Tuesday, July 18, 2006

She Just Walks Around In Green Sneakers

I've been with Ish for almost a year now.

On the one hand, this is kind of amazing given his own personal situation. Then again, on the other hand, perhaps this is not surprising at all.

For the last year, he's been dealing with his separation-cum-divorce and that has forced our relationship into a very grown-up space I have never been able to manage before. So much of the histrionics and "where is this going" and fits and starts are simply not applicable. As long as I feel, and he confirms, that this -- that we -- could be going somewhere, that has to be enough. Beyond that, I can't push him into being serious with me; there is nowhere to push to.

He has a whole lifetime to figure out and a need to get his bearings and I cannot say this is what you need or this is what you should do or this is what is wrong. Because what do I know?

Actually, I'll tell you what I know.

I know that I feel good about myself when I’m with him. I am proud that he is my boyfriend. He is a good-on-paper guy who also happens to be great in person. I think the world of him. And mostly, usually, unquestioningly I think enough of me to think we’re well matched.

And then THWAP!

* * * * * *

My entire world shifted when my father died and then Ish’s work/live situation was thrown into chaos and I didn’t feel like I knew anything anymore. Slowly the ground has stopped shaking and a sense of routine and normalcy has returned. But you don’t just go back to how things were. You know that. You can never go back.

Death and family. Jobs and moving. Friends. Money. Life. Career. Inspiration. Love. These are the things you talk about when you are searching for meaning and for a roadmap and for the “off” button.

I will never forget David telling me he wasn’t willing to be with me through the crisis that was my mother’s sickness and death because, he said, “what if you just leave me after it’s all over?” And there I was, with a man I'd only been dating for a few months who has his own turmoil thankyouverymuch and who had never even met most of my family let alone all of it at one time on a different coast...

...and yet, he just went with me anyway. Stayed with me anyway. There was no talk of what happens when it’s all over.

Except now it is, a little. A little over, all that drama and sadness. But the emotional genie got out of her bottle. And it turns out she’s not very interested in going back in.

* * * * * *

All this talk of weight and weight loss and motivation and inspiration, it’s been taxing. Generally, shallowly, my biggest motivator has otherwise always been just getting the guy. But I, um, got him. Sort of. For now. But enough so that my motivation (as we know) is a little blurry.

Still, of course, I’ve caught myself thinking that thought:
Do I need to lose weight to keep him?

To which I think, of course not, don’t be ridiculous.
But would it help?

Sigh. The truth is, I’m scared that we won’t work out and I’m scared that I’m 31 and I’m scared that I’ll never be this excited about anyone ever again.

* * * * * *

Last Friday night, Ish took me out to dinner. He had an after-work engagement, so we agreed to meet a little later, at 8:30. This gave me time to go home and change and, I decided, get gussied up.

I even wore heels.

Now, as you well know, wearing heels is somewhat rare for me. Heels are hard on my body, because it puts all of my top-heavy weight on my knees and (rather small) feet. And right, also I fall. So I am particular about when I venture to wear heels. In this case, knew we would be taking a cab to the restaurant and back again, meaning no walking – so I thought I was safe and could ACTUALLY be breezily elegant and lovely and get away with being super feminine and feel like a million dollars and be fabulous and gorgeous and everything any guy (especially the one I’m with) would want.

Dinner was great. But.

After dinner we wanted to have a nightcap and discovered that all the bars in the area were packed full with loud, annoying crowds of beautiful-but-terribly-drunk people. So we tried to get a cab to take us somewhere nice, since we were both dressed up and it was still relatively early. We discussed our options, picked a spot, and tried to hail a cab. Except we soon discovered that cabs were scarce, and crowds of drunk people were vying for them at all corners.

This meant we had two options. We could stay and fight with the crowds for the few cabs, or simply walk a few blocks to a more cab-rich area. I suggested we simply wait it out where we were. Ish suggested we simply walk a couple blocks.

