Some months ago I shared a line from a poem in progress that read: My love and I are the exact same height, but I have to stand on my tippy-toes to kiss her. What kind of magic is that? Someone commented: “High-heeled shoes”, which made me laugh. Ok then––high-heeled shoes are magic.
Years ago, I tattooed a stiletto on my forearm. I’ve been told it came out looking like a Hebrew letter or a mathematical symbol. I almost went back to have it touched up, but kept it as is when I remembered a friend once saying math is the best kind of poetry because it’s the same in every language, a beautifully connecting bridge.
I got the tattoo after I spent a day walking the hills of San Francisco with my friend Denise. Denise was wearing stilettos, and in case you don’t know, San Francisco is basically an urban Everest. Growing up as what everyone then called a “tomboy”, I thought of heels as a sign of weakness––consensual discomfort as obedience to the man. As I got older, femme friends quickly educated me about the wrongness of my thinking, lesson after necessary lesson on femme empowerment. That day in San Francisco I learned even more, as I struggled to manage the hills in a comfy pair of old converse. By the end of the day I saw Denise’s shoes as a symbol of strength. The epitome of toughness. The least sucky shoes in the world.
I got the tattoo for a few reasons––but the most persuasive was this: To never ever forget that what I believe at any given time could very well be wrong, and to be someone who is open to having my mind and heart changed throughout my life.
Friends, what do you think it would take for us to start being excited to be wrong? I think about it all of the time because I truly believe that one shift would build an infinitely kinder world.
Of course fear, sadness, grief, and embarrassment tend to find us when we are first made aware of what we haven’t yet learned. But sit with those feelings without resistance for long enough and at some point it shifts into a kind of seed. To be proved wrong is to learn something, is to grow, and ultimately have the capacity to bloom further. I’d rather grow than be right, wouldn’t you?
When we lose our vice grip on being right, we are more open to having our minds and hearts changed. Open minds and hearts lead to a more peaceful, compassionate world. It’s a magical notion to consider. I feel taller when pondering it. Taller like I’m wearing high-heeled shoes. Someone’s gonna have to stand on their tippy toes to kiss me.
Love, Andrea 🖤
Credits: Header photo by Annie Schugart