Licentiate Column 01/12/11: Ow, My Knees

The general consensus is that fashion should be for everyone, ‘Should’ being the operative word.
Short of full-fat Communism, we’re all unable to get the full benefits of the fashion industry without being very rich, very thin, very good-looking, famous, stylish, well-situated, cultured, worldly… the list goes on, and on, and on.
But what if you’re a relatively normal, healthy individual just making the best of what you have? Heels from the high-street, and the odd vintage shops, bolstered with special occasion gifts from loved ones with more money than sense.
And then, what happens when you encounter a small slip-up? Something that makes you re-evaluate what you’re always taken for granted. Just a small, tiny thing. An inconvenience really.
A few weeks ago I suffered such a small setback (which seems big to me, but is barely atom sized when you consider what other people have to deal with). It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it affects my mobility, my ability to work (writing this column is just one job I have), my pocket and my lifestyle in general.
I have to get physio, I have to lose weight – as someone who isn’t particularly plump, this is a major bugbear – and, grab the Kleenex, I can’t wear heels. For the forseeable future.
It’s such a tiny thing, it really is. But sometimes, it seems like the only thing. I can deal with amendments to my life, with restrictions. But I’m not good with being forbidden from doing something, especially something I tie in so much to my own particular method of self-expression.
It has made me realise how powerful personal style can be and, perhaps, for a second, how foolish I’ve been to tie myself to it tighter than the Gordian Knot.
Everyone has their thing. For my boyfriend, it’s football. While he loves it, I think there will always be a tiny twinge of regret that he wasn’t the next Maradona. How many PRs want to be novelists? How many frustrated musicians are there out there anyway?
That’s not to say I want to be a professional heels-wearer, but as someone working in the healthy, but by no means lucrative Irish fashion industry, every little setback gets magnified. It’s a real strength-sapper. It makes you doubt your own ability to succeed – I think this probably applies to anyone starting their career in such a depressed economy.
I don’t become a better writer by wearing Kirkwoods 24/7. My knowledge doesn’t diminish in flats. Being shorter than everyone else doesn’t make me love fashion even the tiniest bit less. It just makes me feel a little bit left out.
It really should be an even playing field. Fashion should be for everyone. It’s not enough that we don’t have the money, the skin, the height, the power, the kudos; now our bodies conspire even more against us.
So, what do you do? You just keep on going. Keep on going forward. Draw inspiration from what you love. The boyfriend always watches Match of the Day. Unfulfilled writers keep reading books. The amount of illegal songs downloaded is directly proportional to the amount of guitar-strummers – maybe.
And so help me, if I have to be carried into the pub as well as out of it, I WILL wear heels and never regret it.

2 thoughts on “Licentiate Column 01/12/11: Ow, My Knees

  1. I follow your column in the Cork Independent and it’s the one feature I always make sure to read. So I was very sorry to hear of your predicament. After the physio has finished and you want to learn how to ‘Walk Like A Diva’ in your heels, I will give you a free Alexander Technique lessonif you want.

  2. I simply cannot imagine your pain… (emotional that is)

    My shoes are so important to me (sad I know) and if I had to put them out of sight (let alone off my feet) I would be utterly heart broken. A teeny girl needs her heels and I do hope your predicament does not become permanent…

    Wear your heels and buy a slave to carry you. This is the only possible solution.

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