performing femininity


I’ve had a few people ask me why I wear heels. I work in academia. I really don’t have to.

But I remember distinctly having a fight with a boyfriend who was the worst possible person and leaving to buy two new pairs of heels. Two good ones too. Gold leather low-key gladiator sandals (not some obnoxious shit either) and a pair of brown strappy faux-snake pattern sandals. I don’t have either of them anymore, but at eighteen they made a big difference.

Buying them made me feel whole again. It made me feel like I was still myself no matter what. I started wearing them everyday. Arguing with a bad boyfriend was something like the blob feeling I had at the service job I hated.
Within the next few months, I was finally in an office job environment in education too. So I was part time in a bakery and part time at the work study. I always wore shoes there. I was still with the terrible man at the time, in some way or another, but at least I didn’t look it.

I was just doing whatever. No one and nothing grounding me as a person. Somehow I ended up in academia. I was always a good student without trying very hard. But when I got to a university my junior year it was hard. Of course I was still floundering around, ruining my life via men. Shit that was still the beginning of that. But eventually I could get A’s on papers from hard professors. It felt like something.

Some time after graduation, a friend from school there finally asked: so why do you wear heels everyday? I didn’t even have to think about it, although I’ve never said it out loud: I worked service jobs for years. At fourteen, I was a busboy at an Italian restaurant. Then I was a cashier for a while. I worked in a bakery and at dunkin doughnuts. I’ve had a bunch of shitty jobs. When I finally got a job that let me wear what I wanted and that I didn’t spend on my feet every second of the work day, I broke out of the boring clothes.
Wearing heels and shit has helped me get through bad times. They make you stand up straight. When people ask me how I wear them I tell them the truth–once I walk out the door with them on, they’re on. I just do it.

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