April 15, 2011

Feet: A Love-Hate Relationship

I'm not the spring chicken I used to be.  It's quite possible I've been a bitchy old hen since birth, actually.  My body is starting to give me not-so-subtle hints it needs more TLC, so I've started going to yoga.  The most serene and wonderful woman who teaches the class told us one day to put our fingers between our toes and then we did something (can't remember what, but I know I felt better later even if I can't pronouce it.)  And can I say it was all I could do to comply?  But, she asked nicely, and I am a perfectionist.  Still, feet make me gag.
BUT.  Yesterday as I walked around at work in my old Birks, I looked down at my feet, and I started to kinda like them.  My toes are painted a sassy pinkish-red at the moment and my annual professional pedicure is holding up quite nicely.  I had one of those flashes of clarity and suddenly I thought of how much those feet had carried me through in life.

Looking back I was never seriously overweight as a child, but my best friends were all cornstalks in pastel Izod shirts.  I was chubby in weird neon jumpers.  I remember thinking at some points, "At least I've got cute feet."  Sam might have been able to do a front handspring, but my feet were better. Which, since I kept them firmly planted on the ground, was a good thing.

I remember the first time I could paint my toes after having Girlo Two (the eldest).  She was lying beside me snuggled safely in her blankets sleeping the sleep that only newborns can, and I watched her breathe in and breathe out.  I painted my toes pink, and I felt hope for the first time in a long time.

When my oh-so-sweet son was born, there were indications of problems.  Tests and surgeries were to come.  I missed those chubby baby feet I had loved with Girlo Two, but his feet spoke his story.  Flat, so that he sounds like E.T. when he walks down the hallway, and with no push-off ability, his feet are long and slender and marked with surgical scars...an elegant reminder of his journey.

When I learned my ex-husband was having an affair, I remember looking down at my feet and watching the tears dropped onto them.  My lungs felt as if the air had been stripped from my body, but I felt every sob.  I put my knees to my chest and cried long and hard while my feet rocked me. Heel to toe, over and over.  Then I got up, dried my face and feet, and they carried me on.

I walked down the aisle to my soulmate, whispered my vows and then danced with these feet on the night we were married.  We still dance in our kitchen when the spirit moves us. He complains when I put my ice cold feet next to his on winter nights, but misses them when he's away.  I suppose it's my subconscious way of making sure he's there in my slumber...

Shortly before bringing home our last little one, I painted them the brighest, shiniest pink I could.  They might have swelled like fat sausages, but they would be pretty, dammit!  The nurses all complimented me on how great they looked next to my lovely, stark white compression tights!  Again, I had found hope, and I would bring this baby home to wrap in snuggly blankets while I listened to her breathe the same hopeful breaths her sister and brother had several years before.

No matter how twisted and beautiful and lonely and heartbreaking and serene and hopeful my path has been, my feet have carried me along through it all...keeping me upright when I only wanted to fall, helping me dance and live life when blessed with joys.  Next time my beautiful friend and yoga genius tells me to squeeze my toes for the position I can't remember/pronouce, it will be done with love. 


  1. How funny. I just told Mom how much I hate feet. New perspective, and I love it! This gives me so much hope for the future.

  2. @Samantha ~ There is always hope...even when you don't know it's there! Sometimes things/people seem like they will break you, but really you deserved better all along. You just have believe you deserve it! :)

  3. This is absolutely beautifully well written! My heart goes out to you for all the pain and strife you've weathered - I maintain that all the obstacles have resulted in a simply amazing woman!

  4. You are precious!!! However, I'm quite upset about the affair part...I didn't know and it makes me sad. However, given that you are super tough, I'm not surprised that you got through it. I am also a huge fan of my feet, but you've made me love them even more.