And then I made the cardinal sin of saying “it doesn’t matter to me” and also “we can do whatever you want” when I didn’t mean it and without explaining why I didn’t want to walk. So instead I took the always ill-fated, passive-aggressive route of tacking, “but I really don’t mind if we just wait here” on to my “we can do whatever you want.”

When it seemed evident that Ish really wanted to get away from the crazy crowds, I started to feel desperate. “I guess I could put my sneakers on,” I offered. Because I had them in my cute tote, and Ish knows that a lot of my shoes hurt my feet after a while, so this isn’t so surprising or out of character for me. In my head, though, that was precisely the problem. I wanted to bowl him over with my whimsical beauty and glamour. So I told myself, You know what? Nevermind. Let’s just walk! No more arguing, no more whining or complaining on my part. I’m just going to walk the few blocks in my slippery sling-backs and deal with it. No sneakers! Glamour!

And we got about a half a block before I started bawling.

My shoes were too uncomfortable and they were falling off. But more than that, I was suddenly terrified and defeated and felt all those insecurities I’ve been ignoring or brushing off or maybe not even feeling for the last year bubble up to the surface and come pouring out right there in front of Ish and God and the Bay Bridge and a few dozen gorgeous skinny bitches who did a lousy job trying not to stare.

Because in those few steps, with my shoe straps falling off my ankles, I started down that horrid path of doubt.

I am not a skinny bitch and I never will be. And even if I lose weight, even if I get down to a very small size, I will still hate wearing heels that hurt my feet and even if I find an adorable pair they will not fit well and I won’t know it until it’s too late. I will never have a wardrobe filled with nice clothes because I will spill something down my shirt the at the first opportunity. It’s not that I feel a need to be chic and glamorous all the time, I am not so unreasonable. It’s just sometimes I want to be the woman who you take to a quiet, romantic dinner and who doesn’t end up wearing her appetizer.

In the deepest, darkest recesses of my oft-steady but occasionally faltering ego, I fear that I am not good enough for him. That in the end, this will have been fun but that he will want someone – ha, ha – that The Comic will want someone more serious. Someone less likely to make a fool of herself wherever she goes. Someone who doesn’t wear sweats at home all the time and who does the dishes a whole lot more often. Someone with less cat hair and more functional groceries.

Because all this breezy elegance? Mostly I do just walk around with it. Mostly I do walk around with all my intangible baggage and my all-too-tangible ass and say this is just who I am and fine, really. But sometimes I wish I could just put it on a shelf. Just for a night. Just for a dinner.

* * * * * *

He would have none of it. He was a bit surprised but gentle and gave me the Oh, sweetie... you give to someone who has skinned her knee.

I love your green sneakers
, he said. And I think he meant it.



(These are not green, but mine are.)

29 comments:

  1. But we don't want the Perfect Kristy Who Lives In Your Head if She Could Only Just ___________.

    We want breezily elegant, mash potato boobied, awesome cocktail party throwing, crying on the sidewalk in front of the Bay Bridge Kristy.

    Because she is human.

    And we love her.

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  2. A man that says, "Sweetie - I love your green sneakers." doesn't give a rat's ass about skinny bitches who don't have enough sense to bring a sensible pair of shoes because they know themselves as well as you do...seriously. Kudos to Ish for being a good man from the inside out.

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  3. I will never have a wardrobe filled with nice clothes because I will spill something down my shirt the at the first opportunity. It’s not that I feel a need to be chic and glamorous all the time, I am not so unreasonable. It’s just sometimes I want to be the woman who you take to a quiet, romantic dinner and who doesn’t end up wearing her appetizer.


    Oh, K...

    As I stare down at the too-tight shirt that I needed to wear ONE more time because I thought it was cute and I know that my bulging baby bell won't be contained in it much longer... the shirt with not one but TWO stains of Infant Tylenol on it... the shirt that I am still wearing because I wanted ice cream for dessert and thought, "Well, I KNOW I'll spill... so it might as well be on something already dirty..."

