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The last post was the 21 things I KNOW at 42. At the end I said I'd consider writing 21 more things to make it 42 in total & then ...


Shoe Personality of the Week: 05/17/10

(adj) not helping or supporting
(adj) impartial or uninvolved
(adj) having no strongly marked or positive characteristics or features
(n) a disengaged position
(n) light grey or beige

Neutral is the new “it” thing. It supposedly lengthens a woman’s legs when she wears a neutral shoe. It allows the outfit to shine, supposedly, without being upstaged by the shoe. It also claims the superpower of being able to pull two unlikely articles of clothing together without them clashing, like print on print.

I have 2 takes on this today. The 1st relates specifically to the colors that fall in this range, which actually go well beyond light grey or beige. The 2nd relates to what the word neutral actually means in my life. Right. This. Very. Second.

1. The Neutral Shoe
I don’t know about you but beige and light grey cause me to….well…yawn. The mere thought makes me sleepy. Funny thing is, I actually LOVE grey (sorry, I hate it more spelled with an 'a' instead of an 'e'). It has so many possibilities, but when classified as a neutral, which it is, it sounds like it’s going to be the dullard in the room. I’m not into dullards. Beige, on the other hand, I actually can’t stand. But I have found, recently, actually, a FLY beige shoe that is understated in color and eye catching in sassy style. I, like some stylists I’ve seen on TV recently, have taken the neutral shoe thing a little farther than the limitations of 2 colors. I didn’t think of this, but now animal print is being considered a neutral. I’m not a huge fan of animal print in general but I have been known to be charmed by a nice zebra or giraffe print. I’ll highlight one soon. That may be a stretch for some of you since animal prints are VERY involved and you can hardly be impartial about them. I see where the “experts” are going with it though. I just happen to think some other colors serve as neutrals and that blending some neutral colors creates some more stimulating shades. Like the shoe above.

Here, chocolate and light grey have merged to make a classic cut of shoe a lot more eye catching. This is your standard board-meeting shoe to me. The cut of the shoe says that the wearer is clean cut, tasteful and appropriate. The blending of the 2 colors, in patent leather no less, says that the wearer respects the rules, but you WILL take notice of her because she is noteworthy in the boardroom AND out of it. You’ll just have to guess at the other ways she’s fabulous because this shoe is the only hint you’ll get at what lies beneath. She keeps business VERY separate from play. If I actually had any cause to be in a boardroom, this would be an example of where I’d go. I’ll explain in #2.

2. Work Place Neutral
I’m very visible in my profession. I work amongst [mostly] matronly women, by nature, design, and profession, who look exactly the same. Day in and day out. Year after year. If you read and fall into this category, it may be your comfort zone, which I respect and even understand as part of the passed down expectations of women teachers, but it is not my comfort zone. Since my entry, I’ve had shoulder length locs, a short fro, grown it out, experimented with no less than 4 colors, and go from being wild and woolly to other seemingly exotic (if you’re underexposed) style changes on a bi-weekly basis. I rock anything from yoga gear (trust me, it’s appropriate for what I do) to jeans and sneaks to a wide variety of dress styles that cause confusion because they're unexpected from the sporty rebel chic I immediately present as. See, the assumption is that teachers are fairly 1-dimensional. I, as a reader, dislike flat characters, even detest them, and work very hard not to wake up and look back on any 2 year period and discovered that everything about my presentation was flat and predictable.

At the same time, I’m finding that my visibility makes many VERY uncomfortable. If I'm not flat, I don't give off a [false] sense of security. There looks like there's more to me than meets the eye, and that makes many uncomfortable. It also implies that my mouth is always open because my presentation is always saying something about what I think or feel. When the meek cannot find their voice, there’s an expectation that I will speak for them. It’s a responsibility I haven’t asked for. When I speak for myself, and the masses agree, what I’ve said was genius, articulate, and to the point. When I’ve spoken, for myself again, and the masses don’t agree, I get treated like a traitor. I’ve somehow not done my job by the people.

