I started out to write a typical new years blog. You know, talking about what I learned in 2014 and what I was looking forward to in 2015. All the things I was going to accomplish. It was going to be inspirational and motivational. The only problem is that it just wasn’t coming. All I could think of was “I want to walk” as a goal. But since that’s been an ongoing goal since August 13, 2013, that seemed kind of obvious. And easy.
I could make not quitting on 5-0 my 2015 goal. I wanted to not go to PT so badly today. I just wasn’t feeling motivated. The hubs said I could cancel if I wanted to, but that that was on me and he would not endorse or encourage that. (My mom is going to have a little chat with him if she reads this- not going is never an option on the table. She will take back her momentary lending of my rehab to the hubs if that behavior keeps up.) So, we went to Starbucks after I got done in court and then took my lazy butt to PT. I’m still not sure if that was a good decision or not. To say that 5-0 worked me today would be a gross understatement. To say he killed me would be an understatement. Let me put it this way- if my abs could jump out of my body and run away, they would. He’s gotten it into his head that merely walking isn’t good enough anymore. Now he’s focused on form. So rude, right?! The man asks so much of me. The good news is that I’m putting more pressure on my legs, so my legs, hips and abs are all dying. Well, he says that’s good news anyway. I think the good news is that I’m not putting as much weight on my arms, which means they don’t kill and hopefully will start shrinking a bit. I seriously am about to Hulk out of my suit jackets. Not cute. I suppose the good news is that I handled it like a champ. 5-0 has been playing really good music lately. My new favorite jam “All of Me” by John Legend came on and gave me a second wind.
So, tonight while I was repairing my sore muscles in a hot bath and debating whether I was going to ever have enough energy and mental power to get myself back to PT, I was flipping through a magazine. In the magazine was an article about how this writer grew to love heels after passing out due to 5.5″ heels or some such thing. She went on and on about how she used to hate flats and how now she appreciated this one famous model who wears flats. And how groundbreaking that model is.
Before I became paralyzed, if you had asked me what my biggest problem with my disability (I would have laughed at calling it a disability. It was more just my slight issues at the time.) was the fact that I couldn’t wear heels. I know that seems silly. Back then I walked with a limp. I couldn’t run and couldn’t walk long distances. Standing for too long was kind of tough. Balancing? Forget it. Yoga was not my friend. But none of that was terrible. I could walk. I could dance. I could walk. Oh, I said that already? I guess in retrospect that was kind of a big thing. My one complaint though: no heels. I’ve never been able to wear heels. At high school dances, all my friends would wear cute little heels. And I was relegated to flat sandals. In my single twenties when I tried to pick up guys at bars, it was flats. In Winter it was knee high boots which I could rock with a mini-skirt like nobody’s business! But they were still flat. My girlfriends in their stiletto boots were always cuter and sexier than me in my flats.
When I recuperated from surgery in 2006, I became obsessed with What Not To Wear. The message from Stacey and Klinton was always the same: women should wear heels at all times. They always went into explicit details about slimming and toning effects of the high heel. And about how it made a woman look sexy or more professional. Though I channeled them every time I went shopping and tried to tune out the shoe comments, it always rang through in my mind. There was also the fact that finding cute flats at the time was near impossible. The shoes I was forced to wear looked like something my grandma would have laughed at. It was a good thing I was always more of a tom boy, and learned how to dress up tennis shoes. And when it came to dating, I just hoped they wouldn’t notice my shoes. My love of dive bars made it easy to wear flip flops or tennis shoes on dates to play pool and drink beers.
The hardest shoe dilemma came when I entered the professional world. Despite all of my mother’s best efforts at pep talks, it was hard to not be envious of all the other female attorneys strutting down court corridors in their suits and shiny high heels. I often tried to hide my feet so no one would notice my lack of power heel. I loved pant suits as they better hid my feet. My suits were impeccable, and my briefcase on point. But I was always self-conscious about my footwear.
One of the best days of my life was when I discovered the Cole Haan female Oxford shoe. Not only could I wear them (i.e. they stayed on my clumsy feet and I could walk!), but they came in Rainbow Brite-esque shades. Blue with pink soles and laces. Gray with purple soles and laces. Red snakeskin with a gold sheen (USC colors- go Trojans!). So many amazing colors that looked great with a classically colored suit. If I’m wearing a black suit with a white shirt, who’s going to complain about my pink Oxfords? It’s become my thing! I specifically remember one day when I was waiting for a bus in Downtown Los Angeles to take me from the train station to the court, when a bus driver literally pulled over a bus to stop and ask me where I got my shoes. That was one of my top 5 favorite things to ever have happened to me.
But what is more important than the shoes themselves (is there even such a thing?!?!) is the feeling I get when I wear them. I’m not embarrassed of my shoes. I’m excited and confident. During a trial 2 years ago, my favorite client used to say to the bailiff “Check out my attorney’s kicks!”. Never did I think that anyone would brag about my style in footwear!
So now, reading this article about this girl finally trying to be OK with flats, like it’s a terrible thing, is pretty upsetting. The fact is that many people can’t wear certain things which society tries to impress upon us as being normal. Or sexy. Or the way to be. And it’s not OK to make us feel bad because we can’t. People are all different. If you love heels and feel better wearing them, then rock them! And if you love wearing flats, or, like me, are forced to, then rock those too!
So here is my self-motivating 2015 message: this year I vow to accept myself, flaws and all. And I will rock whatever I do. Or wear.