Thursday, April 29, 2010
About heels, about face
Having spent the better part of 30+ years married to someone who was close to my height (5'9"), I had become accustomed to wearing flat shoes. I always insisted that I hated heels, that they just were not me - no sexy shoes for me, no way! It was an unspoken truth that my ex and I were both uncomfortable if I towered over him, with the situation bringing out all the gawky, awkward skinny 13 year old hangups in me. And thus, once I made the decision to separate from my husband, I immediately went out and purchased shoes - far too many shoes! - with heels. These fabulous Pradas were way too expensive, way too impractical, way beyond anything I needed, and thus, the perfect first post-separation purchase! With 3" heels, they helped me achieve Amazon-like 6' status, and I had to learn to walk without teetering.
But more important, the purchase of these shoes represented another step (no pun intended) in my journey of "this is me - take me or leave me". I decided that I was tired of pretending I was not tall, tired of being that embarrassed 13 year old who is scared that none of the boys will like her because she is tall, tired of hiding behind quiet shoes. OK, truth be told, I have never worn really quiet shoes, but not tall ones either, that's for sure!
So, like my cowboy boots, these shoes have also become symbolic. Recently they went out on a date ( and didn't scare off a great guy!), they've been to board meetings and yet I didn't get fired for being too tall, they have gone to the office in Madison where they just didn't fit in but work got done anyway. Why dwell on this? Because of course, shoes can't matter this much in relationships and I had given them way too much power over my life in the past. Because the whole business of dressing, of expressing myself through what I wear, is such an important part of me, and yet I realize that like so many other things in my life, I had been reluctant to let myself express my true self, had imposed rules that were restrictive. And while that doesn't matter so much in the world of shoes, it does matter in the greater world of life.
Years ago, when my daughter was young, I came home one day to find that she had stuck a post-it note on the hall mirror which read "Be Yourself". I was glad and proud that I had raised a daughter who felt comfortable in her own skin , and hoped that one day I might grow up to be as comfortable in my own. The crazy thing is, I think it's finally happening.
So how am I celebrating this? With some new shoes for Spring, of course, which are even higher, which take me over the 6' mark and in which I feel great! It's not about proving anything to anyone, but entirely about just being me - and I do promise this blog will move beyond shoes any day now, really!