How does this relate to the shoe?
I, now more than ever, wish I really knew how to simply be appropriately present as myself, but not stirring up too much curiosity. In my mind, I am this shoe. I do what I’m supposed to, challenge what doesn’t make sense, and keep me to myself. Apparently I’m less neutral than I thought. My method of being quiet unless the madness of the day is so egregious that I absolutely cannot allow it to go by unchallenged must not actually count as neutrality. I’ve been working at picking my battles carefully, and trying not to make them solely about me unless it’s just unavoidable.

On 3rd thought, what I do doesn’t allow for me to just be uninvolved. Supportive depends on the issue. If it’s in the best interest of my children, makes sense, and is actually humanly possible, I’m all in. I’m there for the children, not the adults, anyway. And at the point that I become disengaged, with a grey or beige attitude, it’s time for me to move on anyway. Maybe it isn’t really neutrality that I’m seeking. Balance is too broad a word for me to rest there. Le sigh…I guess the search continues.

This is my conundrum. What’s yours?

Watch me move.


  1. My conundrum seems to lie in the fact that my affability seems to have been mistaken for weakness. I am not a badass. Never have been, never will be. When I look back on the Civil Rights era, I realize that I would have been more on the SNLC side of things (and hopefully in the office) than on the Panther side of the fence. The only thing that typically riles me is if you eff with my child or toy with my intelligence. Then a she-lion comes out, and I don't even recognize her. But people seem to mistake this general niceness dare I say as bitchassness (in the words of he who shall not be named). I am not stupid, naive, or ignorant, I just believe that it takes far more of my energy to get riled up about stuff than i care to devote most of the time. But back to my point. My particular disposition causes me to fall most often on the side of neutral, but I'm being nugded into a bright red fury by those who dare think that my smile insinuates ignorance. The fight in me has been piqued. And I don't think that they want to mess with hormone addled she-lion. Atthis point, I'm beyond moving, hear me roar. (My homage to the Lion King)

  2. Conundrum, conundrum....I ain't got none with this isht. Far as I'm concerned, this installment is ovah.

    But I am having an interesting, decidedly UN-neutral moment with my self, my body, my sexuality. And mens. It's nice to wake up from a few-year hibernation and find that the woman is still there. In fact, she's spilling out of the cup. This is an exciting time. But I am a little all-over-the-map with it, and trying to find my new comfort zone.

    I've got one here, one who is doing good things for me but probably JFN (just for now). Already been drama about me being a MARRIED WOMAN (yo ass didn't know that shit?!) Then there's one in California who inspired me first to respond to flirting on FB (duh) and then messages, then pictures, texts, videos....and finally an actual call. A trip to Vegas is "planned".

    And I had the conversation today...about getting a lawyer. Mr. Denial had awakened enough to be ready and mad...which is fine. He also knows I've been out and about. He thinks he knows more.

    Lord! What a place to be! WHo am I? Where am I? More will be revealed...

  3. Ok, with some clarification I can tackle this a little better now.

    You're wrong, this installment is NOT over (now that I know what you mean) & your people will continue to remind you of that. So, keep ya head up & your B.S. quotient higher 'cuz there's more to come.

    Coming out of a coma, hibernation, or just waking up from a really long nap is always new & exhilarating. Take your time and see what happens. Discovering your femininity, beyond what others have decided you are, understanding who you are as a woman is an awesome experience. & it can be scary, especially when you discover how very different you are from the way others see you.

    We won't worry about what Mr. Denial is thinking. He's been drifting down that river for more years of his life than you've been alive. Pay him no mind. A lawyer is a good idea. Have a mouthpiece who can communicate your wishes without you having to actually encounter each other's emotions up close & personal. Things can get real muddy then. No need for mud when you're out here growing all this newness bathing under this rain.

    What a place to be indeed.