    As I sit here staring, I think I realize that that damn wading pool so many years ago must have splashed us with the same curse. ;)

    And although there are MANY moments -- hell, many DAYS -- where I am so mortified at my less-than-presentable self that I could just take off running (and, undoubtedly, tripping and falling in whatever shoes I'm wearing because, well, because I'm ME)...

    I have to admit that there's some small measure of comfort in knowing that I'm not alone. :)

    Love you.
    Stains, green sneakers, and all.

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  4. OMG, all of this is so many places I have been and things I have thought (um, ok, except all those parts about Ish... there are other names that fit in there). I just want to hug you and tell you that you're fabulous and how much I enjoy reading your blog and how in awe I am that you put it all out there for all of us.

    OK, so I just did (except for the hugging)!

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  5. Score one for Ish. 'atta boy, good answer! That made me sob and laugh all at the same time.

    K ~ he's with you honey, right now. This is your life. It's happening. Here it is. This MOMENT. He's with you right now and that's really what matters and as soon as you get that, you can get on with the business enjoying your life and living in THIS moment. Then you won't have to look back and wish you'd savored every second as it was happening.
    *with love and compassion*
    ~Tonya

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  6. Oh baby! He's a keeper. 110% for sure. (As if you didn't know that!)

    Don't feel bad about your emotional upchuck. As I was reading it I was in tears thinking about the number of times that something seemingly minor, brought out a tidal wave of insecurity in me.

    Most recently, I had a crapy week followed by a long weekend. During which the first two hours of, I dropped the rediculously expensive digital camera that my husband bought for my birthday. It broke. I stood there, looking at the sunset over the Pacific, which was now fuzzy through all the tears I was holding back, and every stupid memory of dropping, breaking, spilling and tripping over things came back. Followed by all the reasons that I am a complete dumb ass who should not be allowed out in public and whose husband should be ashamed to be with her.

    *sigh*

    He just kissed my forhead. Put me back in the car and went on our way as if I had not just had a meltdown on the side of the road. Held my hand as if I was the last best thing on earth and never wanted to let go. Told me he loved me. No matter what I dropped, spilled or tripped over.

    He's a keeper too

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  7. I betchya a buck.....no ten bucks he pops the big question...still with his pending situation just to let you know you are good enough for him in fact I can bet he say's "You complete him"

    let me know I'll pay up but I want my ten bucks if I'm right...


    Cus from what you have said .ooops or wrote in the past year or so I'm right

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  8. Okay, Kiki, I may as well confess... Poor Em inherited her special breezy elegance from me and she must have passed it on to you in that wading pool. I'm so sorry.

    Have I told you that SW gave me my very own hip hop name? It's Shudda Worna Bib. Talk about glamorous. Yet, I believe that he loves me not in spite of, but because of the way I wear my food and catch people on my jacket strings and exit the ladies' room with two feet of toilet paper stuck to my shoe. Somehow, he finds it all highly entertaining. It's such a plus to have someone in my life who describes my most embarrassing moments as my "greatest hits". How can you not love a guy like that?! Bravo to him and to Ish! xoxoxo

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  9. I also can't wear heels.

    I own a few pairs, but I'm usually too afraid to wear them, partly because they're uncomfortable, and partly because I'm afraid people will look at me and wonder, "who does she think she is trying to pull off those shoes? I'm afraid that people will think that the shoes are wearing ME.

    At least you were brave enough to actually leave the house with them on.

    And BTW, he sounds like a good one.

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  10. The thing is, all those girls you think you want to be like probably have all the same damn insecurities and issues that we all have, and just wearing a pair of heels doesn't fix them. Then they probably come here and read you and think, "God, I wish I had even a fraction of her talent for writing and connecting with people."

    Thanks for writing.

