I know the rumours floating around out there about me. People are calling me weak, aren’t they? They say I’m pathetic. Soft like a baby’s fontanel. Well, I’m writing now to let everyone know that even though I’m the sole vulnerability of history’s most impenetrable man, that doesn’t mean I’m not strong in my own way.
Despite what you’ve probably heard, I am a very normal heel, decent on all accounts. I may not be the best heel, but nobody is really “the best” anything. I mean, Achilles was supposed to be the best fighter to ever live and… Bad example. Michael Jordan! He set all the records and was the greatest. BUT! Then, LeBron comes along and is a more complete player, with better rebounding and shooting in the paint, making HIM the greatest! All I’m saying is, there will always be a better basketball player than… Listen, I’m not even a sports guy.
That’s what macho culture does! It’s like all these feet ever want to do is brag about how tough they are. But thanks to years of therapy, I’ve learned that toxic masculinity is the name of the poison that’s corrupted everyone I know into mistaking their callused sole for toughness. Toxic masculinity is what I have been fighting against for 2,700 years, give or take, and only now am I finding the vocabulary to describe, discern, and distance myself from it.
It’s not just me, my whole family isn’t strong. Have you ever seen the horror movie Hostel? Well, in that movie, a character gets their Achilles’ tendon snipped by a pair of scissors. That tendon was my cousin, Ralph. We heels are vulnerable – none of us have backbones. But for some reason, I’d still try and hang with the tough crowd: biceps, ball joints, shins (as if they wouldn’t know I was just the empty space between bone and calf wrapped in skin). I’d nod in agreement about an athlete I’d never heard of, or not cry when they’d spit in my beer. Now, after serious work on myself, I don’t play that charade anymore. I don’t even try to placate others when they threaten to take vengeance on me for the good of Greece.
So what if I don’t fit in. I’m not the part of the foot that has to prove how “tough” he is, I’ll leave that to the ankles. I’m the part of the foot that wears his heart on his sleeve. I mean, if I wore sleeves. If you shoot me, I bleed. Snip me, I bleed even more. (RIP Ralph.) I’m the type of heel that likes to crochet while listening to Mozart’s harpsichord works, so what?? That’s okay. That’s who I am and I am not ashamed of it.
It takes daily reminders to not be ashamed of it, sometimes for hours repeating in the mirror, “You are a beautiful, talented, totally capable heel worthy of any foot.” And it’s true…
If any of this is resonating with you, I think it’s time you do some introspection. You don’t have to pretend to be somebody else to get along in life, even if you caused the death of Ancient Greece’s greatest hero. Travel. Pick up watercolours. Ask out that cute earlobe from work. Live without regrets and eventually you’re bound to find the self acceptance required to not care if you collapse after you’re stuck with an arrow. Trust me.
If I leave any sort of legacy when my time comes, I want it to be this– “No matter how much the world hates you, slanders your name, or curses you by making your worst moment immortal, you can always learn to accept yourself.” And, in some cases, you’re gonna have to learn to love yourself, because no one else will.
TV: How To with John Wilson
Music: A Tabua De Esmeralda by Jorge Ben Jor
TTRPG: Dungeons and Dragons 5e
Phone game: Fishdom
Soda: Root Beer