I got some new shoes for some important life stuff recently, and yesterday I finally gave them their big debut. They fit me well, made me look like a grown working woman. I felt confident and ready to take on the day; however, my brain begged to disagree. As I walked the halls, I started to become increasingly bothered by a potent smacking sound. My shoes. It wasn’t even my shoes hitting the tile; it was my heel, smacking back and forth onto the shoe as I walked. The longer I heard it, the more anxious I became. I became certain that everyone was turning their heads to think, “Who is that girl with the loud shoes?” (they were most certainly not doing this). My body was heating up with uncomfortable embarrassment – the air around me vibrated, vividly red. I was counting down the seconds, hoping I was done walking soon.
What’s particularly funny about this is how little everyone else would care about this; looking back on it now, there was no way that my shoes were causing a commotion. There was no way that anyone was judging me because of them, but this is the wonder of the human body: anxiety and shame. My funny self-sabotaging nature was convincing me I was a laughing stock over something as small as shoes; in this moment I was transported to what is almost elementary school-level embarrassment. It’s natural to be nervous – I was meeting a lot of new people, excited and scared all at once, and in order to deal with these new feelings I fixated on my shoes. It’s funny how people work.