Today I decided to wear my red heels, I think it has been at least ten months since I wore them outside the soft ground of my bedroom. Back ten months ago I wore them out to do errands. It was a particularly dull, gray day-just the latest in the line of gray days. There wasn’t a chance rain, it was just going to be dull, so I decided that instead of my usual boots or sneakers that I was going wear my bright red heels. They were festive, Christmas was coming and most importantly they went with my outfit.
Now I’ll admit I intentionally used a shopping cart instead of my usual basket to keep me upright and not make a scene. They’re only two-inch heels but when your usual shoe choice is between flip-flops or sneakers, you get out of practice quickly with these things.
I carefully clacked around the store picking up the items on the list in my brain. The sound of high heels on concrete always takes me back to when I had Day Care after school. I could identify my mom’s stride up to a 100′ feet away down the hall when she came to get me. They were heavy, determined steps; probably tired from the nine hours of getting up and down in those horrible early nineties heels. I always feel like a fake grown up when I’m in heels, it could be because of all of the wobbling.
I shuffled around the store and it just seemed like people were nicer (in a store that is regularly quite cutthroat) and then people met my eye and smiled. Once I unloaded my groceries into the car and I began the walk back to return the cart, a woman called out to me and said, “Here, Hon let me take that for you, I’m just heading in.” I thanked her and as I turned to leave she said, “Look at you in those red shoes, you are just too cute.” I laughed and thanked her again and then said something about adding a little flair to errands.
And then I went home and I thought about what had just happened. It seemed like people had been nicer to me, smiled a little bit more in amusement, and engaged with me just because I wore red shoes. How cool! Footwear as a conversation starter, the possibilities were endless!
But, was it really the shoes?
Probably not. I’m mean they’re cute, but they’re THAT cute. I think it was me, wearing the red shoes. I’m sure I was more present because I was so focused on not falling flat on my face and making an ass of myself. I probably made more eye contact to read where people were going, and I found myself smiling and then they smiled back. It could be that I was smiling more because I was doing something a little different, something that was me. I tend to hide me a lot these days from most people. My husband and a few close friends still see me on a regular basis, and then new friends get little peeks now and again.
I’ve noticed since I moved here that I am not around as many people that outwardly express themselves (clothes, hair, tattoos, etc.), and that I don’t always feel comfortable doing it myself. Which is pretty lame of me. Maybe it was because I spent too much time with family when we first got here. They are pretty conservative (my cousin once apologize to me for a quarter inch of cleavage in the shirt she was wearing around the house, when it was just the two of us). I say that the early exposure to the family (and only the family) might have shaped my willingness of expression because there are people here that have fun colors of hair, different stylized clothing, visible tattoos, and even the real rebels: the ones that wear red shoes. =P
People express themselves here and I need to get used to doing it again too. I think (in part) I wore red shoes again today because I feel like I can’t express myself with words right now and I needed to let something out.
Lately a few personal situations in my family have come up that have challenged my default setting of politeness and only child compliancy. I actually got a a chance to vocalize some of the feelings I had about a situation to one of the people involved, but I still held back a lot. It’s not their fault I’ve spent most of my life biting my tongue with them, so I shouldn’t unload the lifetime worth of gripes into one conversation. But then something new happened, which made it pretty much impossible for me (maybe not for another person) to keep that dialogue open. So pretty much I am having to take the high road and precede like everything is as it was, which is kind of the default setting in my family (I’m sure I’m not alone in this particular default with families).
I think I need to work on my communication skills, with everyone. This blog has pretty much been abandoned for the last few years in part because of my shyness and discomfort with oversharing. But I think it is helpful for working out thoughts in my head, keeping a timeline on what happens in my life, and it’s a way to share. People seem to like me more when I don’t hide the goofiness that is me.
So… here’s hoping that I’ll pull out the red shoes again before Christmas.