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  11. Aww. I won't go on about myself. But you're lovely. Emotional outbursts, green sneakers and all.

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  12. I think everyone thinks that they don't look put together. I look at my best friend and think that she's super skinny and wearing BCBG all the time with no stains, and she is looking at me and thinking that I have a great boyfriend and straight teeth and she doesn't. It's like Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion - we all have our insecurities, and look up to other people, make other people's lives more insecure. It's just a fact of life. That doesn't mean that sometimes we don't cry about it (personally, all my emotions come out my eyeballs, ALL THE TIME)- the great thing is that you have a great guy like Ish that is there for you and great friends to lend a shoulder once in a while.

    And I like your sneakers, too.

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  13. After that, I love your green sneakers, too.

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  14. I will never have a wardrobe filled with nice clothes because I will spill something down my shirt the at the first opportunity
    It's the boobs- there are many of us out here who are similarly afflicted.
    Wearing dark colors helps, and the friends I know well have grown accustomed to the fact that I lean much farther forward than is really seemly to avoid splotching ANOTHER t-shirt with sauce or syrup or random condimenty goodness. That helps too.
    (also, soups are of the devil. Just fyi.)

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  15. The next time you see the skinny bitches, remember that they're probably going to fall down too, because their shoes are teetery and they ARE a skinny bitches who cannot hold their liquour. They're looking at you and your green sneakers that you were smart enough to carry, and they're a little green. Booze or envy? You decide.

    And when the man by your side tells you he loves your green sneakers, then you don't worry about tomorrow or next week or next year. Right at that moment, someone is looking at you, in all your breezy elegance, thinking "Damn, that woman is kooky. I LOVE IT!" And the look on the face of the skinny bitches at that moment will be, I assure you, one of envy.

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  16. OH MY GOD, honey, this is EXACTLY what happened to me yesterday morning. It wasn't about shoes; it was about me being the kind of young woman that is excited about her job and CAN GET UP IN THE MORNING WITHOUT A CIRCUS PRODUCTION, because I can't and I view this as the biggest issue facing the world today. Because obviously I could end world hunger and affect world peace if someone would just LET ME IN ON THE SECRET of how OTHER people get up every day without turning into the biggest witch of the west.

    And if I'm late, god help me and the LT. We went for coffee on the way to work yesterday morning, even though I didn't want to because I didn't have time, because I also committed the cardinal sin of saying, "No, I have time"--even though I didn't--and we got out of the coffee shop and I, too, started to bawl. Loudly. The LT was just as surprised as Ish. But just as gentle. This happened YESTERDAY, k. Are we psychically linked?

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  17. The real question regarding Ish - does he have a brother? Hehe.

    But seriously, he is definitely a keeper and you, my dear, are simply fabulous.

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  18. I have gone through that very same thought process so many times, not always involving heels but other various insecurities screaming at me. Two things: You've got to try out Aerosole shoes and the totally awesome gel insoles that they sell at Nordstrom's shoe department that makes heels tolerable.
    Another thing I always think about: why are we so afraid that we will lose them? How come they are not afraid they will lose US? I'm trying to figure out how to get closer to their mindset than mine former neurotic one...
    By the way I really respect you for airing out what you truly feel but many of us are too afraid to say. Thank you!

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  19. May every woman be so fortunate as to have an Ish of her own. Cute sneakers by the way :)

    Oh, and Aarwenn, Jason lived through me getting up and crying just about every morning for a year because I hated my job and state in life so much. You are not alone, and aren’t we lucky?

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  20. K! I'm totally THAT girl, too! All my shirts have stains on them and I STILL WEAR THEM. I sometimes wear heels that kill my feet, roll my ankles. My hair in DC heat gives me the cotton ball look. I'm NOT a skinny bitch at all. And yet I still smile and charm. I totally know how and what it feels like. Just keep being yourself. You're great just as you are. Ish knows that, just as much as we all do...

