I Look At My FeetPosted: July 30, 2014 Filed under: Beauty, Body, Body Image, Dance, Feminism, Movement | Tags: Beauty, Body Image, Memoir, Movement, Women's Bodies 39 Comments
I used to look at my feet and see big… long..ugly. At least that’s what some of my relatives told me they saw when I was growing up . So I stopped taking care of my feet.
In college I walked around the Berkeley campus for four years in Nordstrom style loafers. I bought them in all the different colors: Blue. Black. Beige. And red. When I’d wear out a pair, I’d buy another pair. I’d take the BART across the bay to San Francisco on a Saturday.
Once, when I went home for summer vacation, my aunt looked down and said, “What have you done to your feet? They look like you’ve been plowing the rice fields [in the Philippines]!” Oops. Then again, how would she know?
I considered wearing tennis shoes instead. I sure could have used them. I was walking at least a couple of miles from class to class every day. But I thought that wearing tennis shoes would make me look less sophisticated. I thought Nordstrom loafers made a difference over tennis shoes in terms of how many boys would like me.
Looking back, I doubt most guys even looked at my feet—or my shoes—except for that one dude from my sophomore year who had a foot fetish. But I didn’t really like him much anyway.
Now, twenty years after college, all these boys are gone. Married to other women. Out of my life. In the end, none of them really mattered.
As for me? I still have my feet. My feet, which keep me steady and grounded. My feet, which keep taking me to different places and back. They matter to me now.
When I’m in yoga class, I look at everyone’s feet. Truth is that their feet don’t look much bigger or longer or uglier than mine. Some of the other women’s feet are even bigger. None of their feet are ugly really. Maybe my feet have been normal looking all along.
Come to think of it, I have my mother’s feet. And I never thought her feet were ugly. I’d recognize her feet in an all-female foot lineup.
In dance class once, the teacher told us to let one of the body parts we wish we could disown do the dancing. That night, my feet tapped on the floor in freedom and jubilation. For the first time, in the movement, the beauty of my feet came through. For the first time, in the dance, I got to experience beauty all the way down in my feet.
A few months later, a woman that I know knelt down in front of me to bless my feet. She rested her fingers on their surface, feeling them with a reverence I’d only ever seen reserved for holy objects. Her gesture, alluding to the sacred, made me teary-eyed.
These days, I only wear high heels if I don’t have to do much walking—although sometimes, when I’m in the mood, I put on my red fuck me pumps and go to town. They’re four inches tall. Made in Italy. I wear them because they please me. They make me feel sexy and badass.
If I didn’t have long feet, how the hell would the rest of my body balance out my big breasts? I might topple over.
Maybe my feet have always been perfectly made, their drawn-out, slender shape just the right size for me. I just needed time to grow into them.
Awesome 🙂 My feet are one of the physical things I actually like about myself and I’ll tell you, I love wearing my red fuck me pumps, as often as possible. 😉 You are badass.
Thank you, Andi! It’s always so interesting how each woman has her own distinct body part faves. I love that one of yours is your feet. I see that you also wrote a feet story. I look forward to reading that and checking out your blog.
You know, I have never worn uncomfortable clothes more than once — or maybe twice if I really had to be convinced. I had just assumed that other people found that sort of clothing more comfortable than I did.
Now, about your feet: On the one hand it seems like if that’s the worst thing for you to worry about, you were pretty well-off, body image wise. On the other hand, how sad that we can always find something to get uptight about.
Yes- that body image, objectification stuff- so insidious that for some of us on some days it comes down to the feet. Internalized misogyny at it’s most subtle yet insidious.
Whoa, never saw that coming. Excellent, love the surprises, and engaging candor. Excellent, Diahann.
Thank you, very much, Peter! 🙂
Diahann, you always write such interesting posts. I really started taking care of my feet about twelve years ago when I started practicing yoga. Even today, before going to a yoga class I always wash my feet and if i have time put on some fresh polish.
