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Bare Beginnings


Let’s make one inarguable point clear from the start: Humans are born shoeless.

Then why are our adorable little baby feet shoved into shoes before we even learn to walk? I believe I was one of those poor, unfortunate infants, but I can only find one photo so far with shoes on to prove this notion, sitting on Santa’s lap with my older brother, perhaps nine months old. Yes, it was winter. Fine. Shoes kept my away frostbite.

All right…fast forward to grade school. At my school there was a “Track and Field Day” once or twice a year. I competed in a couple events, the only one I remember – because I have a picture of it –  was the relay race. I don’t remember where my team placed, but I received some sort of ribbon. I don’t recall whether I enjoyed running or not – this was 6th grade.

Running the relay, 6th grade.

Running the relay in 6th grade.

Maybe I did enjoy it, because in either 7th or 8th grade, I joined the school’s track team. In the few weeks of practices before the first track meet, I developed some quite painful shin splints. My mom took me to the doctor, and he recommended getting special arch supports for my shoes. I tried running with the supports for a week, and the shin splints continued to cause me excruciating pain, so much so that I quit the team before the first competition. The coach insisted I keep running and the pain would eventually go away, but I couldn’t stand the abuse.

I tried running again for a brief time in high school, on my own, around the park near my house. It was rough. I became quickly disappointed in my inability to keep running for any distance: I couldn’t even make a full mile without stopping to walk the first few runs. I felt good when I ran, but it seemed like too much work. After a few weeks, I stopped. I don’t remember the recurrence of shin splints, however.

I ran once or twice in college. Maybe. Running to class late doesn’t count. I did plenty of walking though. In shoes, of course.

A few years after college, I began taking yoga classes. Yoga is, of course, practiced barefoot. And I soon noticed that my feet began to spread out, get wider, after practicing yoga for some time.  This was especially evident when I went to buy new shoes, and the same brand and style now fit uncomfortably tight along the sides of the feet. I had to start buying the special “W” wide shoe. Once, though, I didn’t pay attention to the label on the shoebox and bought regular fit shoes. I wore them to work the next day, on my feet for nearly eight hours straight. My feet were killing me at the end of the day, and I wore my old pair the next day. However, the damage was already done – by the weekend, the big toe on each foot began turning black under the nails. The pain in my toes continued, so I found a podiatrist who injected my big toes with novacaine and ripped the toenails off both big toes.

This began my hatred of shoes and convinced me they were the work of the devil.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jill permalink
    2010/03/18 12:38 pm

    you are funny, you barefoot honey!

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