I don’t think there will ever be a point in my life where I don’t have to be concerned about my choice of footwear. Even at my strongest and most capable, I have to make sure I wear good shoes. I don’t have the luxury of throwing on a pair of flip flops or wedges to wear with summer dresses and skirts. I don’t have the option of wearing designer shoes. I spent some time in my early teens wearing shoes that were really bad for me that I thought looked good – or I hoped made me look better – but they threw off my balance and exaggerated the visibility of my disability: my limp, the curve in my back and the stiffness in my legs. I also have problems with shoes that tend to rub and cut huge sores into my feet and toes. Shoes, for me, have always primarily been about functionality than fashion. I understand that it’s immature to whine about not being able to wear nice shoes, but wearing flattering footwear is an element of self confidence and self-presentation. I hate it when I’ve put together a cute outfit and it feels spoiled by my unappealing shoes.
My current shoes are cute but not doing my gait and posture any favors. They have also begun rubbing the inside of my left foot, leaving a red sore on my skin. I put a plaster on the scrape this morning but I know that I can’t continue wearing these shoes (at least not every day). My doctor also said to me – a long time ago – that if I do a really good pilates class and then walk home from it in bad shoes, I’ve cancelled out whatever I just gained in class.
I made an appointment with a podiatrist to have a gait assessment, be fit with new orthotics, and to discuss the best options for new shoes. I have looked at a few different stores and brands but don’t know the best ones that will suit me or give me the support I need. I wish I could just get away with wearing whatever footwear I like – especially when I wear nice clothes – but this experience is proof to me that I will always have to pay extra attention to every form of shoe I put on my feet (no matter how strong or articulated they become with therapy).
I have travel plans for not this weekend but next. I hope I’ll have good shoes by then so that I can participate in everything without the extra stress of my footwear being a concern. My only concerns will be everything that are normal concerns in my daily life: balance, mobility, and the evidence of my affliction. On this trip, I will meet new people and reconnect with friends I haven’t seen in years. I wonder how they’ll respond when they see how different my body is and how differently I carry myself. I don’t want to need their help (though I know they will help me if I need it) and I think good new shoes will definitely reduce any help – or instances of help – that I might need. I want people to see me for the woman I have grown into in the last few years rather than the little disabled girl they knew from years ago. I’ve grown up and I would like my presence and posture to reflect it.