Walk This Way

If there is one aspect of my style that will never change, it is my love for high heels. I can’t explain the surge of energy it gives me to strut down the street, hearing the incomparable click-click rhythm on the pavement, and seeing heads turn as I pass by.

Even when I went to a school with an elevation of 3,333 feet and there was a foot of snow on the ground, I always sported a pair of kicks with a little step. Needless to say, I was often ridiculed and declared insane, but to this day, I feel out-of-my-element when I don’t have some heels on my feet (I think they’ve grown accustomed to the curve).

I may regret the decision to wear stilettos when I get older, but for now, the strength they “give” me, either metaphorically or literally, is something that helps boost my confidence and morale.

Sure enough, this self-assurance via Jimmy Choo has shown through my love life, too. Every man I’ve ever dated has told me they loved the way I walk. I’ve always taken it as a compliment and appreciated that they took note, but it never quite mattered to me what they thought. Wearing heels or hearing their click has never been about attracting the attention of a man, but just a fashion that I thoroughly enjoy just for me.

While I think part of my walk was just hereditary (I have a smokin’ mom), some of the way I got the swivel down pat is by listening to girl-power tunes while strutting. Without even noticing, I get a little more attitude in my step and I feel more confident when I have some buds in my ear. Anytime I’ve been down about a guy or my looks, I download an empowering song and strut-it-out. Somehow, the beat and the you-go-girl themed lyrics seem to lift my spirits, even when they are at an all-time low.

In fact, I have a playlist on my iTunes called “High Heels” which I always put on as I walk out the door and again when I get off the train to go somewhere. The songs in this collection give me the beat I need to battle the streets and “walk-it-out” before facing the day.

Because step 4 is about digging deep inside of myself to see where my obsession with love originated, I’ve been thinking a lot about past relationships and how I’ve dealt with them. And while I’ll go into detail about each one in posts to come, I’ve noticed a central theme of what’s helped me to recover: music.

Seems simple enough, but part of recovery (from a breakup or from having a day when you feel so ugly you could die) is finding simple ways to escape, regroup, and reenergize. For me, certain songs and artists do the trick for me.

In celebration of the dedication to honesty I’ve recently adapted, here is my “High Heels” playlist, straight from my iPod (without deleting anything, so no judging). Try downloading a few and please add your comments of ones that have helped you:

Sexy Chick by David Gruetta ft. Akon

If this doesn’t make you feel sexy when you sway your hips, what will? I mean, damn girl!

Born to Fly by Sara Evans

The words could be more perfect – “I’ve been tellin’ my dreams to the preacher about the places I’d like to see….is there a brown-eyed boy in my future…girl you ain’t got nothin’ but time!”

Short Skirt, Long Jacket by Cake

I have, in fact, worn a mini and a trench while listening to this song. Yep.

Right as Rain by Adele

I’m a big jazz fan and this has a jazzy-feel to it. Plus, it’s perfect when you’re just done with a relationship and you’re getting over someone. “Cos’ when hard work don’t pay off, and I’m tired, there ain’t no room in my bed, as far as I’m concerned. So wipe that dirty smile off – we won’t be making up, I’ve cried my heart out. And now, I’ve had enough of love.” (After being pissed, though, please do believe in love again, k?)

American Boy by Estelle

It’s this song that I picture myself as a fierce European woman using an American boy as a playmate. And it says “New York” in it, so I’m hooked by default.

Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall

When I interned at Cosmo, as I walked from the subway to the Hearst tower, I listened to this song and marched in my red high heels. The words remind me of myself, “And I feel like walking the world, like walking the world. And you can hear she’s a beautiful girl, she’s a beautiful girl. She fills up every corner like she’s born in black and white…looking from the pages of a magazine…”

I Don’t Need a Man by Pussycat Dolls

This is a recovering love addict’s theme song: “I don’t need a man to make it happen. I get off being free. I don’t need a man to make me feel good, I get off doing my own thing. I don’t need a ring around my finger, to make me feel complete…”

See the World by Guzmo

I stole this from one of my mom’s CDs and fell absolutely in love with it. It’s more of a happy tune then a beat-boppin’ tune, but it’s about seeing the world, finding yourself, and then of course, finding someone.

Good Life by OneRepublic

If I could pick one song to represent how I feel about living in New York, being a 20-something finding herself, and learning to love today for what it is – this song would be it. Oh yes, it is going to be the good life.

Gives You Hell by All American Rejects

This is for Mr. Curls, Mr. Faithful, Mr. Rebound, Mr. Buddy, Mr. Fire, and Mr. Idea when this blog turns into a book, which turns into a movie. Just sayin’.

Walk this Way by Aerosmith

I picture myself in a catholic school girl outfit, dancing on a bar with my girlfriends while cute boys watch. Don’t ask why, I just do.

