It means power. It means strength. The sound of my mother’s heels has always been a powerful predicament. It meant it was time to run to the shower and get ready in 5 minutes whilst she parked her car and I shampooed fervently. That I had to put my pants back on and reorganise my hair, even if she already knew what I was doing. It resonated throughout the hallway as she walked back to her office, and inspired respect. The sound of my mother’s heels was - and still is - a force of nature.
I never knew I couldn’t be everything I wanted because I was a woman. Was never informed that I should expect to earn 80 cents for every dollar a man made. My limitations were implicit of how much work I put into anything - and the sky was always the limit. When I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up and be everyone’s boss. My dad would say “I dunno, ask your mother for permission” whenever I wanted to go out and she was the one that taught me how to be a loving woman and still have it all, starting with respect.
It never occurred to me that being at the top wouldn’t be a possibility because I saw my mother do just that - every single day. I’d wear her heels and think about how cool I’d be when I, too, would wear pant suits and walk just like her, into greatness. One day my boyfriend pointed out that the sound of my heels was easily mistaken with the sound of my mother walking into the house and I knew it. This was it. I had reached a whole new level.
As I grew up, I realized I would not be wearing those suits and probably not her heels, not because I couldn’t, but because of my chosen profession. I’d rock the walk in tennis shoes, or whatever crazy concoction of an outfit I chose to wear that day. I chose that profession because my mother told me I could choose whichever path I wanted and she would always support me, even if sometimes she doesn’t understand what it is I do exactly, she never doubted that I could do it and I could do it well enough to grow and be a powerful, strong, independent woman - just like her.
Today I find myself in a strange predicament. I see my mother and know her better than I ever have. We share the paths of life as two equal women, who sometimes disagree but always have each others’ back. We laugh and share and walk that walk, our heels ringing in unison as we advance, unapologetic and strong.
People say that I should apologise more, that I should be softer. Gentle. They don’t sometimes see that strong and independent and nasty as I am, I, too, am loving and embracing, just like my mother is.
I learned how to love and be loved from her, too. How to have an equal companion that loves me and supports me as I do him, and to refuse to take the shit that isn’t worth my time or patience. Today, I walk alongside a strong, beautiful man that takes care of me, and also knows how to love me - wild and crazy as I am - and accept me for the woman I’ve become, not despite of it.
So, on this day, when hundreds of thousands of women around the world get together to shout and fight for our equal rights, when oppression is creeping back and we’re fighting hard to kick it back into the depths of hell where it belongs, I remember the sound of my mother’s heels and walk on. Because there’s still a long way to go and nobody will ever fucking dare grab us by the pussy. We’re stronger than that and we will march on. Until every little girl, boy, child - despite their race, gender, orientation, or economic status - grows up listening to the sound of their mother’s heels, knowing they, too, can do anything.