Pumps and Take a Chance (Pomp and Circumstance)

by Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown

It’s difficult to write when you are crying. You can’t see to type through the swollen, watery eyes. Trying to decipher what you’ve written after the tears have smudged your words is nearly impossible. I can’t help it. I am listening to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” playing through the house, and it gets me every time. It  creates a burning desire within me to dust off my clarinet. Which makes everybody else cry.

Every year at this time the music of “Pomp and Circumstance” is played for graduates all over the country. Being in the concert band, I learned and relearned the music every year to play at graduation. Over and over and over and over, we played that slow, steady march for the year’s graduates to step up and receive their hard earned and well-deserved diplomas. After my mouth ached and my lips went numb from playing for forty solid minutes, I remember wishing that we could just speed it up really fast and watch them all break out into a run and grab them and go. Actually, I have often wondered why that music is not an upbeat tempo to match the commencement of an exciting new chapter the graduates are about to embark on in their new lives. It just seemed like one more way for them to drag out the school year.

This year I want them to have to play it for as long as possible. I want the school year to drag on, because, my daughter—my baby—is graduating from high school, and I haven’t quite accepted that fact. I still have so much to teach her. I am not finished molding her into the person that I want her to be! We still have so much shopping to do, so many shoes to buy! The good news is that, unlike the clothes you buy, the shopping experience is the one mother/daughter activity that is never outgrown. There are so many teachable moments. Actually, many lessons on life can be summed up when you are buying shoes.

In fact, life’s lessons are very similar to the things you must keep in mind when you are learning to walk in high heels for the first time. Your goal is much the same—to be able to do it glamorously—to step out into the world on your own two feet and carry yourself through life with style and grace and confidence. So, I guess my biggest piece of advice to all the Glamorous Graduates out there is this:

A Shopping List for Life:

Keep looking up, and step up to the bar. (No, not that bar!) Reach for the stars! Keep your head in the clouds and on your dreams, but your feet on the ground. Don’t worry about falling down, focus on getting back up. To try something new can feel a little wobbly but you will get the hang of it. You can even run with the best of them.

Sometimes you may have to break things in. Invest only in the best. Keep things that don’t cause you pain or make you cry. Delay instant gratification. Don’t go for the cheap and easy way. Hold out for the ones that are worth the extra time and effort. Quality over quantity. Put your best foot forward. Sometimes you need a little polishing. Learn to keep your balance. Take it one step at a time. Walk first. Then run.

Stay relaxed, don’t be afraid to kick up your heels. If you need to, be “Hell on Heels” don’t let anyone try to trip you up. Don’t step on anyone elses toes, but don’t let them step on yours either. Boots are made for walking, but don’t walk over other people and don’t let them walk all over you. Sometimes you will have big shoes to fill. It’s all about self confidence! Don’t fall in love with a heel. Shatter the glass slipper–ceiling–mirror. Put no limitations on yourself.

Don’t believe in “One Size Fits All.” Everyone has their own fit in the world, and their own way of doing it, so do your own thing. Wear one shoe on one foot and a different one on the other. (It works for Helena Bonham Carter). Embrace diversity—add other colors to your “little black dress” wardrobe (That’s a hard one!).

Walk your own path. Put one foot in front of the other. You will find your “sole mate.” You’re bound to get scuff marks. If you have outgrown something, let it go. Give your attention to the things that matter. You must spend the money, time, and effort to keep your treasures in good condition. Accidents happen—don’t cry over something that can’t cry over you. Go barefoot occasionally. You’ll need the break. Build upon a solid foundation—like your favorite wedge heel, and you will not be thrown off balance by all of life’s detours.

If you keep these things in mind you will remain sure-footed while you dare to step out of your comfort zone and try all the things that life has to offer. Enjoy the free gifts!

My daughter seems to be well prepared–she has a great shoe collection. It’s not fair that she seems to be able to wear my things, but I don’t fit into hers.

Put on your pumps and go take a chance! Several years ago I turned my clarinet into a lamp. I think we’ll go do a bit of mother/daughter shopping!

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