Switching Shoes

I was in shock as a crowd of five hundred shoe fanatics watched enviously as my name was called to meet Steve Madden. Shoes have always been my favorite accessories, so when I was offered a chance to meet Steve Madden, I could not refuse. After Madden congratulated me, he signed the shoes that I won and wrote “Persistence, not perfection” on the box. I have since used this quote to always remind myself that it is better to be persistent than perfect. My love for heels and my need for perfection became intertwined on that day.

Being a perfectionist has helped me stay on top of my academics. I am determined to get the best grades I can and the most out of everything I do. My family raised me to always do my best in everything, as opportunities do not come twice. I have always had a “no quit, no fail” attitude. As a perfectionist, I want to be in control of my work, to know that things will be done the way I want them to. Getting the best grade or finishing first at a meet takes a lot of time and dedication, but it motivates me to work hard to achieve my goal. However, I have come to realize that the same shoes do not work well in every circumstance; sometimes, my attitude needs to change.

I soon realized that some of my qualities served me better at certain times than others. The stress of college hit me hard. Trying to be involved, keeping up with all of my classes, and participating in events had taken a toll on the way I viewed myself. I began to question my abilities and if I was able to keep up my “perfection steak” throughout college.

I found myself constantly asking if I was capable of achieving all that I believed could back in high school. I felt that all of the hopes and dreams I had could not be accomplished because everything I had planned wasn’t going the way I wanted.

The impact that I had from Beauty for Ashes still has an effect on me today. I remember being constantly being told by me peers “Be positive and persistent, you can do anything you set your mind to.” The workshops helped me find people who I could turn to; not only when I am unsure of my abilities, but in times of laughter and joy.

Through the Beauty for Ashes workshops, I was reminded that life is not always about performing perfectly, but persisting. It is about being the best that you can be and never giving up. It is because of my perseverance that I have become who I am today and that I know never to settle for anything less than what I deserve. After so long, it finally hit me that sometimes I have to switch shoes. Sometimes I have to remove my heels and put on sneakers, because it is nearly impossible to run through my entire life in heels.

– Helen, 19

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