My entire life, people have told me I look like my mother. Some even say that I have her personality, but I don’t think that’s so. I admit –proudly, I might add – to resembling my mother, but I have never been quite as outspoken as she, nor as funny. My brother tells me he is always so proud when people tell him he looks like Dad, and I know what he means. I am delighted to be compared to my amazing mother.
Still, Mom…..did I have to get your feet?
I have always been kind of proud of my feet. I realize that’s a funny thing for which to be proud, but anyone who has gotten a professional pedicure or two will admit that they have seen some nasty feet on other patrons. And as I would observe the nasty nails and the crooked toes, I proudly looked at my own perfectly formed toes and my smooth heels and said, I might need a wardrobe update, but man – look at those feet.
Until the past few years. At which time I began noticing that I was getting problematic, unsightly, and unexplained calluses on my big toes. Why do I get these calluses I asked nail technician after nail technician. From your shoes was always the reply. Except I knew that wasn’t the answer because frankly, now that I’m retired and spend my winters in Arizona, I live almost nonstop in flip flops. Non-callus-forming foot attire. Of course, I didn’t go out last night and get my podiatry degree, but still…..
But this past winter I was at a nail salon getting a pedicure, and my sister Bec was sitting in the chair next to me. As usual, the nail technician was working very hard on my feet and seemed unusually troubled. In desperation, I asked her the same question I have asked many a nail technician: Why do I get these calluses?
But instead of blaming my shoes, she answered immediately, “You get calluses because of your bunions.”
My say what?
And without skipping a beat, Bec said, “Oh, mom had bunions too. You must have inherited her feet.”
Sigh. Why couldn’t I have inherited her pretty hair or her dry wit?
I, of course, immediately googled bunions. I learned that they are almost always caused by wearing bad shoes, high heels in particular. Something I never ever did, even when I was in the workforce. I simply never wore anything but comfortable shoes. Well, I did wear high heels to my wedding, but people, that was 25 years ago for four or five hours. But the other thing that causes bunions, my friends, is genetics. Thanks Mom.
I have a habit of not looking at myself in the mirror. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t actively avoid mirrors. In fact, I look in a mirror several times a day as I brush my teeth or put on my mascara. But I don’t actually LOOK at myself. No need. I know what I look like so I don’t pay attention. I think it’s possible that I could grow a second head and not notice.
And apparently it’s the same way with my feet. Until those words came out of the nail technician’s mouth, I had never noticed that my feet were disfigured from bunions. And, see above. I live nearly non-stop in flip flops.
Still, I had myself fooled that no one else noticed the bulge right beneath the big toe of both feet. Who looks at feet anyway? Well, maybe podiatrists and nail technicians. But who else?
However, I was at my neighborhood nail salon recently and seated next to me was a man about my age getting a manicure. I was minding my own business, reading my book, when he said to me, “So, you have bunions, huh?”
Lord have mercy on my soul. That’s why men shouldn’t be allowed in nail salons. They should have their own salons where they can smoke cigars, pass gas, scratch their private parts, and comment on each other’s feet.
It turns out he has them as well, but his came from some sort of accident that he tried to explain to me except I wasn’t listening because I was frantically thinking about what sort of shoes I was going to start wearing that hid my feet from the public.
Since then, I have reminded myself about what is important in this world. Compared to poverty, hunger, bad health, and worrying about whether or not my favorite football players should stand for the National Anthem, bunions are simply a nuisance. My bunions, I’m pleased to say, don’t hurt a bit.
And if my feet offend, don’t look at them.