|Cardi, Ri-Ri & B.|
By Erickka Sy Savané
“You walk like a duck,” said my husband.
“Excuse me?” I responded incredulously. He knows that I’ve walked runways as a model from here to London and Paris. Now it was some time ago, and Naomi Campbell and I never crossed paths, but walk, I can with the best of them.
“Yea, when you have on heels you don’t elongate your calves.”
Okay, he’s bugging. For one, I rarely wear heels since I popped out two of his kids. And two…let me think about this…
Okay, the truth is I can’t remember the last time I wore heels. Since becoming a mom flats are my bff be it tennis shoes or flip flops. So there’s that, and then there’s the deep depression that threatened to eat me like the big bad wolf a few years back…I’m talking everything from giving up on all my chosen careers- acting, singing and writing- to car repossession, eviction, and baby weight that stuck to my body like a second and third layer of skin. So, walking with my head up high, with elongated calves was kinda not on my list of shit to worry about. So maybe he’s right. And so what?
I start paying attention when I walk to the store. I’m not talking full leg extension, but I start straightening by back, you know, a sistah has gotten her life together- new career that she’s been building for a few years- a hair cut that she can afford to keep up. I ain’t doing too bad. Nah-mean?
One day, I’m going to an event in the City that requires I wear heels. On the train. Okay, that’s always tricky because I hate being fancy on the train- yes, I equate heels to fanciness and I wear mom jeans sometimes too. Train-to-the-City rides are for chilling, I live about 20 mins outside of NYC in Jersey City, so it usually means I’m going to be jumping on multiple trains. This particular day, it’s hot as hell. Which means that the cute outfit I’m wearing will be for all to see. I have two choices. Crawl under a rock, a very big rock since I’m 5’10 or put on my big girl panties and make the best of it.
I’m on the train to the City and it’s pretty uneventful. A few stares here and there, I equate it to the fact that my dress is metallic, but nothing crazy. I’m sure most of what I’m feeling is in my head. Things are going fine until I make the switch at World Trade to the 4 train. It’s about 4pm, just in time for freakin’ rush hour, and when I say that the platform is filled five rows deep with people smashed like sardines I’m not even exaggerating. I’ve never seen anything like it. And there I am, thinking that I could just disappear right there on the platform because I’m tall as hell and it’s hot and there are people everywhere and though I’ve come out of my shell over the past few years I’m no diva by any means. And I’m standing there. And standing there for what feels like forever and I’m starting to feel sweat beads drop from under my boob…and I swear I might even be in the beginning stages of a panic attack when I tell myself to STOP. Get a grip! Suddenly, I stop looking out at the faces that might be looking at me, and I look within. I ask myself, ‘how would you be standing if you didn’t give a f*ck?” Funny enough, I straighten my back, elongate my calves, and assume a more powerful position. The position of someone who could give a f*ck about anyone on that platform and what they might be thinking of me. I start thinking about the event I’m going to and the fun I intend to have. I think about how good I feel in my outfit (sweat beads and all), how nice it is to have an evening to myself where I won’t have to cook or wash dishes or tuck anyone in. I’ll even have a few cocktails. Shit, life is good!
I finally make my may to the front of the line and onto a train. By now I’m feeling pretty confident and even strike up a conversation with a complete stranger, something I never do. By the time I get to the event, I’m strutting like I’m on my own personal catwalk and when I walk into the room the bitch is owned!
And what did it take? To quote Miss CurlyNikki herself, being her now. I just became the woman I wanted to be. I didn’t wait for permission, an initiation period, or someone to tell me that I was worthy. I just decided in that moment and I’ve been choosing to be her ever since. I never have to play small if I don’t want to.
So back to my hubby, he was more than likely right. I probably was walking like a duck, but who’s the duck now!?!