I’m wearing heels and it’s party practice, OK?

Click, clack, click, clack. You know the sound. It’s on the street; in your office building; at the bar — ladies in heels, working their skillful lady feet. For some, heels are an everyday affair, and I appreciate that, but in my world? The affair is more like a shoe fart. Ya know, the kind your feet make as they rub against the back of your sneakers if you’re wearing the right wrong socks.

Look, I don’t really know how to navigate heels, and if I find myself in a position where I need to wear them, things change. Like, the Earth pivots a bit on its axis and entire worlds are suddenly under threat of mass calamity. “Renee is walking in heels! Run for your lives!”

I never learned the art of heels. I’m a kid of the ‘90s, man! That means I was rocking platform boots all day long without a care, and those things are basically like walking on concrete cinder blocks. I was probably safer in those things than in the Vans I wear today. *sigh* In any case …

Last weekend, I was scheduled to attend a 70th birthday party for a family member. It was being hosted at a yacht club, and there was catering and a DJ and all that jazzy jazz. So, naturally, I found myself in a position needing to “dress up.” Mind you, I started worrying about this the moment I found out about the party. “Did you get the invitation to Judy’s party?” My Mom asked me, literally a month ago, and there went my brain! Oh, gods, I’m going to need to wear something … like … nice! And, and heels!

So, the birthday arrives and I literally need to dust off a pair of black patent sling back, peep toe pumps. I slide them on my feet and I start walking on the carpet in my bedroom. OK, not so bad. I walk a few more paces and there I am, staring down the stairs. Oh, my lords, I’m gonna fall, or I’m gonna roll my ankle, or my knee is gonna to break. Yeah, Renee, your knee is definitely going to break. *rolls eyes at self*

Alright, so there is much fussing and I elect to wear flip flops on my way to the party, slipping on the heels at the very last moment before I need to exit the car and traverse the parking lot, which is clearly a minefield of spears, glass and hot lava. Still, I manage to get inside. My makeup’s fixed; my hair’s newly straightened; I’m wearing cute plaid capris, and I’m still standing!

Hours pass. I’m drinking a bit and eating, and my heels are getting tighter and more uncomfortable until all I’m thinking about is my feet. Snausages®. My toes definitely looks like Snausages® by now, and my ankles probably look like angry glazed donuts. Regardless, I continue on – ordering drinks and chatting it up with family. I was confident they weren’t on to me and my Cinderella sister feet.

My mother and I leave this birthday party at about, oh, I don’t know, 9:30 pm? My feet have now been in heels for four and a half hours, but I’ve averted embarrassment and almost certain death. Hey, I polished up with the best of them and swaggered about like a savvy, put-together woman. Good for me! As a reward to myself, I tip off those heels as quickly as possible and pad back into my house barefoot.

Adult lesson learned? Heels (for me) are little physical representations of the expectations I force upon myself every single day. I felt vehemently that I needed to wear heels to this party, but ya know what? The outfit would have been just as cute if I had worn flats. Heels are not who I am, but being a little bit uncomfortable for a short amount of time was OK, too. It forced me to work through a bit of silly fear I had developed that dictated I absolutely, 100 percent could not wear heels, look presentable and still be Renee. Where does all of this get me, you may ask? Well, not too far, but maybe a little closer to being a better bridesmaid come September, and maybe a little closer to easing up on my own expectations. Heels? Flats? Whatever. It really doesn’t matter. Just show up to the party.

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