In last Monday’s yoga class the teacher had us message our feet and toes and to think how much we depend on them. I don’t have the most elegant feet but I’m grateful for them and for all they do for me. 🙂
As for high heels, I’ve traded them in for comfort. Thank God, for ballerina shoes. 🙂
Carol, I love how yoga changed your relationship to your feet- the self-care and adornment w/ the nail polish sounds so tender. I like ballerina shoes too- and nowadays I prefer them to have the extra-technology to give the support. Feet, I’m finding, are absolutely essential 🙂
🙂 This is excellent.
I’ve small feet. And I’ve always sort-of liked them. I’ve a tattoo on the right one, a phoenix with the words “Carpe Diem” surrounding it. I decided that decorating them might make me like them even better. And it did.
Thank you, Diana. I love the tattoo on you feet 🙂 Very cool message, too.
I enjoyed reading this. My grandmother used to point out my big feet (7.5 average in American but large in the Philippines) but their size works to my advantage in Manila. During shoe sales here, that’s usually the only size the stores have left! Hope all is well with you!
hello! I’ve wondered about you and how you’ve been. I’ve missed your stories. So interesting- I wonder if the feet teasing is cultural-becaue you are right, in America my feet are average. In the Philippines, 8.5 is considered large. At 5’4, people there always tell me how tall I am, which catches me by surprise.
When I cannot look at your face
I look at your feet.
Your feet of arched bone,
your hard little feet.
I know that they support you,
and that your sweet weight
rises upon them.
Your waist and your breasts,
the doubled purple
of your nipples,
the sockets of your eyes
that have just flown away,
your wide fruit mouth,
your red tresses,
my little tower.
But I love your feet
only because they walked
upon the earth and upon
the wind and upon the waters,
until they found me
By, Pablo Neruda
I so loved this poem. Thank you for sharing his beautiful words. Love Pablo as much as I enjoy Rumi but had never heard of this one.
LOL if it was my body part, the one I disliked (mostly), it would be my underarms as in close to the shoulder part. They essentially are fat but truth be told they are a part of me that hasn’t matured since childhood and still look as they did in my infant years. It’s not bad looking per se it looks like adult fat but I am not sure it fully is. Imagine if a guy cited “penis” as the body part he disliked and danced with it LOL LOL LOL
The penis dancing imagery made me laugh. 🙂 Underarms… thank you for sharing that.
In my family underarm fleshiness has been passed down. My nephew loves to squeeze his mother’s… made me think of how much I loved to squeeze my grandmother’s – and how sometimes parts of ourselves that we dislike might to others equate to love. So interesting the contradictions a single body part can bring up for people.
I have no words Diahann…loved it to the core….loved it just be in your skin…your feet look gorgeous
Thank you, I’m very glad to hear that. “Just be in your skin” – wise words 🙂
You wrote: “Now, 20 years after college, all these boys are gone. Married to other women. Out of my life. In the end, none of them really mattered.”
This is exactly what every young and sensitive girl should know by heart. 🙂
Thank you, Lusiana! To think of how girls twist themselves into pretzels over people and things that will later be forgotten… whether by wearing uncomfortable shoes or the use of other devices… I look forward to the generation of girls who will know from day 1 and onward to keep choosing themselves instead.
I always love to read about your experiences with dance and how it transforms your relationship with your body. Thanks for inspiring me to pay more attention to the various stories that each individual body part tells.
Thank you, Jenn! And yes- the body is so prolific. I sometimes find when I let her do the writing- she has so much more to say and with way less effort. 🙂
I’m so glad you came to love your feet, Diahann! I have pronated ankles, meaning my feet turn inward and I have no arch. I live in sneakers, making sure they have lots of support–otherwise, my ankles will turn and I’ll end up walking on the sides of my feet. I’ve worn high heels only to weddings. (I made sure to keep a tight grip on the groomsman escorting me lest I lose my footing and take a tumble.) I could never be a foot model, but I’m like you in that feet don’t strike me as ugly or beautiful. With all the problems mine have, I’m just thankful they work as well as they do.
