A Day In My Shoes Essay

Walk a day in my shoes.

Feel my fear that I'm going to lose this fight. That I might never see my children grow up, go to school, win their first competition, really talk to them, dance at their weddings. Feel sad that my children might never really know me.

Walk a day in my shoes.

Know what true love really means when my husband drops everything to make me feel happy, relaxed, less anxious. To let me rest. To tell me when I feel ugly and tired and drained that he thinks I'm more beautiful than ever.

Walk a day in my shoes.

Feel tired and nauseous, anxious and irritable and void of any positive emotion as the poisoning of chemotherapy really hits. Feel sad and angry that cancer came when the rest of my life was just about to start. Like really start.

Walk a day in my shoes.

Feel grateful every second of every day that conceiving wasn't too difficult. That pregnancy wasn't all that bad. That childbirth was calm and relatively easy. That I'm blessed with two beautiful, sunny children who eat everything and sleep through the night and love cuddles and kisses. And give me every reason to fight.

Walk a day in my shoes.

Know what it feels like to be surrounded by genuine and unending love, true friends and the kindness of strangers. A support system that is willing me to stay positive and hopeful and alive.

I could go on.

I try my best not to judge others but I still do. Cancer is giving me cause to try harder not to. It's inexcusable most of the time.

I see people, going about their day, and I wonder why they're ignoring their kids or haven't 'made an effort' with their appearance or why they push past me in the street without an apology. I automatically make judgements about them. What's their problem?

But that's the thing, I don't know what their problem is and they might really have one. Or more.

I imagine people look at me now and judge me:

Why doesn't she comb her hair?

She looks tired and old.

Why didn't she pick up her daughter when she asked?

She looks like she's been crying.

They don't know what my problem is.

I'm too scared to comb my hair in case it falls out in my hands.

At times, I've never felt so ill and exhausted.

My chest aches inside and out and I haven't always got the strength to lift up my toddler. Or my baby.

I have been crying.

When you read this post did you pity me? Or envy me? Or feel happy for me?

Or did you feel all three and more because I gave you the benefit of knowing all sides of how my life is right now?

I want to stop being judgmental, it's a personal goal I'm continuously working on.

I hope before I make the next judgement I think first. And stop.

Please try too.

Follow Mim Jenkinson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lovefrommim


Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus explains to Scout that "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it" (36). Make this advice more literal by inviting students to imagine spending a day in someone else's shoes in this writing activity. Students examine a variety of shoes and envision what the owner would look like, such as their appearance, actions, etc. They then write a narrative, telling the story of a day in the shoe owner's life. While this lesson plan uses the quotation from To Kill a Mockingbird as a springboard and ties nicely to discussions of the novel, it can be completed even if students are not currently reading the book.

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Interactive Circle Plot Diagram: Use this online tool to plan out the sequence of events in a piece of narrative writing.

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Creative writing may not be your first choice when you think of ways to encourage students to explore the themes in their readings; however, by embracing the opportunity for students to think and write imaginatively about the issues introduced in their readings, teachers move beyond the typical expository, analytical reactions to text in ways that engage students. As Christian Knoeller explains, "By guiding students to explore a work in specific ways, teachers can support interpretation and criticism. As such, imaginative response provides an instructional strategy that ultimately contributes to more insightful formal analysis" (43).

Further Reading

Knoeller, Christian. "Imaginative Response: Teaching Literature through Creative Writing." English Journal 92.5 (May 2003): 42-48.


Adapted from:  Dana, Kimberly A. 1996. "Walking in Someone Else's Shoes," Ideas Plus, Book 14. pp. 22-24.  Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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