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HAIL ME A CAB! (My shoes are too tight to chase it.)

When I was a young working girl, I had to dress up everyday for my job at the investment bank on the 22nd floor of a really tall building in downtown Los Angeles. I wore stockings, heels and suits, dresses or skirts. I never wore pants – it wasn’t acceptable, but that was fine, because my “butt-to-waist” ratio made it challenging to find a good fit anyway. Of course, in those days, spandex-enhanced pants were not really en vogue, (meaning there was no “give” or expansion to accommodate the spread). Needless to say, pants were uncomfortable.

Still…I did dress up. Every. Day. (And that really is the point of this blog).

To put this into proper perspective, I was not making a lot of money as a secretary, and, at that time anyway, Payless only sold tennis shoes, so I generally spent about $45 for a pair of shoes…That was a LOT of money, considering rent was $465!

Well, the other day, I was reminiscing about the “good old days” and remembered one of my VERY-MOST-FAVORITE-PAIR-OF-SHOES. Ever. They were taxi-cab yellow patent leather pumps with a sexy vamp and the perfect heel. Some people called them “school bus gold,” but that always mortified me, because it meant someone thought I was BIG…like a school bus.

Seriously. I thought that.

My shoes were way prettier than these, and they didn't have pointy toes, but these are for effect.

Anyway, I had two things that matched those shoes: One was a cute cotton dress with a matching fabric belt, (that I always thought made me look fat…isn’t that funny?) and the other was a sexy satin goldenrod yellow blouse that I wore with a black pencil skirt. But…those were the ONLY TWO THINGS that those shoes matched and, in those days, you didn’t go for a “POP” of color like you do now; you went for “MATCHY-MATCHY.”

They were a lot like these, only they weren't suede – they were shiny – and I don't recall ever standing on a sheepskin throw in mine.

BUT, back to the shoes. In reality, I must confess that they weren’t patent leather at all. They were pleather. That’s right: PLASTIC-LEATHER. And, they were tight. Incredibly tight. Incredibly, painfully tight. From the instant I put them on, until I took them off, they pinched my toes and hurt like nobody’s business. Yes, I bought them like that, and yes, they hurt in the store! Tragically, these stupid shoes hurt so much, I wasn’t even able to walk in them for the first hour. Fortunately, it would get better and eventually, my toes would fall asleep so the pain would localize, and I could wince my way quite convincingly through my day without anyone having the slightest hint that I was uncomfortable.

That’s what I did: I shimmied along in my über-sexy yellow plastic shoes and matching dress and acted is if I hadn’t a care in the world (because that’s what beautiful did. They ignored their discomfort.) Although…in retrospect, I cannot begin to understand HOW they tolerated the pain, except to say that they weren’t trying to balance 180 pounds on a 1/4″ diameter heel stud. Yeah, that was definitely how they did it.

Right about now, you’re asking, “What on EARTH could possibly have motivated you to spend money you didn’t have on shoes that didn’t fit in the store and weren’t going to stretch once you got them home?”

In a word? VANITY.

That’s right: VANITY.

I had always heard that you had to suffer for your beauty, so that’s what I did. Never mind those naysayers who warned me that I’d “pay the ultimate price later” when I was old (40) and couldn’t wear heels anymore. They told me I’d end up in sensible shoes…like nurses wear. And that I’d have bunions, calluses and misshapen feet.

But I DIDN’T CARE.

I wanted what I wanted — no matter the price.

What made me think it was okay to suffer in silence? Why did I think I needed to HURT for the sake of beauty? As I sit here today (in more comfortable, though much higher shoes), I wonder if it was the evil “over-compensation” at work. You know, the feeling that, since I was overweight, I had to pay the price by suffering. Perhaps I believed I wasn’t worth more, so I’d take what I could get and enjoy the compliments.

Or, maybe I just WANTED to fit in so desperately, it didn’t matter how extreme the consequences…

There might be something to that…after all it’s a skill I perfected in my obese years…the art of ignoring the consequences.

I wanted it, and that’s all that mattered.

Other people ate junk food; so did I.
Other people did whatever they wanted; so did I.
Who really cared?It was only LIFE…and I had so much more of it ahead of me, best to live it while I was young.

And here I am.
Older than 40.
Recovering from obesity and food addiction.
And still wearing high heels.

So, what changed?

Well, I think I finally figured out that I don’t have to overcompensate for my deficiencies anymore, because my goal is not perfection. I don’t have to suffer because I think it is expected of me, and I don’t have to wear shoes that pinch. (Unless I want to because they are so, darned sexy 😉

The reality is, I am who I am, and life is too short to suffer and try to pretend I am someone that I’m not.

Why, if I had those shoes today, I’d proudly call them SCHOOL BUS YELLOW and not worry that someone might think I LOOK like a school bus in them!

What matters most?

Well…I think I’m gonna go with comfortable peace on this one. Yes, comfortable peace. That is the goal, and it doesn’t involve ill-fitting, taxi-cab yellow pumps or dresses that make me feel ugly.

Okay, I do miss those shoes.

Sometimes.

2 comments

1 Nikkie { 08.27.11 at 6:53 am }

Really good, Sweetie. Problem is, my mind got stuck back on this"…goldenrod yellow blouse that I wore with a black pencil school." What in the heck is a black pencil school?? LOL! ~0;-p

2 Melinda { 09.09.11 at 2:20 am }

Reminds me of a few pair of my former shoes, one being pleather white boots which were paper thin and I insisted to my mother that I would wear out in snowy winter weather! I froze my toes off, nearly got frostbite it seemed! This story sure took me back to that young experience (maybe I was ten?)

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