Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Beef: Memory.

For some reason, so much of my memory is linked with what I was wearing at the time. For my first day of high school I wore this amazing collaged face tshirt of King Lear from the Globe Theater in London. My first night in boston I was wearing a black cardigan with a black skirt, black tights, my first pair of boots (black suede, knee-high) and a stonewashed blue tank top with an odd little shell print.
I don't know where the cardigan or the tank top is, or the t shirt. And it drives me crazy. Every few months I remember some piece of clothing I can't find and it sends me into a riot of torture: where could I have put it?? How can i possible not know where it is?? It's not like i go dropping items of clothing on the street. There's this red-tones bib dress from UO that wore once that I just have no idea where it is. Last week I'd thought of something else, but now I can't remember. These memory lapses are what drive me to insanity. They make me feel like I don't exist. If I really base memories on pieces of clothing, like files in a filing cabinet, the mysterious disappearance of them - without a trace - destroys my only tangible representation of that memory. I may as well have imagined it. I suppose I have a beef with memory; it's abstractness, it's lack of proof, it's complete unreliability, the way it absolutely refuses to document anything; its chaos. It scares me.

So I used to wear heels in middle school. Ridiculous heels, four inches tall (this was when I was of middle school stature myself). I never had trouble with them, I never found them difficult to wield. Perhaps it was my significant calf strength at the time from paper routes. I never noticed then how much of your calf is involved in the heel-wearing process. It's definitely on the front lines of heel campaigns.
But for some reason, I stopped. There was nary a heel to be seen on my foot all through high school and you can imagine my delight when - sometime in my sophomore year - the flat fad took off at an alarming and crazed rate. Still, though, it bothers me that I don't have heels. I feel clunky and insecure at a time in my life when I should be lightyears past the insecurities of middle school, a time when I did manage to wear heels. I think they actually look quite nice; it's not a aesthetic choice.
In conclusion, the time has come.
I feel like it will be a lot like wearing skinny jeans for the first time. You feel absolutely repugnant and ridiculous, bloated and comedic, like an imposter and a desperado all at the same time. But you adapt.

It will be difficult for me to select the right heel for this momentous occasion. Do I want to start small? Or just jump right in and give up my addiction to flats, as it were, 'cold turkey'? I've always imagined that if i became addicted to something I'd have to give it up cold turkey. Too much of the rest of my life exists in a liminal state, I don't know if I'd survive the fight through yet another.

This will be a lot like selecting the One. Like Neo in the matrix. Which heel will lead me to self-fulfillment? Which heel will open new vertical doors of actualization for me? Which heel can I pull off? Which heel will be a representation of all the other heels I've missed out on over the years? Which heel is my destiny heel?

You know, this investment of important abstract things in very unimportant material items is probably what got me into this existential mess I like to call 'Natalie's 16-present'.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Ruthanne said...

Ah yes, I although I didn't necessarily rock the high-heels in middle school, I was definitely all about the platform. I also remember my knees hurting alot...then again I didn't have a paper route which would have allowed me to have my calves properly stretched for better support.

Also, I love your description of wearing skinny jeans for the first time. It is perfectly accurate. It also applies to wearing leggings instead of pants for the first time...or the first 10 times.

I love how your memory is jogged by clothing. You certainly have a lot of clothes, and you do travel across the world quite often, so it's no wonder that things get lost along the way.

I can picture your big return to Boston as a movie, with the scene a shot of just your feet in heels, stepping out of the cab, onto the sidewalk. The camera then pans up your body to your tan face.