Fergalicious by Fergie

Actually, in my playlist, it’s called “Linds-a-licious” and I encourage you to do the same with your own name. Fergie always makes a point to spell in her songs, but girl’s got the best single-gal songs, ever.

Do You Believe in Magic by The Lovin’ Spoonful

This was given to me by my friend, R, who is one of the happiest individuals I’ve ever met. When you listen to it, you just gotta’ smile.

Candyman by Christina Aguleria

I think of a very attractive man, who probably isn’t quite my type, but we have this amazing chemistry and we’re flirting. I may also be wearing very red lipstick.

Labels or Love by Fergie

In honor of Sex & the City (I won’t deny I’m a fan), this song embodies what it’s like sometimes to be single and struggling in the city. If I had the money, I would be even more into this song.

Rockstar by Rihanna

No, I can’t sing. I can’t play the guitar. I’m not very…hip. I played the piano a decade ago. But, yes I’m a rockstar. And so are you.

Dynamite by Taio Cruz

How can you not walk fiercely when you listen to this song? It is absolutely perfect for picturing you and your “crew” going out to the bar and not looking for anything but a good time.

London Bridge by Fergie

Oh snap! Why is it that every time you come around, my London Bridge wants to go down? And who knew it was called a London Bridge. I think I’d rather have a more New York term…every time you come around, my Big Apple wants to go down? Hmm.

Can’t be Tamed by Miley Cyrus

Well of course I already feel like I can’t be “tamed” per say. While Miss Miley may be a little risqué these days, I still dig her music and I’m not ashamed of it.

Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z

When I think of this song, I think of my best friend L and I dancing at this crummy little bar in my college town a few weeks before I graduated from college. As we were dancing, she said, “I can’t believe you’re really leaving!” And even though I was sad, it was then that it really clicked that I was. It’s surreal to listen to it and walk through the streets the lyrics talk about, FYI.

The Middle by Jimmy Eat World

It’s an oldie, but a goodie. It couldn’t be truer, either: “It just takes some time, little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride. Everything, everything will be just fine. Everything will be alright.

Any Man of Mine by Shania Twain

Dear future boyfriend or husband (or just fling, if I so decide to have), please listen to this song and realize this is how I feel. Ok?

Click Flash by Ciara

This song, as I’m walking down the street, I pretend there are paparazzi following me, taking pictures and that I’m famous. I also pretend my clothes are designer. Lame? Yes. Gratifying? Yessss.

Faith by George Michael

Not only is this fun to sing along to, but the words are powerful. Yes, we want to go home with certain guys and throw our hearts to the wind (and maybe I will one day), but you have to stay true to yourself, too. And more than anything, you have to have faith in yourself and in the process.

Hey Girl by OAR

There is one sweet love song on my High Heels playlist. When I close my eyes and I imagine the type of man I will end up with (and now dreaming doesn’t hurt as much), I think of a guy who would sing these words to me. Free but loyal, talented but centered, passionate and fun, but humble. And of course, adores me.

Just Dance by Lady Gaga

For a while, this song reminded me of Mr. Idea and his dance moves, but now, it just shows me how much I have to keep the steps going and try not to lose sight of today, when I’m looking for the finale. It will be okay.

New Soul by Yael Naim

Move to a big city. Check. Find a job. Check. Find an apartment. Check. Make a ton of mistakes. Check. Learn from mistakes. Check. Find peace and love in herself. In progress.

One Step at a Time by Jordin Sparks

If you have high heels on, you can coordinate the clicking at the beginning of this song with your actual heels. And listen to the words, all very encouraging. So close you can taste it…but it’s all one step at a time.

Unwritten by Natasha Beddingfield

Well, I’m a writer. C’mon.

Can’t Tame This Tigar

As much as I’m a love-addict, sometimes if I think about the seriousness behind marriage –I feel like I’m going to throw up.

Given, I haven’t met someone who I have sincerely thought I would spend the rest of my life with (without any reservations, at least), but when I think of happily-ever-after, until-death-do-we-part, when your balls and my boobs sag – I feel intense anxiety.

When you find that special someone or you enter into a long-term relationship –you ultimately have to change who you are somewhat. Not necessarily your personality or actions or day-to-day doings, but your lifestyle changes when you have to consider someone else into the mix. “I” becomes “we” and Friday night’s question isn’t “Where’s happy hour?” but rather “What are you in the mood to do, dear?” Yes, you have me-time or girl-time – but when you say “I do” or accept a relationship request on Facebook, you sign (or click) away a part of your life.

