Walking Tall: Impromptu Life Lessons

I have come to realise that most profound things happen while one is waiting. They happen when one has an opportune moment to absorb them in their entirety, when one is…ready. I have to admit that I am very impatient and as a result spent a number of days badgering myself for being unable to find the ‘right’ angle for my next blog post. I concluded that I had another onset of writer’s block. See, it’s far too easy to make rash conclusions and decisions than to let patience reign in when you suffer from an impatient streak.
When my colleague and I took a short stroll to the store across from our building one morning, we had no idea we would have something intriguing on our arrival. I bemoaned my increasing waistline and how I needed to lose some weight since spring has set in. Needless to say, it is going to be an uphill battle because I lack the discipline to combat my sweet tooth. We were about fifteen minutes early and had to wait until the store opened. Nothing major, we did a bit of window shopping at a shoe boutique nearby.

Quite the shoeshinista’s dream, we both marvelled at the sight before us. She is quite tall and slim; and her eyes were particularly set on pairs of pumps. Me? Well, I’m short and thick (in fact, my colleague and I are quite the textbook example of body types!) and I’m a heels kind of girl, it only makes sense. However, I was quite perplexed at how colour blocking has taken over everything and it didn’t help that some shoes are ridiculously high. I really think there is a conspiracy here!

We were joined by an older woman who was also waiting for the store to open. She quipped about how fabulous the shoes were and naturally, we couldn’t have agreed more. I then mentioned that though I was sold on a pair of stilettos, platform heels were really a bad idea for me. Boy, I had another thing coming! She gracefully threw my comments out of the window and prepared to give us what would be, personally, one of the most interesting lessons yet.

Lesson One: The Power of Shoes

My colleague and I both had flat or almost flat shoes on. We were told that shoes maketh a woman. Neo-feminist protests that men didn’t have to put up with ridiculous shoes simply fell on deaf ears as the woman told us that shoes have the power to not only transform posture, but they can give one an air of confidence and sophistication. She said flat shoes are capable of making one sloppy and complacent because they require so little effort. Shoes, are what sets us apart from men: They are one other thing that makes a woman sexy.
Lesson Two: Grooming

Though the woman indicated that she had put on some relaxer on her hair, I felt she could have done a better job. It didn’t matter though because she had confidence second to none; it didn’t matter what I thought because she revelled in her own skin and listening to her speak with such conviction made her all the more awe inspiring. A little make-up, a nice pair of earrings and some accessories are some of the things that can help liven up one’s mood.
Lesson Three: Always be ready
One of the most interesting aspects of that conversation was that women need to look the part –like learning to take ourselves more seriously, for instance. That means paying attention to things we deem to be miniscule or unimportant. More attention should be paid to work attire, etc. She also emphasized that falling into a comfortable space is one of women’s greatest setbacks.

Lesson Four: Letting Yourself Go

A definite no-no! We chuckled as the lady indicated that African women are significantly different from their Caucasian counterparts. African women have a bad habit of letting themselves go, and inviting early onset of old age. Once in their forties, she said, jeans and other sensible pieces of clothing are sent packing in exchange for frumpy frocks. Though it isn’t entirely about men, it isn’t fair on them either. Simply put, women need to keep those visual stimuli on.

A male friend once posted on Facebook that some women should put a “Learner” sign on the back of their stilettos so others won’t particularly mind when they fall over themselves. Let’s face it we see more of those embarrassing incidents than we’d like to recall, and more often than not men are embarrassed for us. There is no doubt that a great deal of skill is required to pull off that SEXY look. Alas, I don’t claim to speak for all women.

The woman I now know as Ma-Nkadimeng gave me ample food for thought. She reminded me that some of the greatest lessons aren’t always formal ones; that familiarity can come from strangers even. Like she said, “Some things will resonate with you, and some won’t…” and with that I confess that I’m still sceptical about those colour block platforms…sorry!
So, what impact did you have on somebody’s life today?