Home > college, personal, school > Why I wore heels to the first day of school

Why I wore heels to the first day of school

The shoes in question

San Francisco State University is a fortress of academia painted in grey. Concrete buildings and foggy skies run seamlessly into another. I see the same starkness in the faces of most of the people I pass on the grounds. I often feel overwhelmed. I usually feel like I am swimming alone through an ocean of living granite slabs. They are there, spending their parents’ money on a degree chosen because of its potential to earn a salary. I have chosen an altogether different path. When I decided to pursue a Journalism major, obviously affluence was not a goal. This commitment to a modest income was further confirmed when I chose to round out my education with a minor in Philosophy.

Today I walked back onto this campus. Today was the beginning of the end. Today I started my last semester as an undergraduate.

Today, I wore heels.

These are not “fuck me” heels. If anything, these are my “I am not fucking around” heels.

It may seem like a trivial thing, but choosing to wear heels was a something I put a fair amount of thought into. At least, slightly more thought than I usually put into footwear. When I wear heels, it changes me in a measurable way. I am forced to stand up straighter. I am made to think about how I am placing my feet. I have no choice but to walk with purpose. I am a chronic speedwalker, but heels force me to slow down and compose myself, lest I tumble onto the pavement in front of a crowd.

Though this isn’t the first time I’ve stepped onto the SFSU campus by a long shot, I realize that a new semester affords a certain opportunities to make a good impression. Now, understand that this doesn’t mean I am terribly concerned with what others think of me. Instead, I am more concerned with setting the bar for myself that I will try and meet throughout the rest of the semester. And damn it, if I can drag myself out of bed and trudge all the way to Parkmerced on a Monday morning while wearing heels, I damn well can complete this semester with flying colors.

The only impression I’m concerned about making is the one I make on myself when I look in the mirror in the morning. And when I wear heels, I see someone powerful. I see someone who looks like they are in control. I see someone who looks elegant. I see someone who is determined. After spending about two months being berated on the internet because of my work on confronting harassment at hacker conferences, I don’t feel as powerful or in control as I once did. As I face graduating and the inevitable plunge into a volatile and competitive job market, I feel as it my determination may be wavering. There are other factors that have been slowly eating away at my resolve over the last few months that I don’t feel like talking about on this blog. Suffice to say anything that helps me find a little strength is a welcome thing.

And today? Today that little bit of strength came from a fantastic pair of heels.

Categories: college, personal, school
  1. Chris O'Sullivan
    August 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    May they lift you up and bring you forward. Have a great academic year.

  2. Chris
    October 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    a friend posted the link to your card-project article. I read the whole discussion. Your idea is so important. In the situation of actually being harrassed, an appropriate comeback is impossible to find. Your wording was well-suited I would say, not passive-aggressive, not playing the victim. Simply stating “What you did was wrong”.
    One side of me doesn’t want to believe that all those haters are actually just one single troll, because are there actually people out there still thinking that way? In this century?

    Anyway, why do I post this under this post? Because you sound like someone needs to tell you today: you rock!

  3. Chris
    October 30, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    oh no, mistake in previous comment. I stumbled over sentence structure….I shall re-post, feel free to delete these first two.

  4. Chris
    October 30, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    a friend posted the link to your card-project article. I read the whole discussion. Your idea is so important. In the situation of actually being harrassed, an appropriate comeback is impossible to find. Your wording was well-suited I would say, not passive-aggressive, not playing the victim. Simply stating “What you did was wrong”.
    One side of me wants to believe that all those haters are actually just one single troll, because are there actually people out there still thinking that way? In this century?

    Anyway, why do I post this under this post? Because you sound like someone needs to tell you today: you rock!

  5. Yuna
    November 30, 2012 at 2:06 am

    It’s already nearing the end of your semester, but I really hope you did well and that your choice to wear heels that day changed a lot for you. I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed reading this post and that you are an inspiring lady! Thank you for all your hard work and I am very proud of you for doing what you do because you want to do it.

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