Happy weekend people, although I use the illustration of wooden shoes as personally experienced by myself, this is no fun post…
So what did I really know about wooden shoes?
Before I tried them on, I can’t say I knew much about them. Indeed I knew they were also called clogs, and that you could find them typically in the Netherlands. I also saw several pictures of them on google images, and they were in different shapes, sizes and decorations.
I had thus always looked forward to finding out more about them. Great was my pleasure when I met and became friends with a dear Dutch man, and aha right there in his yard were a pair of wooden shoes. I didn’t start off our friendship by asking to try out the wooden shoes, no I wanted to first understand the history behind wooden shoes. It took a while, and then yesterday I blurted out the question.
Brief History and Feel of wooden shoes
I got to learn that historically, wooden shoes were made by the Dutch Farmers during the winter months. They had more time away from their farms, they loved the warmth of those shoes, they were economical to make, and even if a cow stepped on your feet, only the shoes risked being ruined and not your feet. I needed to feel them. And so I was welcomed to do so. That was when I discovered for myself that they weren’t so comfortable as I thought. My friend admitted that indeed they weren’t. My demeanor changed for the next pose:
The Real lesson for me
We are sometimes quick to think we know a lot or something about somebody’s situation, condition, illness, you name it. Taking my reasoning to mental health, I have come to realize how much the stigma is fueled by those who have never even “‘ worn the wooden shoes of mental challenges” for once. I also didn’t know anything although I joked at the ‘shaggys’ as a kid. It was when my brother whom I knew very well, suddenly got mentally ill, and I also gradually started going through my own series of mental challenges, that I realized there was no fun in laughing at a mentally ill.
Some people in the Netherlands still love their wooden shoes. They don’t just own them out of nostalgia like my friend, but they believe it is even therapeutic to the feet and fuss. You can’t force these people to stop wearing their wooden shoes, you can only enlighten them about the other numerous disadvantages and discomfort of those shoes. In a similar vein, and to a very large extent, you can’t force someone going through ‘mental challenges’ to get help. They have to seek for it before it becomes meaningful and sustainable.
Once we realize that it is better to first know what we are talking about, then we can speak with much more conviction. Please, keep learning about different subjects before you think you know it all. Also keep trying out different options to find out what works best for you. I have tried the wooden shoes at last, but I wouldn’t try them again unless at gun point…