How did I get to where I am? Well, let me tell you a story…

 The Story of Non-Cinderella and the Shoe that Didn’t Fit

Once upona pair of white shoes with a little heel resting on the branch of a tree a time, there was a young girl who liked to imagine. Given that her name— P-a-n-a-y-i-o-t-a —was so long and unusual, everyone had a very difficult time pronouncing it correctly.  So, she’d often be called various nick-names. In keeping with this historical fact, in today’s story we’ll call her “Non-Cinderella”.

Non-Cinderella was a happy child. Often, her parents would find her hiding away, engrossed in her artsy and musical hobbies, when she should have been doing her chores or homework.

In her teens, Non-Cinderella was confused about what she wanted to be when she officially “grew up”. She took various classes and talked to different people, which lead to bursts of excitement about what she could do. For instance, she would dream about things like being a CEO, so she could wear suits to work and tell people what to do. None of the excitement, however, seemed to last long enough…UNTIL…she started to pay attention to what her older sister was doing.

Non-Cinderella’s older sister—we’ll just call her Sister—was preparing for a career in teaching. The interesting thing is that everywhere Sister went, she would wear her favourite pair of shoes: a nice white pair with a tiny little heel. “Because, they make me feel more like a teacher,” she would say, when Non-Cinerella would ask why she’d wear them. Non-Cinderella’s sister seemed happy—and she was very good at what she did as well. The more Non-Cinderella watched Sister prance around those deliciously funny little kids in those shiny white shoes, turning rambunctious groups of those children into attentive and developed little people, the happier her sister seemed to be… And somehow, Non-Cinderella also developed a feeling of intense happiness as she lived vicariously through her big sister.  So, one fine day, Non-Cinderella decided to follow in her sister’s footsteps.

Not losing any time, Non-Cinderella asked to borrow Sister’s nice white shoes with a tiny little heel. Sister, giving in to Non-Cinderella’s persistence—and slightly flattered that her little sister admired her so much—offered to allow Non-Cinderella to shadow her at some of her jobs, while allowing her to wear those nice white shoes—with an insole of course!

Those shadowing experiences opened doors for what were the beginning of several years of fun [skill-building] experiences for Non-Cinderella. Buying her own pair of white shoes, which unfortunately still needed insoles, she set out to find jobs of her own. She secured jobs as a babysitter and as a tutor; jobs in daycare centres, camps and private schools—you name it, she probably did it! As she grew and wore those shoes to all those jobs, they never seemed to fit right—and never the way they fit on Sister. On Non-Cinderella they were always a half a size too big.

Luckily for Non-Cinderella, while in university she also noticed people wearing some very nice shoes. But they were different. There were some shiny white ones of course, but most of them weren’t. Some were plaid, some solid, and others were orange and blue. The ones she liked all seemed to have some kind of white—white dots, white stars, white soles, but they were never fully white.

So Non-Cinderella got to work, asking different people to try on their shoes. She tried on several pairs, some for longer than others. Then one day, she came across a pair of black shoes with white stripes. They actually fit! The shoes were very comfortable to wear when she found work helping students discover themselves and clarifying their career-life paths. She liked how she could educate and support them, but differently than how Sister did. She thought about keeping the shoes on for a long time…And she did just that!


Moral of the story

What Non-Cinderella—or Panayiota 😉 –learned, was that you really have to try things out. Don’t simply take people’s word for it, and definitely don’t do something because someone else likes it! What works for one person may not work for someone else, since we’re all different. While my story is real, there were never any actual white shoes [perhaps unfortunately 😉 ] .  The white shoes were a metaphor for skills and interests in something.  So, what will your shoes look like?