I fail at being a girl

Trigger warning: Feet.  Because feet are gross.



This week I am commuting downtown for work.  I’ve done it enough times that I’m generally comfortable with what I’m doing, where I’m going, and other lifestyle choices, but as I look at the people around me I still feel so jarringly out of place at the ease with which everyone alongside me comes and goes.

I’m a lot better than I used to be – I used to gaze up in awe at all the HUGE buildings, the likes of which I had only seen in pictures before.  Now I walk briskly, cynical gaze downward with the best of ‘em.

While I am cynically gazing downward, I see other people’s feet.  They are kinda right there in my field of vision so I can’t avoid it.  And I notice that the vast majority of women are dressed for their destination rather than the walk.  Women are wearing these shoes –



or these shoes –


or even these shoes –



But not many people are wearing these shoes –



And if they are wearing sneakers, they are wearing an outfit with pants so it doesn’t look too obnoxious.  I have yet to see another person like me wearing a summery black sleeveless shirt paired with a breezy black-and white floral skirt, rounded out with sneakers.  Or today’s choice of a royal blue sundress paired expertly with – you guessed it! – sneakers.

I know it looks horrible but I’m at a point where I am done sacrificing functionality for style; and I have learned from experience that any footwear less supportive than sneakers results in painful feet and swollen joints.  Especially the flat-soled sandals.  When I see women not so much walking but galumping around, carelessly slapping their feet on the ground, my knees hurt just seeing them.

But my real concern is when I get where I’m going, I have to walk through the reception area and down the halls of my law firm client still wearing my obnoxious garb.  By the time I have a chance to put my backpack down, dig out my real shoes and switch over, I have been there at least five or ten minutes and I have likely been introduced to one or more people by this point.  Yay for first impressions!  So important in a client service job.

99.9% of the time I am totally fine owning my more tomboyish self, but situations like this make me thing to myself, “If only I were more skilled at being a girl.”

The Fellowship of the Commute

Today was one of those days.  One of those days when I had to take the train downtown.  One of those days when I had to stand on a windy train platform in the suburbs and then walk through several blocks of wind once I arrived downtown.  I should point out here that since it’s February and it’s Chicago, it wasn’t exactly a tropical summer breeze – no.  It was COLD.

But I wasn’t the only one, obviously.  The sidewalks were crawling with people who were just as cold as I was.  You guys – why are we all suffering alone?  What if we huddled together for warmth like penguins?  Oh okay sure – I suppose there’s niggling little issues like “personal space” and all.


But think how much warmer we would be!

I suppose I should be grateful that I don’t have to do this very often.  Last time I went downtown was right at the beginning of February and it looked a lot like this –


Insert adventurous soundtrack here

Yup – that’s me.  Well, except for the elf and the wizard and the hobbits.  But other than that it was pretty spot-on.  I would have felt sorry for myself having to walk in all of that, except I was too busy feeling sorry for everyone who was driving – I was actually moving faster than they were!

Oh well.  At least I had my coffee to keep my company.  And that’s another thing – what does it say about our commuter culture when you order just a regular cup of coffee and they ask you if you want a shot of espresso added?  I mean, obviously YES I do (and it was delicious!) but the fact that they just knew to ask that worries me.  How many other people perpetually don’t get enough sleep because of their commute?  How many other people are just used to a certain level of daily misery because of their commute?

At any rate, I’m sitting on my couch now in a sweatshirt and yoga pants.  I think I’m finally thawed out.  Until next time.