Last week, I went to a happy hour for a former co-worker who got a new job. I was running late becausee I went to the gym first, so as I was getting dressed, I’m a little sweaty and I know there’s a chance we’ll be sitting outside. (We were.) So, I wore a dress, and a cute pair of heels.
When I started teaching, I wore heels for maybe 2 weeks before I reallized I was on my feet too much for that kind of craziness. I basically didn’t wear heels for the next 4 years. I’ve been out of the classroom for 2 years, and I want to wear heels again, but some days there is still muscle memory of days where wearing heels for Parent Night or prom left my feet feeling punished. Those are the times I grab some balllet flats without even trying on a pair of heels. I think back to college when I wouldn’t hesitate to buy and wear $15 shoes that were cheap and uncomfortable, but totally cute. And I feel like I was a different person then. Or my feet were different feet.
But Happy Hour, I can do because I’ll mostly be sitting. Plus, this pair of heels is extra comfy. They are Clarks, a brand known for making shoes that emphasize comfort over style. They are wedges with tons of cushiony foam under my feet. They are red suede and pretty cute. So, I slipped them on, knowing that it would be the first time I’d see some of my former co-workers in a while, and I wanted to look nice. Because I quite my job and I was unemployed for almost a year, and I want to look like I’m doing okay. Because I am. I have a job I like for a company I think it great. There are metrics people could point to and feel bad for me, and I want them to know I am happy and doing fine. Nothing says, “I’m awesome!”‘ like a cute pair of red heels.
So, I went and it was great to see everyone again. One of the things that kept me at my teaching job was that I liked a lot of the people that I worked with. I’ve moved around enough and quit enough jobs to know that when you leave a place, people forget to invite you to happy hours. You say you will hang out, but at the very least it will be less, and that is a bummer when you like your co-workers.
I went, had my two drink maximum, and when I left, I decided to make a quick trip to Target. As I wandered around, I would not say that I was drunk. I had two beers in three hours along with food. But under the best of circumstances, I am not graceful. I once triped over a pair of my own shoes, while I was wearing them. So, asI I was browsing for some random thing I felt I needed, I stumbled. My ankle rolled, my foot tipped sideways, and because I was wearing wedges, the whole foot moved as one from about three inches above the ground straight to the floor.
And then before I left the store, it happened again. The exact same thing. I heard a noise, but mostly I was concerned that no one saw me trip. Since no one did, I assumed no harm had been done. But the next morning, my ankle felt a little tender. It wasn’t bruised, and it wasn’t swollen. Still, the idea of going for a run seemed like a mistake.
I found an hour long exercise guide for the elliptical and did that instead. A handful of times in that hour, my ankle both felt and sounded “crunchy.” I don’t know how else to describe it.
In the words of my friend Meg, “Crunchy is never good.” And I feel like, in part, I jinxed myself when I wrote about considering a 10K. Or hell, maybe I jinxed myself by having some really good workouts. Because every time I feel like I’m getting into better shape instead of just maintaining my current OK shape, I hit a snag. When I was teaching, the minute I started working out a little harder, I got a cold. When lifting weights got fun, I jacked up my bicep. And now that I’m running almost twice as far as I used to, I gave myself a crunchy ankle.
I’ve taken it a little easier this week, subbing running for the elliptical, doing yoga instead of the weight workout I had planned that was very heavy on “jumping.” It’s feeling better. The crunches are less frequent and not as loud. But I have started thinking I might need to give up on heels altogether.
That seems like an obvious answer, but there’s something appealingly feminine about heels. They feel more sophisticated. When I do a show, I like the way the extra height makes me feel more in control on stage. It makes me feel like I have a larger presence somehow. Plus, I own a four inch pair of heels I wear when I want to be extra intimidating to men. And finally:pants. What am I supposed to wear with jeans that are made to be worn with a slight heel? A suit with ballet flats feels weirdly casual.
The reality is, I could give up heels, but the truthier truth is that I appreciate a cute shoe and the way a good pair of heels make my butt look good, and I think I’ll be back in them again as soon as my ankle is a little more stable