The Holes in My Shoes

Reyhan Ozceylan (+Video)


The fatigue that seeped into me and my shoes started with the journey to Canada from Turkey. When you move to a new country whose language you don’t even know, you have to figure out many things.
After a long flight, I had so much work to do. Where to start? To which one of my tasks should I give priority? Should I think about the court process and dealing with immigration bureaucracy? Should I think about being separated from my family, settling into a new house, finding a job or learning English? They are all important. Instead of tackling every task one after another, I decided to start all at the same time. So, while going to school to learn English, I am also looking for a house, looking for a job, and pretending to my distant family that everything is fine.
My shoes accompany me in all these stages. They seem obedient and make no noise. My shoes are comfortable Nike sneakers with the classic white swoosh logo on top of the black mesh fabric. In Greek mythology, Nike is the name of a goddess symbolizing victory. How ironic is that? While I feel like my whole life has turned upside down, my shoes whisper victory with every step as if they are making fun of me.
With the stretchy material, they take the shape of my feet, reminding me of all those times I had to adapt to a new situation. I’m almost like an overworked protagonist in a novel, but in real life, one new chapter after another. It feels like this novel was supposed to end a long time ago where it says: “And they lived happily ever after. The end.” But here I am, continuing my journey in Toronto.
Each of my shoes has a little hole right on top of my big toe. I’m trying to camouflage the holes by wearing black socks to match. My shoes look solid at first glance, perfectly hiding their imperfections. But this appearance does not help with the rain. I cannot prevent my feet from getting wet.
Drops coming from thousands of kilometres away find those tiny holes in my shoes and float inward. It makes me think that I am just like my shoes. To the outside world, I seem solid. But my troubles are seeping in drop by drop, discovering the holes inside me and slowly sinking in. Just like the rain drops on my feet, the troubles leave me with an uncomfortable feeling. Just as my feet stay wet in every step, the troubles will also stay with me. I can’t avoid their existence. All I can do is continue walking, one step after another.
Everyone wants to hear a story with a happy ending where the future seems bright and hopeful. Well, this story will not end like that. This is the story of acceptance. My suffering will always be with me, and I will learn how to live with it. Not by lying to myself with the cliché of “everything is going to be great” but with the acceptance that life is a mix of joy and sadness.
People around me keep telling me everything is going to be great, and I should start afresh, just like the people who told me I should throw my shoes away as soon as the holes appeared and buy a new pair. Well, I don’t want unsolicited advice or solutions. Just let me be. I keep on walking with my shoes, accepting them as they are. I will keep on walking.

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