This is a self indulgent post, with just a little bit of trying to be better.
I’ve always had ‘odd’ feet. Not bad just not great and heaven knows not pretty. My mother, on the other hand, had lovely small feet with high arches. Feet that she crammed into fashionable shoes for most of her life, ending up with some sore tootsies. I wore shoes because they were required, or when the ground was rough and stickery. And when it was cold, of course. Boots whenever I could. So the not great feet turned into “what the heck happened to your feet?”
These feet served me well for walking and some running. None of that jogging stuff, but occasional bursts of faster walking, especially when I was showing dogs. As long as I kept walking and sort of running, I could walk and run…if that makes any sense?
Then Tom went into the hospital for five months, I sort of stumbled through life wearing the easiest shoes to put on, with neat Velcro straps. Didn’t realize they were too short until after he had died and I tried to pick up the pieces. Then I found out I had forgotten how to run.
I go to a running shoe store…they should know, right? I explain my problem: when I try to run in shoes my toes can’t feel the ground, they curl up and I stumble. The running shoe person said “You’ve been wearing shoes too short, I can tell since your toes are curling under. And since you have a narrow heel I have to put you in these shoes.”
The shoes worked on my wide front/narrow heel foot but didn’t do much for the can’t run, although having more toe space helped a little. Off to the podiatrist.
“You have flat feet,” he says. Well yeah I’ve had flat feet on and off most of my life. This toes curling under is new, what can I do about it? Use an orthotic for your flat feet. But…my toes curl under when I try to run and having these nice special shoes doesn’t really help and…and…
The orthotic helped some. I had worn out my first pair of narrow heel shoes so I bought another pair, sighing some at the exquisite ugliness of them in their blue striped whiteness. And I started experimenting with different shoes to run and show dogs since even with the orthotic and the special for my narrow heel shoe, I stumbled. So for the brief time I was in the ring, I wore shoes that might not support really well but allowed my toes to feel marginally better.
Recently I thought I’d give the first running shoe experts one more try. On a whim, on a hot day when I was in Albuquerque for various other projects and had sweated more than usual, I pulled into the parking lot. Went inside, gave my sorry story. I was pretty much the only person in the store, and it seemed like I had grown an audience by the time I finished with my sad story of ‘can’t run and really want to.” Turns out the person attending was learning so I had the input of the store manager (who shall heretofore be identified as he who worked miracles) who advised which boxes of shoes should be brought out to fit my half size larger than last fitting feet.
Half size larger? That’s good, right? Means those toe stretching exercises I found on the Internet are doing their thing, right?
The third pair of shoes, in a shocking raspberry sort of color, wrapped themselves around my feet and said, “Hello…is it me your looking for?”
Hey, it’s a great song!
And…here are the shoes. I loves them I loves them. And when I put them on to run around the Agility practice, I actually RAN. Fire Dragon is in a state of bliss. He doesn’t have to wait for me any more!
They actually LISTENED to me. HEARD me and responded to what I was telling them. Seems that’s become kind of rare these days.
Now for the trying to be better part. I was babbling my happiness to a friend, who walks so much she leaves my FitBit numbers in the dust. She said something about her upcoming foot surgery.
Foot surgery? Did I know about this? Or was I too busy talking to her I didn’t listen?
A moment when I did listen. Photo by Shiri Hoshen
How many of us are too busy talking, or listening to ourselves, to hear what the people who matter most are saying? Maybe we…maybe I…need to take that extra second to hear?
Thank you for listening.