Why I wore heels to the first day of school
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.