It was the Sixties. I was in junior high and hit a growth spurt. Suddenly, I was not just skinny, gawky and self-conscious; I was also officially Too Tall. The cute boys and popular girls meandered below ignoring me. I remember Mom taking me to the ‘Tall Girl’s Department’ at our local store; racks and rows of sad cardigans with their arms hanging down like drooping flags. Awful.
But my shoes were my real problem. My feet went from size 7 to 8 to 10 to 11.I worried that they’d just keep going on forever. And they were so narrow. If they could just be squeezed into a medium width, I’d be “normal” again. Sure, I could find special sizes in ugly styles, but the times demanded Desi Boots and all manner of fads that I could never wear. Back then, it seemed like my fate was sealed: I’d never fit in.
There was a strikingly beautiful model named Verushka, as exotic and rare as her name. I read that her feet were size 15, and she underwent excruciating surgery to shorten them a little. I was jealous. Not anymore.
I look back on those days with such tenderness and rue. Today, I like being tall. I think feeling “abnormal” helped develop my character, and strengthened my empathy for others who are “different.” Oh, and I like my feet.
They did, of course, eventually stop growing. They’re still thin—not skinny but delicate. And while I was changing, the world changed with me. I wasn’t alone anymore. There were shops and catalogues that stocked my size in real styles.
And when the Internet came into its own, I felt like I’d hit the jackpot: so many choices, so many familiar stories, so many wonderful women and wonderful shoes. I’ll never be rich, I’ll never be a Sex-in-the-City shoe fanatic, but I’ll always feel good when I look down.
When I became a vegan and didn’t wish to buy leather anymore, I worried I’d be stuck in canvas forever. But yet again, I found a supportive community, beautiful choices, and understanding vendors.
I am blessed. I have health, family and, as DesignerShoes.com puts it so well, I “leave a larger footprint.” Shoes aren’t everything in life, but like everything in life, it’s better, sweeter, and easier when you feel attractive and in good company.