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  21. Heels always look great in theory (and when one is sitting down). But I don't know how the hell people walk in them. There are women I see wearing stilettos all day long at work. How the hell do they do it? One of life's mysteries.

    As for the crying, well, it's always the little things that seem to set us off, eh? All that stuff builds up inside and comes out at just the last moment we want it to.

    My own lil story: I cried in court once (I'm a lawyer, for the moment). In front of the judge. For what seemed like an eternity. And it wasn't because I lost my argument, it was because 36 hours of pure frustration just decided to come out at that inopportune moment. Man, was I glad to hear that that judge retired last month, so I never have to step up in front of him again. :)

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  22. I'm 5-10 AND an large person and I never wear heels. Right now I'm at work in a suit and I have on New Balance shoes. I once went to the Emmys in a beautiful silver suit and small heels that stayed on for 30 minutes, then on went the New Balance. And you know what? Nobody notices and nobody cares. So be comfortable and be happy!

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  23. I had those exact sma esneakers in red. I wore them all over town with all sorts of clothing that didn't go because I loved them so so much.

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  24. You gotta love a man that says...
    "Honey... I love your _______" (insert green sneakers, ass, meatloaf...or whatever of yours that you know is not necessarily loveable).

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  25. I'm sorry you had that moment. I totallyl understand. It's the everyday things that can just totally make the picture come crashing down on.

    Nice shoes though. He sounds like a good one.

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  26. I am one of those skinny blonde bitches in BCBG heels. Size 0. And citycat and april were both right--we all fight insecurities, all the time.

    I have lived for 17 years with a man who I think once loved me but moved quickly towards contempt and dislike and emotional abuse (which I internalized and believed and began to have serious self esteem issues) (don't judge please--I had two small children and remember I truly believed everything was my fault since I was so obviously unlovable). I've pulled myself together and have met and been with a man for a year who loves me, and treats me SO well, and yet I still struggle with how can he love me, as I still see myself as unlovable. And the real kicker is that he sees PAST the attractive blonde hair and skinny body to the person inside--just like Ish sees past your charming (really!) breezy elegance to see you.

    I've learned the hard way that women, no matter our size, hair color, shoe wearing ability, grace, or ability to wear our meals (which I do with an A cup!) all have our insecurities, and that we need to STOP tearing ourselves and others down and support each other.

    You're an amazing woman, one who has been through a lot and who's life is richer for it, and one who deserves the love of Ish and the acceptance of yourself as a lovable woman.

    I rarely post, but I stalk, and I had to tell you that skinny girls go through the same things...we're all one.

    Keep writing--I'm a teacher and you have talent.

    L

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  27. New to your blog but mesmerized by your writing. Maybe someday I will be as strong as you and as honest as you with my feelings...

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  28. I just want you to know that you're sort of my hero.
    And I have those blue shoes.

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  29. Awww, sweetie! ;p
    *HUGS*

    Yeah, we all have insecurities, even me [I think I'm the 5'4", size 12 version of beach/hippie Barbie, heh]

    I'm not much of a spiller, too often, but OMG, I am totally a faller, tripper, loser-of-balance.

    I can't wear heels. No frickin' way! Never taught myself properly, really, and have had enough weird bone issues that it isn't healthy for me.

    However! 1-2" heels are sometimes okay, if the brand is good. Naturalizer. Taryn Rose are amazing, there's actually arch support. Expensive, though, so ebay is a good way to go for those! ;p

    I had the black/silver version of those shoes for years and years. Finally got rid of them years ago after realizing I'd had them since the old college boyfriend was around...now I have serious running shoes most of the time, and some cute sneakers, and just got a pair of athletic Mary Janes, which I'm loving. [All Rounder by Mephisto]
    & got some nice, leather, fancy but Teva-esque shoes by SAS last summer. ;p

    You're awesome. Rock it. ;-)

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