Shoes are a girls best friend, you can never have enough, they can make you feel ten feet tall, on top of the world. It’s true for some, I once had a friend that would put on her heels on a Saturday night and would immediately lose a stone.
But these women clearly don’t have my feet! My life has been blighted by shoes. When I was six or seven I can remember sneaking out in my friends ballerina pumps, I couldn’t really walk in them, the fact that the memory is so vivid thirty years on proves that! For once I wasn’t walking around in my sensible Clarks, T bar sandals. I understand that my mum was trying to look after my feet, she knew what I needed even without a diagnosis to tell her, no doubt she could tell by the way that I walked and the amount of times that I fell over fresh air but as a little girl I just wanted to be a princess.
Now I should have known things weren’t quite right when as kids we decided to catch the bus to the local ice rink to go ice skating, I would have been about eleven. I laced up my boots and it is safe to say that I couldn’t even stand in the boots off of the ice. Supported on both sides (putting a new meaning to the song lyrics ‘lean on me’) I made my way to the rink. I tentatively stepped a toe onto the ice, I remember standing glued to the boards as my friends skated off one by one, by the time they had done a lap I had conceded and hung up my boots. I like a challenge but I’m a realist.
Then there were the shoes that I tried to walk in, when I was a teen and rebelling against my God given feet, heels…. No sexy Louboutin’s going on here, Oh no! Chunky thick heeled, preferably lace up (to offer more support) boots and they had to be boots or I wouldn’t have taken a step in the first place. I lost count of the amount of times I would fall walking into a club or the dance floor. It wasn’t always the shoes to blame, sometimes it was a dislocation, sometimes I just couldn’t tell I was falling until I hit the deck so made no attempt at all to save myself. But I remember fondly (and so will my friends) some good nights out by the magnificent falls.
The shoe mistakes, there have been many. Years ago I used to long just to walk in nice shoes, I would try them on in the shop like Cinderella when really with my feet I was more a kin to one of the ugly sisters. If I could get the shoe on my foot I would convince myself that they would be okay, only to realise when they had been sitting in a box for a year that they were another shoe mistake. As the years have gone by I am much less fussy about what they look like, I am a realistic, I reside in one brand of super wide flip flops in the summer and boots form autumn through to spring. I grieve when a trusted pair of boots finally fall apart like I’m losing pet that has become part of the family. As I get older my expectations have shifted somewhat, I long now to be able to wear a pair of converse pumps in the summer or flat sandals to a wedding.
There was the time my son saw a pair of stiletto heels, he would have been about two and a half and we were visiting my friend, her shoes sat neatly on the stairs after she had worn them out the night before. At this point in life I think I had given up on trying to walk in any type of heel at all, he had never seen a pair of shoes like that, I remember the look on his face as he questioned what they were, to him they really were like a prop from a fairy tale.
I have become a master at dressing around my feet, my outfits wouldn’t necessarily be the ones that I would choose if I could put on any shoes and step out in them but I’ve learnt the art of compromise. Skirts with boots and tights. A floor length gown to a black tie event (with no split) so no one can see what is lurking underneath and in my younger days I was an expert at drawing attention to other areas with the clothes that I wore so no one even noticed my shoes!!
Twenty years ago when I first met my husbands family they thought that no one could possibly top my sister-in-laws lovely feet but I stole her crown clean away, and no one has come close to it since. I hope that my daughter never does. She is already beginning to understand the pain that shoes can bring as she longs to walk in a summer sandal or a normal school shoe but is resigned to high top trainers and boots even in the 30 degree heat, just to keep some sort of mobility. She knows how to rock her Dr Martens with style and has the smile and the wit to match.
Shoes will never be my friend as I struggle to find them, they cause me pain and they dictate the clothes that I wear but I will endeavour to stress less about them as time goes on.
I’d love to hear you comments… does your attitude give you power over your shoes or do your shoes have power over you? It’s a fine line with CMT and EDS. If you liked this post check out ‘A Night Out Chronic Illness Style.’