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.
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.