A friend of mine, B, recently wrote to me and said “I’m starting to think that maybe I’m not meant to be tamed. I’m not willing to change who I am for a man, and I shouldn’t have to. I love being able to do what I want, when I want. I don’t have to let anybody know where I am, or call somebody before I do something, and I don’t have to think about questions like ‘Will we spend this holiday with your family or mine?’

Tamed? To be in a healthy, loving, and committed relationship, does that mean you’re tamed? Is the reason it’s called “settling down” is because you literally settle down? After receiving this message from B, I decided to poll readers and friends about being “tamed” and how it relates to being in a relationship. (And sorry, I didn’t ask Miley Cyrus).

Here are the responses I received:

Single

“I feel like it should and it shouldn’t, ya know? Should because relationship is commitment, but shouldn’t because the reason someone wants a relationship with you is because you’re you.” –N

“No you’re only more tame in social situations because you don’t have to flirt, but in the bedroom, you must be super wild.” –S

“Once you’re in a long-term relationship, then you have someone else to consider so I suppose it does tame your behavior.” –S

“Being in a relationship doesn’t really have to mean that you are ‘tamed.’ I think a lot of it has to do with your personality and the personality of the person you are in a relationship with, as well as the dynamics of the relationship…Quite frankly, if you find the right person, you can do all the things you love and just simply have a partner in it.” -A

“No. I act just as I always do regardless if I’m in a relationship or not. If I’m not acting like myself, then I need to get out of the relationship.” –E

“I’ve found in most cases yes, but I’m waiting for a relationship where you still love and care about the other person (and vice versa) and they let you do whatever makes you happy.” -D

Taken (Married or in a relationship)

“Tamed? Did you need a trainer or tamer? No. Being in a stable relationship may make you more secure to embrace your wild side and explore more facets of yourself.” –P

“If ‘tamed’ means that you stop dancing on bars, then yes. But I’ve gone out more with my boyfriend than I ever would if I was alone. We go out every Monday and Wednesday for trivia night usually every Friday and Saturday for darts.” –A

“Well, you learn to do things differently. You do the things they want to do and how they want to do it. Just for the sake of keeping the peace.” –L

“It can. My boyfriend knows what my dreams are and what I want to accomplish, and he’s willing to let me run wild, as long as he can be part of it.” –S

“I do think you have to become tame in order for your relationship to work. I guess tamed is a strange word for it because you have to be yourself but you want to make the other person happy, so you don’t even think about that part of it, if it’s truly a relationship that you want.” –E

“I would say that I am a lot less reserved now that I’m in a serious and committed relationship because I feel like I can be as crazy as I can possibly be within moral bounds, and I don’t have to fear messing things up. I still have the freedom to do whatever I want, but what I want in a lot of aspects has changed.” -F

“Ohhhhhh no!  Here’s my philosophy: I wanted to marry him, so I could REALLY go hog wild….but just with him.” -J

So, you do have to be tamed (or maybe not), but you still do all that you want (but do things their way to keep the peace), you don’t dance on tables, but you should be incredibly ridiculous in the bedroom, make your partner part of your adventures (but make sure they love you for who you are) – but all of it, of course, depends on the relationship and the person you’re in a relationship with.

Quite contradictory right?

B highlights what’s considered a perk of being single: the ability to be completely and totally selfish. And I’ll be the first (along with all of you other single ladies who are addicted to love or not, I’m sure) that sometimes, not having to answer to anyone or anything or shape my plans around someone else’s schedule or desires is wonderful. I almost always get to do exactly what I want, when I want to do it, and my money, for the most part, is for me.

A pro of being a single gal is being able to sincerely focus on yourself, to run untamed and free (regardless if you act wild or not) and explore all of the things your curiosity sparks. I truly, 100 percent agree that by being single for longer (as in not getting married super early), you allow yourself a lot of time to grow and develop without having to consider who is laying next to you.

But most of us do want someone to share our lives with –tamed or untamed –doing it their way or our way or a way you create together. Eventually, we will have discussions about what to do, where we want to do it, and how to go about it with our partner.

So really, it’s not necessarily about being tamed. It’s more about learning how to compromise and figuring out what it is we’re willing to change and what we’re not about our lives or ourselves for another person. Then, the task is making sure the person you’re in a relationship with is okay with that.

But until that day, until I finish clearing my head of self-hating and love-obsessing thoughts, I will relish, just like B, in being selfishly single. In eating cupcakes at midnight, taking up my entire bed, painting my toenails while eating pudding, spending an hour at the grocery store and leaving with nothing, taking random trips because I can, and walking around my apartment in heels, a face mask, and drinking red wine singing along to old Backstreet Boys songs.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be “tamed” by my own definition of the word (submissive and obedient, like a dog), but I may be willing to share my cupcake. And maybe a sip of my wine. And especially if he can somewhat sing Shape of My Heart.”