Clumsy Me

I am a klutz. I trip constantly, I’m always walking into tables or falling off the couch, I spill food on or around myself at least once per meal (including snacks), I have more burn scars on my hands from forgetting a potholder or an oven mitt and my coworkers have long since stopped asking “what happened?!” when they see another gargantuan bruise on me, having figured out that the only thing beating me up is gravity. I don’t know where I get it from because neither my parents nor brother are even close to my level of clumsy hot mess (my twinster T gets close, but I’ve got the edge), but either way, I have the clumsy gene and there’s nothing I can do about it.

This weekend I managed to injure my lone remaining good foot while racing to the pool area from my parent’s deck in the beautiful Saturday sun, in desperate need of the Bose stereo so mama B, my brother’s wonderful girlfriend D, my lovely friend M and my work buddy S and I could continue a dance party to the best of the 60s. Still grooving with the stereo as I ran from the fire pit past a row of lawn chairs, I sped up to turn a corner and smacked my foot directly into the metal leg of a rogue lounge chair and exhaled the loudest “MOTHER F&!)#*@!&R” I’ve ever uttered in my entire life. Exactly a week after twisting my left ankle so badly it still hurts to walk down stairs, I was now hobbling around with a likely-broken toe on my right foot. The crowd from inside came out to see what I’d gotten myself into, probably expecting a snapping turtle attack, and instead we all just shook our heads and laughed: of course LB ran into the lounge chair. Of course.

In most aspects of my life, I’m fairly well organized and put-together. My desk at work would beg to differ, but my inbox is semi-organized, I would never wear black shoes with a brown belt, and I’ve gotten into a great routine at home to stop magazines from piling in the corner and keep empty wine bottles from an extended stay in my recycling bin. I even organized my closet a few months back, summer dresses next to jumpsuits next to blazers next to skirts (aside: yes I have a jumpsuit section and it’s the best part of my closet. End aside), and it’s stayed organized for much longer than I’d ever anticipated. All in all, I’m a fairly organized and put-together person. In fact, I’m really only clumsy with myself.

“Clumsy with myself” is another way to describe the reckless abandon I’ve been integrating into my life these days, throwing my heart around like a rubber ball and waiting to see if it breaks or bounces back. It’s been such a weird year so far, 2014, and as we’re officially in the second half of the year, I’ve been thinking a lot about what might happen, or what I want to happen, before it’s 2015. Some of it’s silly, like getting a new couch and finally getting rid of my horrid Ikea dresser in lieu of a bookshelf; other goals are bigger, work goals, financial goals. And despite knowing and setting and wanting these goals, I’m letting my reckless, clumsy heart direct how I feel about progress to-date, measuring self-worth in days, weeks, months dealing with everything on my own, all the time. It’s clumsy and careless and full abandon and there are some days where I just want to SCREAM at myself to get over the short-lived happy love and get back to reality, paying attention to the pragmatic and ignoring all the little wisps of spontaneity trying to pull me back to the klutzy, clumsy self I am.

In desperate need of heels this morning, I tried gingerly slipping my feet into my favorite “short” (read: 4 inches) stilettos, hoping that I could break my longest-ever streak of 6 days without heels in the office. Not only was there a good amount of pain when I stood up in my “comfortable” shoes, but in trying to sit down as quickly as possible, I kicked out the wheels on my chair and fell ass-first on the floor. I sat laughing like an idiot, as my coworkers shook their heads and laughed with me, Clumsy LB, at it again. It’s not the most glamorous description, and sometimes it’s painful, but being clumsy with gravity and with myself may just be another ridiculous aspect of my life I need to get used to. Perhaps it’s time to re-embrace the reckless abandon: on from the small infinity of a fast love lost and into the new unknown, counting the bruises, spilled food and broken toes as milestones along the way.

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A love letter to heels.

OMIGOD. Shoes.

OMIGOD. Shoes.

“Oh you’re in flats today! Are you sick?”

There’s a running joke in my office that something is wrong if I’m not in heels. My collection of shoes topping 5 inches is almost alarming, as is the comfort with which I can walk around in them. Bragging? Yup. It’s taken me four years not only to be comfortable wearing shoes that have a tendency to squish your toes into numb blobs while simultaneously restricting blood flow to your arch like a straitjacket, but to be comfortable with myself while wearing them. At 5’7″, I’m not a short person necessarily, but strap on a slingback and suddenly I feel like an Amazon, towering over everyone around me as they look up in wonder at this strange creature rumbling the halls.

Heels were a NOPE in college, where I regularly went out in sweatpants, and in my first few months in the city, I couldn’t imagine teetering around the rocky sidewalks in pumps. Even going out, my ex and I were about the same height and I was horribly self-conscious about being taller than him. To his enormous credit, he really didn’t care (and actually in some instances, preferred the heels), but I would become so self-aware that I’d end up in a bad mood, try to “drink the foot pain away” (PLD alert) and then pick a fight with him over something stupid – all because I couldn’t just relax over something as arbitrary as height.

My most important files.

My most important files.

A few months in to city life, I started packing heels with me to wear around the office only, testing the waters of heels without fully committing. A few impulse buys that had been buried in my closet for years started to make their way into the open, and lo and behold, I found myself inadvertently feeling more and more confident. I started wearing heels daily, amassing an impressive collection in what was supposed to be my file cabinet and rotating new shoes daily. As I began moving up professionally, the heels became somewhat like a confidence coach, forcing me to stand up straighter, look people in the eyes and generally assert myself as a tall-ass force to be reckoned with. My feet adjusted to the now constant, dull ache that accompanies essentially standing on tip-toes all day, and I started wearing them outside the office, whether running errands in Bucco booties or dancing on the bar in some killer purple wedges.

One of the first nights I really went out with my girlfriends since entering single life a few months back, I slapped on a pair of my tippy-tall boots, despite knowing I’d be drinking, dancing and likely falling within a few hours of that decision. And yet clomping around the city, even as the bars started to blur, felt great. I felt confident, tall, in-charge and hell yes, I felt sexy. Inevitably we heard Beyonce at one point that night, and I couldn’t help myself for grabbing my girlfriends into screeching along,”BOW DOWN BITCHES,” dancing like everyone was watching. I’ll always hold that moment in those tippy-tall boots, lost in ourselves and the moment of feeling alive.

As I look towards an exciting future, starting a new job and finishing the adjustment to the single life, there’s a lot of uncertainties running on repeat in my mind – will I do well in this new position? Am I really about to start dating? What other changes are in store for me? If nothing else, I know I can hold on to the absolute certainty that wherever this future takes me, I’ll be following that path standing straight in my stilettos, walking confident and very, very tall.