Thank you for sharing your feet’s herstory, Miranda! (have you ever noticed how often shoes used to march at weddings are seldom the right fit for anyone? Twice I’ve barely made it up the aisle due to sheer uncomfortableness. And yes- the feet- gotta love em and definitely would be hard to live without them.
great blog and informative. Brilliant!
Thank you, Mihrank! 🙂
Yeah “red fuck me pumps” are so irresistible,
even if they are black, turquoise or purple… 😀
Yeah “the dude who had a foot fetish”.poor boy
– wonder if he knew what he missed, I guess not… 😀
Maybe I’m crazy – the first thing I notice about a girl is her eyes no doubt
then next is the part which starts where the back end and it’s not the neck
Most men think I’m full of lies
many women look doubtfully at me
but it is, in this order it appears for me… 😀
Didn’t even know women had feet… 😀 😀 😀
By the way very well written, Diahann… 🙂
Drake, loved learning about what draw you in first about a a woman. I myself am an “eyes” lady when it comes to what I love first about men. Thank you for your thoughtful and humorous comments.
Heh-how intriguing that we both just wrote about our feet, Diahann. Sorry I didn’t see this till just now, but so glad I DID see this intriguing and thoughtful post. As a dancer, I treasure feet and have come to appreciate how truly amazing they are with all they do-physically, neurologically, sensually, spiritually. So happy for you that you have come to appreciate yours and now shared your inspiration for being grateful for these, and all of our other, mindblowing body parts. And loved the charming image of your “foot” dance! I’ll bet your feet were preening for quite some time, and deservedly so :). xoxo
I was thinking that! Your post and mine. It makes me wonder if the subject feet is in the creative field right now and we tapped into it simultaneous. Dancing definitely has given me a greater appreciation for the powers of the feet. Yes- my feet were so excited to be able to final revel in themselves during that dance. I bet you yours know a million different steps and can soar to heights most of us just dream of, Chloe 🙂
Yes, I assumed we both tapped into the same stream. Maybe the universe needs more grounding…and dancing :). Hope you will post a photo of you in those shoes of yours–I can only enjoy vicariously!
Hello Diahann, I like this post because it made me think of, of all things, my feet! I don’t think of my feet. They’re a functional appendage, they carry me where I must. In summer my toe nails are pretty and bright, just right for my sandals. Year round, they get a scrub, a soak, a filing, shaving, chafing, at different times. But now, after reading, I look, I marvel, and I want to bring them to my lips, and say thank you balancing out the rest of my body 🙂
Timi, I love the image of you bringing your feet to your lips :). And enjoyed reading about the care you give to them year round–that is something I am learning to be be better about. Thanks for coming by. Your thoughtful comments and presence here are always appreciated.
I like coming here 🙂
Sent you an email . . . ?
Thank you for the heads up. Just responded!
Uh…yeah. Trust me. Those feet were not the part of your body the guys were looking at. ^^
“My feet, which keep me steady and grounded. My feet, which keep taking me to different places and back.” YES! And I’m sure you’re familiar with reflexology by now. Your feet literally carry your whole body, every organ system accessible and sensitive on diff parts of your sole. Taking care of our feet is taking care of our self.
I actually did not know that about the feet, Diana. Absolutely fascinating. Makes me want to explore this further. It’s amazing all the realms of the body beyond the physicality.
“Taking care of our feet is taking care of our self.” – yes! Simple yet profound. Great to see you here, my friend.
I’ve been under it. And when I surfaced from the hectic tiredness, I was busy preparing the next two series. Just google foot reflexology. I think you’ll find the diagrams quite cool.
Will do! Thanks. And look forward to read what you’ve been cooking up for us next. xo