We are so excited to introduce our latest FREDA Girl, Jo Piazza. Jo is an award-winning journalist, editor, and author. We are such fans of Jo’s work that we asked her to do something a little different than other features. Jo wrote us a personalized narrative on what she would go back and tell her 25-year old self. Learn more about Jo here, and read the essay she wrote for us below!
There are so many things I’d like to go back and tell my 25-year-old self.
…..No one is paying as much attention to you as you think they are.
…..You’re already thin. Eat the brownie.
…..Everything is going to be OK. Stop worrying so much.
…..You’re prettier when you’re confident.
…..Speak up. People will listen.
…..Ask more questions. You don’t know everything. You’ll never know everything.
I spent my early twenties traipsing around Manhattan as a celebrity gossip columnist. I use the word traipse because that’s the only way a human moves when they’re wearing the kind of four-inch high stiletto heels a certain generation of women adopted like lemmings after coming of age with Sex & the City.
I was so busy traipsing and trying that I must not have noticed the enormous blisters on my heels and toes or the fact that I limped on the weekends I allowed myself to be barefoot in my tiny studio apartment with a ladder that went up to my bed (like camp!). Those heels were beautiful, but they were so impractical. And more than that, they weren’t me.
It took until the tail end of my thirties for me to finally get comfortable with myself, comfortable enough to wear whatever I want on my feet. Part of me wishes it had come sooner and another part of me is nostalgic for that silly tottering girl trying to navigate icy subway stairs on top of something hardly bigger than a toothpick because she spent all her cab money on footwear.
Confession—sometimes I still spend all of my cab money on footwear.
Last year I wrote this book about a female political candidate running for Senate in the midterm elections (sound familiar). For some reason it was important for me to give my candidate a power shoe. The media is so obsessed with everything a woman politician puts on her body, from makeup to footwear to schrunchies that I felt like I needed to make a big old deal out of Charlotte Walsh’s shoes.
So what was she wearing?
Flats. Power flats. Beautifully designed flats that made her feel confident and sexy and sophisticated and ready to take on the fucking world when she entered a room.
Did she get criticized for not wearing heels? Of course she did. She’s a woman in America!
It’s taken me a long time to figure out that being comfortable and choosing what makes me feel sexy and commanding is the root of my confidence. Experience, having lived a life, knowing that I am going to screw up every once in a while, often when I haven’t eaten enough delicious snacks to make me a competent human—those things make me feel like I can take on the fucking world.