I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in the world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have worked the shoes so long that days will go by
before they think of how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of the shoes I am a stronger women.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has MS.
I changed the last line of this poem to "who has MS." It was written for another use but rings so true for people living with MS. As a social worker and as a person I try not to be judgmental or to make assumptions about people. I often say to myself and/or co-workers "until I've walked a day in her shoes I'm not going to judge/assume." I think it is a good motto to live by. I don't know what it is like to live someone else's life. Life is different for everyone. Everyone's journey is different. I walk in my shoes on my journey which has been shaped by MS. I can honestly say that it has greatly impacted everything I do and every decision I now make. But my journey is not a sad journey or an angry journey or even a depressing journey. Yes there are bad days and my future health is unknown. But there are also a lot of good days, great days, happy days, time with family, vacations, time with friends, dinners out, sunny days, good books, funny reality tv shows, laughs, drinks, memories, support, love and HOPE. My journey is filled with hope. Hope that one day I won't walk my journey in shoes with MS. I hope that one day there will be a cure. I hope that I will continue to be strong and happy and motivated. I hope I will never give up the fight against MS.