Thursday, July 17, 2014

Time to Show Myself Some Love

I've hated my feet for years.

They're short. Not really tiny, because I always felt what they lacked in length, they made up for in width.

Then there was the incident with my brother's horse when I was a kid. There's a reason you shouldn't go around horses with bare feet. He stepped on my left foot and couldn't be persuaded to step back. Instead he finished the step, carrying through with his other leg. A podiatrist later told me that the bone in my foot was dead, and I suppose I've been lucky to have no more problems than an occasional ache and a tendency to athlete's foot under the stunted toe. All I know is that the toe stopped growing and my feet look even worse in sandals than they otherwise would.

But on my way to the beach in May I posted a picture of my feet on the dashboard, curled toe displayed.

I no longer hate my feet.

They'll never be beautiful (except maybe to my first boyfriend, but then he had a thing for feet,) but they look like my grandmother's feet. In my closet I still have shoes she bought probably 50 years ago. They fit me.

My feet will never look athletic, yet they carry me through thousands of steps every day. They support me through yoga poses and Zumba steps. They bear the extra weight of one to three children, a 50-lb. sack of chicken food, two buckets of gravel.

I've finally come to appreciate my feet. They've carried me for 50 plus years and I guess they're due.

But thinking about my feet got me to thinking beyond my feet. It's not only my feet that have been with me for years, not only my feet that haven't received the love they deserve, even if they've been the more frequent target of my dislike.

In fact, I realized if I treated other relationships like I do the one I have with my own body, I'd be a shallow somebody indeed. I don't think I'm the only person guilty of that horrible lack of self love either. We may be content with ourselves, as long as we don't see ourselves in a photo or spend too long in a dressing room trying on clothes. Then that relationship changes.

"You're not pretty enough, skinny enough, young enough to look good," we wind up telling ourselves.

Or maybe we're up considering a new physical challenge, and then in addition to not young enough, we're not strong enough or fit enough. A new mental challenge can have us beating ourselves up for not being smart enough.

Really? If we looked at the people around us that way, we wouldn't have a lot of people around us. And those we found who met all those criteria, well, we'd probably decide they were shallow.

I ran into those emotions, not only with the feet on the dash picture, but other pictures made this summer enjoying the beach or the pool with my granddaughters when all my flaws are pretty much on display. But seriously, I'm not going to put on a tummy flattening one piece appropriate for "my age." Oh, hell, no. Instead I'm trying to practice a bit of that self love and not only accepting myself, but appreciating the vessel that has carried me through life's journey.

I need to remind myself that my 52-year-old self could literally and figuratively kick my 20-something's ass. I have not only scars, stretch marks and wrinkles, but experience, muscles and know how that I didn't have two or three decades ago.

I could go through the list of negatives. I can try to cover them up with makeup or corrective clothing. I can apply the standards to myself that I don't apply to other people.

Or I can accept that my body is a miracle that I need to be kind to and care for properly.

A friend reminded me of that when she posted the following "1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body!"

I can let my hair turn white, wear a bikini to the beach, leave home without makeup, and feel less apologetic to the world around me. I can quit worrying about how things look beyond the smiles on our faces when someone else points the camera at me and the girls.

I can do better about accepting in myself the things I overlook in other people.

And maybe, just maybe, I can soak my feet and give myself a pedicure. I think my poor toes deserve it.


  1. Yep! So lovely!

    I will follow in your literal footsteps and begin to show my left big toe, also deformed by a horse hoof (shoeless myself), a little more love!

    You're right, iur bodies deserve the recognition we've failed to give them...thanks for reminding me of my own desires...

    1. It is eerie sometimes how much we have in common. I seldom look at anyone else's feet. Don't know why I'm obsessed with my own! And darn those barefoot days and horse feet.

  2. A great reminder to be nicer to ourselves. Since I was diagnosed with Fely's Syndrome I have felt betrayed by my body and yes even pissed off. This reminds me that I should be dead but I'm not. I've made it 7 1/2 months since my last hospital stay, my hair has grown back and I feel great! We should always be grateful for what we've been blessed with even if we don't always like what we see! Thank you!

    1. Remembering how blessed we are, even when we're not who we want to be, is the one of the most difficult types of gratitude. I'm glad you're staying out of the hospital and still with us. Life betrays us in so many ways.