Adventures with Autism – shoes

April is Autism Awareness month. This year I decided to make shoes for me and Tedy. I got canvas kicks [found at Ross and was super lucky that I found chucks in Tedy’s size there] and fabric friendly acrylic paints [from wallyworld] to complete this project.

Step 1: remove shoe laces

Step 2: sketch a puzzle piece pattern along the sides of the shoes starting at the mid-back of the shoe and working your way forward.

I did the first couple steps while sitting outside by the lake, enjoying the sounds of spring and reflecting on what it means to be an Autism mom.

This is not a life I imagined nor is it one I would wish upon anyone. It is exhausting and pushes you to limits you never knew existed then forces you to reevaluate and push even further. This life as a care giver burns you out of a visible wick leaving you burning the unknown. Creating these shoes was therapeutic for me.

Step 3: using one color at a time paint a pattern on the shoes.

Step 4: outline the puzzle pieces in black and complete any necessary touch ups.

Step 5: put laces back in. Wear & enjoy. [Find the joy in the journey]

Tips: if you can find white chuck shoes (on sale) I recommend getting them. They’re an easier canvas to work with. The shoes I got for myself were softer structured and an off white so it was a little more difficult to work with. Remember, don’t be hard on yourself – art is for enjoyment and therapy. Art is for a release and if you’re stressing about perfection you’re missing out on the point of this particular project. Autism is difficult and imperfect and the puzzle pieces may be bent and may not match up all the time. Autism is a spectrum, every person on it is unique and each pair of shoes painted will be unique as well.

In the metaphors of life, don’t try and walk in my shoes, they won’t fit you, they’re my shoes. Instead, put on your own shoes and journey with me through this adventure of life.

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