Yes, these are my feet.
I have bunions.
I don’t look so cute in flip flops any more and I am very careful about the shoes I buy (if I buy cute shoes, which I do rarely these days.) Strappy shoes are out because usually my bunions stick out or they accentuate the curve of my big toes.
I used to not be as self-conscious about my feet, but over the past 5 years or so they have gotten worse. One day I wore flip flops to school because we were going on a walk to the beach and a kid said “Ewww! What’s wrong with your feet?!” Granted, I was working at a middle school, so I was able to cut the kid some slack on his lack of social graces, but still.
Then we had some friends over for a BBQ and one of our guests commented on my feet – how I shouldn’t have been wearing shoes that showed them. Miraculously I was able to keep from showing him how my foot looked on his ass as I kicked it out the door.
Social graces, people. Learn them. Use them.
I don’t know if he realized that he was in my house and insulting the hostess is a great way to never get invited to a free food, beer, wine and good company kind of gathering again. (I don’t know this because he hasn’t been invited over since. Mwah – ha – ha!)
Last year I was teaching high school and had a pair of shoes on that I thought met my “hide the hideous feet” criteria until one student couldn’t take his eyes off them and asked if I had broken my toes or something.
Those are just three examples of why I don’t love my feet. Why I am embarrassed by them. Why I spend so much time trying to keep them covered up.
Friends, the jig is up.
I am working on celebrating the perfect puzzle of my imperfections right? I am going to honor the parts of me that I have not honored so far, at least not in the way they deserve to be honored.
Here is why my feet deserve to be honored by me and those who love me:
1) They are a perfect combination of my mother’s feet and my father’s feet.
2) Bunions are passed down matrilineally in my family, so my mom had them and my grandmother had them. I come from a line of women with imperfections, sure, so do you. But they were awesome women who gave us life, so cut their baby-carryin’, dinner makin’, scraped knee fixin’, laundry washin’, feet a break, will you?
3) These feet carried me through ballet classes…with grace and an enviable point.
4) These feet carried me swiftly around the track and over hurdle after hurdle during high school, leading me to 11 league championships, as well as sectional championships, school records and halls of fame.
5) Because of these feet I was recruited by several top-notch schools and offered scholarships to Cal and Cal Poly.
6) These feet carried me to second place at Nationals and All-American honors…3 times!
7) These feet have had the sense to walk away from jobs, men and other situations that were not positive for me.
8) These feet have walked through the Louvre, along the canals of Venice, across piazzas in Rome, between the 5 hamlets of Cinque Terre, through the Vatican, the North End of Boston, the beaches of Kauai, Key West, and have logged miles and miles along the California coast — to name just a few of many foot propelled adventures.
9) These feet held me on the black lava of Hidden Makenna Beach as I married my husband on a warm Maui morning 11 years ago.
10) These feet pressed against foot rests and midwives’ shoulders as I pushed my daughter and son out.
11) These feet have padded quietly, quickly, softly, slowly, with love and care and concern down the hall from my room to my children’s rooms in the middle of the night without second thought more times than I can count.
12) These feet carry me each day, as I pedal with them and stand on them all day teaching children about the importance of physical activity, health and positive self-regard.
13) These feet keep me rooted to the Earth as I stand in tadasana.
14) These feet remind me of every step I’ve taken and, with luck, every step I dream of taking.
Standing just a little taller,