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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Ambivalent Much?

Yesterday, I bought shoes. Buying shoes is a hard thing for me, so I note this accomplishment with some pride.

I did not use to have a hard time buying shoes. But at my weird semi-professional, semi-adult place of life, shoes can be hard. The classy professional lady shoes do not suit me, neither do the chunky college-girl shoes from days of yore. The shoes that are marketed towards me--the shoe equivalent of the jetta, the mini, the subaru outback--I cannot afford, because despite the fact that I am supposed to be in my prime-purchasing years, and would like to dress as such, I cannot because I am not really a grown-up, I am a grad student. And despite my distinguished, thirty-ish age, you aren't trusted with a grown-up salary when really you are still in the kid-land of graduate school.

Which means, if you read between the lines here, that shoes are hard because they make me feel all confused about my major life choices. I mean, it sucks to be a graduate student when you are trying to be an adult, when by all accounts you should be an adult--you have gray hairs, wrinkles, a mortgage for christ's sake--but you're only allowed to -be- an adult once a week or so when meeting with students, and then only in a mirage-like way because in about a year your student will be gainfully employed by deloitte and touche while you are still working on dissertation chapter three, still not able to buy the shoes you want. Maybe your student will buy them for you? Probably not.

Anyway, so add on to all this confusion the idea of getting pregnant, and things get much weirder. Because one thing about being a mom is that you are definitely on the other side of some generational line. But another thing about being a mom (actually, my last post made me think of this) is that being a mom is often sort of infantilizing, too, because you are precluded from lots of adult things like having control over your own schedule, and--if you're not careful--like having a job, a salary, and a place to go in the mornings.

And that means that maybe being a mom is sort of similar to being a grad student, in that it is intellectually and emotionally rewarding but still a little demeaning and socially weird.

This is all speculative. I don't know much yet about being a mom.

But I do know that the shoes I bought are very satisfying. They are Kangaroos, like I had when I was eight, with a little zipper on the side and everything. Also, they are pink.

Pink shoes are, it seems, all the rage, and it's awfully pleasing that for once I can afford something that is sort of fashionable.

As to what this particular shoe choice says about my relationship to myself as a once-and-future adult? Let's not go there, eh?

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