I used to walk barefoot on hot pavement. Directly on every stone in my path.
Not in the romantic way either. My crusty little feet were black and calloused, and they were subsequently banned from furniture. It wasn’t cute by any means. The other day, however, I took one step onto my back porch and couldn’t continue without a pair of shoes. It was bizarre to me that at some point I gained some sort of sensitivity to direct contact with the ground and I began to wonder if that’s normal.
As soon as I started school I started shoes. I also started clothing 24/7 instead of frolicking in underwear in my backyard. And some people are going to see that I was practically naked at 3 years of age in public and cringe. Isn’t the visceral reaction a little awkward? I’m starting to question: when do we become so conscious of our appearances? Feet are ugly with or without dirt caked into the cracks on our heels, and I guarantee a three year old is nowhere near developed enough to be deserving of a gasp at the sight of their bare bodies. You have to really wonder about people who are offended by that…
What was once painful for me is now painful to go without. I hated shoes, I had to wear my socks inside out so I wouldn’t feel the stitching when I had to pair them with shoes. I hated clothing because it got in the way. It was too hot and too restrictive. Now I try to forgo a bra in the morning and am constantly in fear that someone can see the outline of my nipple. Now my feet hurt if they aren’t in a shoe complete with a decent arch. Maybe I’m looking too into it, but it is mindboggling for me the complete 180 that comes with aging.
It’s funny that when people tell me they envy me for my carefree nature, I’m envying myself about 15 years ago. And it’s crazy the things humans really, genuinely find fault with. It’s like a shift at the deli when someone gets insanely frustrated that you gave them a half-pound of something instead of a full pound. You know, something as fixable as just adding another half-pound? These are the same people who get to pass judgment on how I live my life? You have to wonder if their critiques really make or break your character. It’s becoming really apparent to me all of the things I’ve changed about myself that have broken me into a functioning member of this society, and I’m tempted to discern how beneficial each thing really is for me. Will I walk around in my underpants? Probably not. But those are just a couple of things I’ve had to change to adapt, and I think it’s important we acknowledge those things before we lose them from our soul completely.
Physically I’m a fully clothed (bra notwithstanding), high-heeled lady, but mentally I am eager to maintain the lifestyle of a nudist, barefoot little girl with no concept of how people perceive my appearance. After all, what would I have ever become without her?