Recently, I talked with a 26-year-old woman who didn’t wear sandals until she was 22 because she was embarrassed by her feet, in particular the shape of her big toe. Thinking about how her hang-up might impact her son who inherited the same unique big toe, she finally shoved an uncovered foot up the butt of her insecurity and wore shoes that exposed her feet.
She didn’t know it, but I was right there with her, battling the constant shame I have of my ugly toes.
For a long time, I refused to show my feet. I would scan the Avon magazines left lying around the office, admiring the models’ flawless, dainty toes. Talking with friends invariably leads to a discussion on physical hang-ups, so I know of quite a few people who say they’d jump at the chance at cosmetic surgery. Mostly everyone mentions nose jobs, boob jobs and tummy tucks, while I keep my desire for a toe replacement to myself. (Is that even an option?)
Insecurity about my feet has restricted me in many ways. For years, I refused to let anyone look at or touch my feet. Up until I was good and grown, I did my own pedicures. Only recently did I start getting them done professionally. One time, I got in a huge argument with an ex-boyfriend because I refused to remove my shoes around him. Sounds silly, but to me it was that serious. Since then, my feet haven’t changed, but my attitude about them has. As for the people who constantly stare down at them in complete confusion, yes I see you staring and no, they’re not cute. In fact, I know they look weird. But hey, at least I have feet! Besides, I now know there are plenty of reasons for me to embrace being footloose and fancy free:
- I live in Texas, which oftentimes feels like a suburb of Hell. In other words, its too doggone hot and humid to have my feet stuffed in a pair of closed-in shoes every day.
- I’m not really a fan of wearing socks, despite the fact that I collect them from all the places I’ve visited, kinda like how people collect shot glasses and T-shirts.
- My job lets us wear flip-flops to work! Aside from a regular paycheck, this is something I really appreciate about my 9-5, so I must take full advantage. Plus, I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them with socks.
- It might be more embarrassing for me to visit a doctor requesting a surgical procedure to swap out my toes for some shiny new ones as opposed to just accepting the ones I have and working through my discomfort.
The bottom line is everyone has these insecurities and when you weigh them against other life challenges, the bigger picture reveals itself. Honestly there are some sandals that don’t flatter my feet AT ALL so I avoid wearing them altogether. And there are times where I still feel uncomfortable wearing open-toed shoes. In those cases, I push through the negative thoughts by simply ignoring the ugly-footed devil that sits on my shoulder, whispering confidence-bashing nothings in my ear. I may not be quite ready to post pics of my freshly pedicured feet in the cute pair of sandals I bought, but the freedom I feel from not hiding them truly helps me put my best foot forward.
What physical hang-ups do you have? How have you allowed them to hold you back?