I Can Wear Heels, Damn It!

It’s Saturday night, and after a long week of work I’m getting ready for a night on the town.  I imagine my routine looks similar to most other women—the hair, makeup, that perfect outfit. And just like I’ve  seen on TV a million times before, there comes that moment when our leading lady slips into their favorite heels to complete their outfit.  I’m thinking, Yes! I’m thirty, I’m flirty; I can wear heels. …And then halfway through the night I have blisters on my ankles, my toes are squished, and I’m begging my strongest friend to carry me so I don’t have to walk anymore.

The honest truth is: I have never been able to wear heels.  But to me, they aren’t just high heels; they are symbolic of the woman I could be: confident, assertive, adored, witty, sexy. All those things women typically desire—but I thought, without the heels, no one will notice me. They GIVE me the power. So I convinced myself that in order to be the woman I wanted to be, I would have to wear the heels, feet be damned.

But it’s not until I’ve walked what felt like miles and then the heel breaks and I’m floundering around, trying not to trip over my own feet that I suddenly realize I don’t feel confident, assertive, or sexy anymore.  As I limped down the road to find a new, comfier pair of shoes (probably some flip flops that cost a hell of a lot less than those broken heels), I began to question the magic of those heels. How can I rely on something so easily broken to give me confidence? Is suffering through the painful reality of wearing heels to give me this intangible boost to my ego really worth it? I sat down and thought about it and realized:

I am already confident: I have colleagues and friends who regularly ask for my opinion because I have hard-earned knowledge, skills, and abilities that they admire.

I am already assertive: I always try to ask thought-provoking questions when I’m in meetings, and if I’m in a situation where I feel it’s important to express my view or feelings, I do so without hesitation.

I am already adored: I have a wide variety of friends, mentors, co-workers, teammates, and family members who appreciate me, support me, and love me for who I am (with or without the heels!).

I am already witty: I have a sense of humor and try to see the positive in most situations, and I know I can make people laugh.

I am already sexy: You better believe I can rock a good pair of flats any day!

I know, for me, I am usually my own worst critic.  Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly critical, I’ll seek out someone I trust and have an open conversation with them about my strengths and weaknesses. All too often I’ll realize I wasn’t giving myself enough credit. Here’s my advice: Start to adore yourself as others do, and remember that with self-reflection and some hard work, you can be whomever you want to be…wearing any kind of shoes!

So maybe I’ll never be able to really wear heels, but that’s okay, because I don’t need the “magic heels”. I can be whoever I want to be.

Sabrina Deshner has over 10 years’ experience teaching leadership concepts within higher education and non-profit organizations and has a Master’s Degree in Human Resources. She strives to make a positive impact on individuals through teaching them the importance of personal and professional development and in her spare time does health and wellness coaching. She has a passion for learning, creating new things and sharing stories. You can typically find Sabrina reading, writing, dancing or traveling…oh, and watching Netflix. The quote that she lives by is from George Bernard Shaw, “Life is not about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself.” Some of her favorite things include: visiting NYC, her nieces and nephews, the color pink, Disney Princesses, and the Golden Girls.

The Next Big Thing

Every year around my birthday, I like to examine where I am in life. As a 30 something single woman, this is definitely not what younger me pictured. I always knew I would work, maybe have some kind of a career, but that was never the focus of my dreams. My goal was getting married and having children. As a matter of fact, I had a whole plan to be married by 25 and having my first child by the time I turned 30…well, that didn’t happen.

I stumbled through some troubled romantic relationships in my early twenties, and after I hit 25 and marriage still hadn’t happened, I started focusing more on my career. But even with that new focus, I was still honing in on what I wanted to do and where my passion lay. And since life had gotten in the way of where I was supposed to go, I got into the habit of always looking for the “next big thing”. The next job opportunity, relationship, relocation, hobby, and so on. Always looking for a way to improve my life and check items off of an imaginary to-do list.

Don’t get me wrong, I was appreciative for the things I had in life, but it was my life as a whole I had a hard time accepting; I always thought I would be somewhere else, doing something else. Maybe you think that yearning isn’t such a bad thing—that it keeps you growing—but if you’re always looking at what’s next, you’re never focusing on the here and now, appreciating those moments.

The realization dawned on me the day I attended my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary. I looked around at my family and finally understood we are all on this journey. None of us knew where we would be today. Listening to my grandparents sharing stories from their past, I discovered that no one understands the impact certain choices make on our future selves; the only thing you can do is make the best decision for you today.

It’s those choices that guide you to who you are going to become. Your past shapes you and doesn’t always land you where you thought you would be but sometimes it can lead you somewhere better.

So that was when it hit me: I had been striving for a life that wasn’t mine. This is my life now: I don’t have kids, but my friends have kids I’ve watched grow up and love like my own. I may not be married, but I have a family that supports the choices I make and friends I can count on to be by my side without question. I am a professional woman with a career that allows me to be creative and work with people. I have the freedom to travel and try new things. This is my life.

I made the conscious decision that it was time to become content. Unpack some of the things I still had in storage “in case I moved again”, stop job hunting, absorb what I have in the present. Of course I could still set goals and work on improving myself, but I would also take the time to be grateful for what I currently have and who I have become.

It was time for me to accept not where I am in life, but where life had taken me. To stop being so concerned for the “next big thing” and simply be present.

Sabrina Deshner has over 10 years’ experience teaching leadership concepts within higher education and non-profit organizations and has a Master’s Degree in Human Resources. She strives to make a positive impact on individuals through teaching them the importance of personal and professional development and in her spare time does health and wellness coaching. She has a passion for learning, creating new things and sharing stories. You can typically find Sabrina reading, writing, dancing or traveling…oh, and watching Netflix. The quote that she lives by is from George Bernard Shaw, “Life is not about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself.” Some of her favorite things include: visiting NYC, her nieces and nephews, the color pink, Disney Princesses, and the Golden Girls.