Sunday, January 24, 2010

my shoes fit.

I am proud to say that I have gotten more than one friend into her first pair of heels; and I am not ashamed to admit that I felt mass amounts of pride after each accomplishment. Seeing the shoe on the girl is not the part that thrills me (I'll leave that to you, boys), but rather, seeing the girl that shows up in front of the mirror when that "oh my gosh these are so adorable", delicate pair of shoes are planted underneath her feet. Watching how she stands up straighter, eyes herself with more grace, and grows less bambi-like with each attempt around the store is like a mini self-improvement project, that has absolutely nothing to do with me.

My first pair of heels were likely atrocious (in fact, I know they were) - I wasn't exactly a style guru at age 12 and I certainly wasn't comfortable enough in my own skin to pull them off well. But as a girl in a house full of girls (I have a patient dad), I quickly became accustomed to walking around on semi-tip toe, to the point where -in grade 8- I remember quite distinctly that I preferred to walk in heels. To this day I still prefer it, and although I find myself wearing them less and less, I am usually looking for an excuse to throw them on. To walk well in heels, you have to stand up straighter. You have to walk with confidence. You have to pay attention to where your feet are landing; it's a much longer drop for your ankle if you don't. Sure, it takes practice, but once you get there - walking in heels is just as easy as walking in bare feet. Only far more glamorous.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the transition into adulthood, and realizing that really: there isn't one. There is no one moment that makes us adults, or "all growed up." In actuality, there are about three thousand transitions a year (give or take a few thousand); from the time we are first walking to the day we step our last. As we age, we mature (well, most of us) and the sense that we're supposed to 'arrive somewhere, eventually' presses further and further onto our consciences. But I have a secret for you: to live is to experience transition. We are never, ever done.

Some of these transitions in life tap you on your nose oh-so-gently, like a brightly colored lady bug with a funny story to tell. There are others that change the set time of your alarm clock and increase the frequency with which you brush your teeth or visit the dentist. And there are still others that shake you by the shoulders with force; demanding attention. Some transitions are tiny and seemingly insignificant to others: your very first Trivial Pursuit game played alone and won; your first solo road trip; your first dinner party as host(ess). Other transitions suggest a certain status: a large purchase, a significant relationship, a career choice. And once we've transitioned, we are asked again to change our minds or our clocks and, essentially, to transition once more.

There is no one thing that changes us from adolescent caterpillar to feather-wing-ed butterfly and leaves us in a permanent state of flight. Growing up means learning to fly, most definitely; but it also means learning to fall, too. It means we expect that we're going to moult on occasion; be it an outward layer or a deeply rooted belief. We begin to not only respect but to invite the process; we grow familiar with discomfort, but less and less afraid of it.

Regardless of the fact that I have worn and known how to walk in heels for the better part of my life, a new pair always hurts. There is always a moment during a night out in a new pair of heels where I think to myself  "ohmygoshthisisnot#&$*%&worthit"...but as my feet grow more and more accustomed to the new edges and angles, the more I am able to focus on the things I love about my shoes, and what drew me to them in the first place.

Adulthood is like the heels I love so much - uncomfortable at first, and at times outrageously painful (how much farther are we walking!?). But you know, after a few practice runs and a few glances in the mirror, I realize I really like these shoes, and maybe -just maybe- the temporary pain is worth it.

And this is the thought I had today: I feel a bit like Bambi on this new road God is carving; akward, knock-kneed, slighlty agitated about having to put one foot in front of the other. But despite my discomfort, I wouldn't change a day - past, or to come. These delicate and impracticle shoes of my latest venture fit me; and I know that once the pain is gone, I'm going to love them.


Ryan André said...

Seeing the shoe on the girl may indeed thrill us, but aren't they seriously bad for your joints or ligaments or something? Seeing some girls in stilettos makes me cringe because I think they (the girls, not the shoes) are going to break. :)

ashleyalvina said...

...small price to pay :)

anita said...

You inspire me.