I never liked my feet. My mother used to tell people that when I was little, my footprints in the sand; looked  like a duck had waddled by. My foot shame grew as I did; shapely legs, slender ankles came to a grinding halt at the abomination called my feet. Nothing dainty about them. Size 9, just about as wide, and the ultimate cruelty; a second toe longer than the first.

Growing up on a farm didn’t help the situation much. As soon as school ended for the summer break, the shoes came off. We called them our “summer feet”; they were impervious to pain. My siblings and I put a lot of effort into this pursuit. For the first week of vacation we hobbled about gingerly – hot pavement, gravel, brambles – miraculously each of us declared the arrival of our leather feet. We became unstoppable; we ran like the wind, oblivious to all but the sharpest misplaced nail.

Old people’s feet horrified me. Nails so thick and curled it would take a saw to cut them, toes bent and misshapen, callouses glistening with a sickly yellow hue, veins swollen by time. I stared in astonishment wondering how some of these people found the courage to don sandals. Sure it was hot; but think of the children. These props belonged in a horror movie.

I buried my feet in the sand, suffered in shoes half a size too small, and sadly said goodbye to summer feet. I missed those summer feet most of all. My head sternly told my heart I could avoid making a bad situation worse by letting them go. It got easier once I moved to the city; before long I was doing the ouch ouch dance on hot sand just like every other city dweller.

As time passed it started to matter less and less. I found myself looking at feet with interest rather than repulsion. Feet told me a lot about the person, they posed questions, were a window into lives. I painted my toe nails, let my feet touch grass, and swear I’ve tasted summer feet once or twice. The other day my daughter said – holy crap, look at your feet. Hardly even curling my toes I smiled inside, knowing she’d figure it out someday. Once you find beauty in feet, your eyes are open to beauty in the most unexpected of places.

Feet Study 1 by irysching


15 thoughts on “Feet

  1. That’s funny…for years I had a bit of a thing for feet. I also spent summers unshod although I wore moccasins (real ones made by my best friends grandma who was full blooded Ojibwa) when I was in the forest.
    Also all the statues of the Blessed Virgin I have ever seen have had a longer second toe….now you know.

  2. In India, they say second toe longer than the first means, you dominate the husband..ha ha ha. FYI, I am sad. My pedicurist is getting married. She was and is the only one who acknowledged my existence.

  3. Pingback: Justin Bieber and Foot Fetishes | notestoponder

  4. I hope one day I can become more tolerable of feet! At the minute I am weirded out by them, which is such an odd thing to admit because they are a 100% normal feature.. I always think of aliens when I see feet haha! I also have wide feet, makes shoe shopping all the more difficult!

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