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Voice of the Beholder

A Thank You to a Stranger

· HERstory

My feet were a sensitive subject.

I never walked with my head down. I stared at the oncoming world with a confidence I didn't truly have, but KNEW was available to me. You helped me claim it.

Believe it or not, I never loved my feet. Well, that's not true. I loved my feet; I didn't LIKE them. Wearing my mother's size 10 shoes by the time I was 10 years old attracted a lot of unwanted attention. I was teased relentlessly by schoolmates for having these long, wide "canoes for shoes." It was bad enough I was taller than everyone around me, but my feet were an additional target and it made me want to hide them away forever.

Each year of my life, my feet increased a size, sometimes two. When my parents took me shoe shopping, I would choose the most plain, inconspicuous shoes possible. I wore the same black Reeboks for at least 4 years, only going up in size as necessary, usually waiting until the toe of each pair began to separate. I thought they would at least go unnoticed if I offered a shadowy space to conceal them. Of course, I was wrong.

By the age of 12, I was wearing a 12 wide (occasionally needing a 13) and, to my relief, that is where their growth halted. Through the seemingly endless cruel commentary, I enjoyed my ever-growing feet. I kept them soft with my favorite body lotions, sleeping in socks to allow them to absorb the thick cream; I filed my nails and painted them with clear coats to ensure their strength; I collected colored polishes and experimented with a variety of self-painted pedicures.

 

At home and around my neighborhood, I was constantly barefoot. I was the "hippie" girl who ran in the alley, sat in the grass and climbed trees, all barefoot. I did injure them a few times while playing the role of a rambunctious child, but nothing so major that I could not show them off later. However, I was not, yet, convinced anyone would think of my feet as beautiful. They've always been so big, so wide. How could anyone fall in love with my feet? Those silly thoughts ended one teenage summer when I received a sincere compliment at the pool. I was, naturally, barefoot.

I think I was 16. I can't remember your name or what day of the week it was. I do remember your skin glistening in the scorching sun that summer. That precious, black gold of a King still stands out to me when (if) I notice it on others. You were a lifeguard and I could feel you watching me from a distance as I familiarized myself with the depths of that DC pool, your familiar domain. My normal state of shyness only increased when I noticed you noticing me. You were tall and muscular, the ideal "tall, dark and handsome" that I imagined as I read romance novels. Or maybe that's just my memory filling in the blanks, celebrating you for the confidence booster you provided. Regardless, I will never forget our interactions of that day.

My toenails were painted black. They were also badly chipped and I had been nervous to take off my shoes before jumping in the pool that day. Back then, I hated my polish being chipped, especially right before swimming or attending an event with open-toe shoes. (A special friend changed my mind later that same year, but that's another story.) When you finally spoke to me, I was sitting right outside the gates of the pool property in the grass, my usual choice. I have no recollection of what else was said, but someone you knew came out behind you and commented on how big my feet are, laughing hysterically. I braced myself for the expected teasing and cruel remarks to begin. Surprisingly, your response was immediate, direct and sincere: "Yeah, big, but so pretty." The enthusiasm in your voice lifted my spirits, made the other person pause, and revealed that maybe my feet getting so much attention wasn't such a bad thing after all.

 

Thank you for helping me rid myself of one of my biggest insecurities in a single moment. Thank you for sharing your fetish (I now suspect) with me that day. Thank you for helping me realize that maybe it REALLY WAS like my Mama used to say: "Baby, they tease you because they like you and just don't know how to say it."

I never walked with my head down. Now, I only do it when staring at these long, wide, juicy beauties, my toes spreading with each step. I love sharing my view with you ♥

"Real girls are never perfect and perfect girls are never real."

Did someone in your life ever boost your confidence unexpectedly? Leave a comment or question for me below and don't forget to subscribe to see all my future entries ♥

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