It’s Sunday, and I’ve got another personal story for you all. In high school, I was crazy about this guy. The butterflies, the knee buckling, the blushing…I experienced all of that as a by-product of my head-over-heels love affair with the boy that I thought could do no wrong. But my obsession with him was nothing compared to my adoration for clothes. And just as much I love it now, in high school, dressing up gave me nothing but joy. In fact, I was the girl known for wearing heels every day,…even on half days. I enjoyed it. Even though it was “just school” as most people would say, heels completed my outfits in a way that made me happy. So day after day, outfit after outfit, I continued to wear them.
Every day after seventh period, my crush and I would walk together. One day in particular, he was headed to football practice and I was headed to the buses to go home. And as we were walking down the hallway, he randomly asked me “Why do you always wear heels?” I didn’t really know how to answer and I just shyly shrugged my shoulders and said “I don’t know”, thinking he was just asking for curiosity sake. He then said “I mean, don’t you think it’s too much? I mean you look fly, but dang, it’s a lot.” My heart could’ve literally fell to my stomach in that very moment. But sadly, it wasn’t because he failed to recognize high school fashion at its best lol, but mainly because I failed to impress him. I wasn’t good enough for him. I didn’t give him exactly what he wanted and therefore, he wouldn’t care for me the way I cared for him. I remember being taunted by the conversation for the rest of the evening. I thought about it for the rest of the day and decided that I was going to make it my mission to impress him. I decided I wasn’t going to wear heels again, no matter how much I wanted to…and I didn’t. Months and months went by with my new toned down way of dressing and one day, my mom stopped me on my way to school and said “Linda, why don’t you wear heels with that dress instead of flats?” And I looked at her and told her that I didn’t like wearing heels to school anymore. When she asked me why, I gave her an honest response and she just looked at me. From her look, I could see her heart drop to her stomach just as mine did when my crush said those words to me. Her look wasn’t because my outfits weren’t as stylish as they once were, but because I was willing to sacrifice my happiness for someone that didn’t deserve it.
Looking back on it now, I can laugh. I can laugh that I was that concerned with the opinion of a high school crush. I can laugh that I thought not wearing heels everyday was this traumatic experience. But I could never quite laugh at that look my mom gave me. The look of disappointment that I was willing to put my wants aside to make someone love their idea of me, rather than my reality. It took a little while and few too many flats and sneakers later, but as I grew older, I finally realized how that look my mom gave me was so monumental to my development not only in my relationships, but as a woman in general. And often times, I am reminded of that look when I see women sacrificing their particular happiness for men who are undeserving. Giving up memories, friendships, goals and aspirations, hobbies, opportunities and so many other things that give them joy to temporarily please a man that has an expiration date.
Sure, my happiness was found in something as minuscule as heels, but if it’s something that I enjoyed doing, why should I have to give that up? Why should I have to compromise something that’s important to me to temporarily please someone that wouldn’t make the same sacrifice for me? Sometimes the hardest concept to grasp, is the importance of putting your own happiness first. A lot of times we abuse that concept in light of trying to please people that are unworthy of such sacrifices. Don’t give someone the luxury of picking and choosing what parts of you they will love. Loving you encompasses loving your quirks, your high maintenance ways, your flaws, your shortcomings, your pitfalls, and everything else in between. Your love is an all or nothing package deal and any compromise that is to be made, should be one that only heightens the things that you love about yourself, not diminishes them.
Like most of our high school infatuations, that love story came to an end. But one thing I learned was to always say true to myself. Because loving someone else is impossible, without wholly loving all of the things that encompass yourself. And with every guy that followed, I made sure to keep my head held high and my heels even higher. 👠