeting. It was another meeting with a Trustee Board and senior management with whom I was in conflict. I was nervous and worried about what I was going to say and it took me about half an hour to drag myself out of bed to get ready. I know that confidence comes from the inside but I've written before about how my clothes can help me face the day
and I remembered that, on a relatively warm Autumn morning when I watched the clock tick by as I lay in bed, feeling petrified about what was to come. And then I suddenly remembered my boots, those beautifully made, outrageously attention-seeking boots which had never failed to invite compliments and conversation from strangers - male and female alike. I always felt super confident wearing them. How could I not when they pushed me to over 6ft tall and likened me to the supermodel I often wished I had become.
"And then I suddenly remembered my boots"
An hour later I was washed and dressed in a soft pink tea-dress; ladylike and unassuming, combined with my 5-inch leopard print boots - accenting the soft with the sexy and confident. As I strode through the thinning crowds on my late commute I could feel eyes on my legs and I remembered the energy I had always felt on the catwalk. I felt powerful and capable and as I sauntered into the office building just 4 minutes before my meeting, I somehow had the gall to pop to the bathroom leaving a whole room of people waiting for me. In the bathroom I prayed; I asked the Holy Spirit for wisdom, for calm and for coherence. I took a quick look in the mirror and gathering my notepad and pen I strode down the corridor, feeling my heart beat faster with anticipation.
"I felt powerful and capable"
As soon as I entered the room, heads swivelled towards me but before I could say anything, the global head and chair of this important meeting, gave an audible gasp and exclaimed, 'I love
those boots!'. The atmosphere instantly shifted as others also looked and murmured in agreement. As I took my place at the table I could sense that the power balance in the room had shifted. I was no longer being seen as a lowly underling, seeking to claim my case against that of those in authority over me. There was power and energy in the presence I had ultimately curated through what was then the most expensive pair of shoes I owned. I had earned my seat at the table and it was all because of my divorce boots.