“Wow are those Danskos?! Those are so cute! Where did you get them?”
Said no one ever!
I am ALL about fashion. Fashion is my passion. I could spend hours scrolling through Pinterest looking at beautiful clothes and shoes. Hours … Days … Years. A girl needs to accessorize, right? Shoes are one of the funnest ways we can show our personality, right ladies?
Pain though? I don’t do pain. I mean … I HAVE been doing pain for years because I haven’t had a choice. I truly hate pain, though. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. In my case, that devastatingly meant giving up my ability to wear cute, fun and stylish shoes.
Let me tell you a little about my Series of Unfortunate Shoes … I’m not going to go into all the medical details. That’s a story for a different day come December, so keep an eye out for that. But I will tell you about the shoes. Or the lack of shoes in my case.
My first beloved “shoe” was actually a medical boot they put me in for a broken foot. Nine months I spent in that boot. That was a fun school year. It became such a part of me that we joked about bedazzling it so it would match my sparkling personality. But when I came out of that boot, my feet weren’t the same. They hurt. Not a little hurt. Unbearable hurt. So much so that I could hardly stand. I was using the boot AND crutches a lot of the time so I could be upright.
I sure made a statement at this Fundraiser Masquerade Ball. It was for a great cause, though.
I wanted to stand. I wanted to be like everyone else. I just couldn’t. We tried a bazillion pairs of shoes on to see if anything would help. Even having them on my feet made me want to die. I finally found one pair of Nikes I could tolerate. They were neon. Of course. Didn’t they look great at my sister’s wedding? That’s fashion right there! It’s a good thing she’s a good sport. We like to say it didn’t take away from her wedding pictures, it made them more memorable.
Can neon shoes be a new wedding trend?
Even wearing those shoes, my feet REALLY hurt. After a while my foot pain was so unbearable I couldn’t even stand or walk without help and it remained that way for years. We found one pair of shoes that worked. These lovely Danskos.
Starting my own fashion trend.
It’s not that they’re ugly or anything. It’s just all I can wear. I’ve been wearing this one pair of shoes for the last 6 years. Even with my Danskos my foot pain was terrible. But bearable enough to at least walk and stand for 5 minutes if I had my compression stockings on.
Unfortunately for me and everyone around me, I either A) didn’t realize how terrible it looked to wear tan compression stockings and black Danskos with dresses or pants that don’t match. Or B) I didn’t care. Either way, it’s funny looking back at pictures and realizing how silly I must have looked. Random people would stop me and ask me why I was wearing ballet tights under my pants.
Why did I think this was ok?
Eventually when I decided to care more about how I looked, I had the decency to at least wear black compression stockings instead of tan. I couldn’t change the shoes (literally these 1 pair of shoes are the ONLY shoes I’ve been able to wear for YEARS.), so I had to change the stockings. At least this way they look like I was wearing long socks under pants, or tights under a dress to be more fancy, elegant, or formal.
Much better, right?
Look at how I still couldn’t even put my feet flat. I stood on the edges to be able to feel the most minimal amount of pain I could. And look how much cuter my sister’s shoes were? It’s so painful to watch her have all these cute shoes when I have my one, same stupid pair.
This also made the Danskos much less noticeable. Occasionally I would still get the questions, “Why don’t you wear sandals? It’s 100+ degrees outside,” or “Where are your boots? There’s 3 feet of snow outside. You’re going to fall.” And even, “Do you not have nicer shoes to wear?” But I just learned to own it.
What else can you do? Own it. Many, many years ago I chose minimizing my pain over my love for fashion and style. Which is crazy and tells you how much pain my feet and legs have been in.
Trust me, you wouldn’t want to walk a mile in my shoes. I wouldn’t want you to. I do want to challenge you though, next time you see someone and judge them based on their shoes, think again. Don’t laugh or question them to be mean and judgmental. Maybe they can’t afford better, fancier, newer shoes. Maybe they have pain so unbearable they are only putting shoes on because they have to. Maybe they HAVE to wear shoes because their pain is so bad they can’t not wear shoes (half my family). Are they 5-year-old hand-me-downs from an older sibling?
No matter the circumstances, don’t look at other people’s shoes and judge them if they aren’t what you would pick. Instead, think about the possible reasons why they would be wearing the shoes they are, and what it would be like to walk a mile in them. Physically and metaphorically.