Conversations with My Feet

My feet are claustrophobic.

Yesterday, I got up and decided that since it was no longer anything close to ‘warm’ outside (although, it could be argued that neither could it be defined as ‘cold’. Tepid’s more like it. The cool side of tepid), maybe it was finally the end of bare-foot weather and maybe I should relent and put on a pair of socks. Picked something fairly loose, as one should always start gradually with the encasing of one’s nethermost appendages in tubes of constriction. My attendant started putting one sock on my right foot and I swear to whatever divine being will receive it, said right foot recoiled and screamed in horror. At which point, I asked my attendant to not and wandered around for the rest of the day with slightly chilly (and very happy) toes.

From the beginning, nausea accompanied my arthritis like they were conjoined twins. Never saw one without the other and the only medication that's ever dealt with the arthritis effectively enough that I'm only rarely nauseous is the TNF blockers like Enbrel and Humira and while I'm on the subject, can I just say how bloody marvellous it is to no longer be at the very least vaguely queasy at all times?! When I was a kid and eating was difficult, what with constantly being unsettled in the stomach region, my mother told me to listen to my body when I decided what to eat. This made it less likely that I would pay for an ill-advised meal with three days of inability to eat anything but cucumber, rice and dry toast. And I've been doing it ever since, consulting my body, which aside from making it impossible to do any sort of meal plan, has worked pretty well.

And then, years ago, because I'm apparently committed to making my life interesting, I started applying the rule to other parts of my body and it turns out that if you listen, various bits of your physical being has an opinion about almost everything. After I cut my toenails, my feet feel lighter. Nail polish is heavy. When I'm flirting with a sinus infection, every cell in my body demands pineapple juice. My skin will bitch if I wear anything but natural fibres. Etc. And my feet are claustrophobic.

When I was little, I loved being barefoot in the summer. I'd start in the early spring, as soon as it was warm enough that my mother would let me out of the house without socks and shoes and I'd start toughening up my feet, suffering through a couple of weeks of the soles of my feet, newly freed from the dampening effect of being covered, being almost unbearably sensitive, then gradually becoming more comfortable. If I close my eyes, I can still feel the nubbly surface of our street, the sinking swish of the sand of the beach changing to a squishy wetness where the waves met the shore and the prickle of grass. Well, that last one is not just a memory - often when I sit in the park with a book, I'll kick off one sandal and dangle my bare foot down to touch the grass, swinging it back and forth, letting the soft blades of green caress the underside of my foot.

But back to my feet and their opinions. They hate socks, resisting being trapped inside these little tubes of decorum with a passionate loathing. Putting on a pair of socks feels as restrictive as I'm sure it once did to wear a corset and in winter, although I learn to ignore the clamour of discontent, I am forever accompanied by a low-level whingeing, a complaint that doesn't cease until I take the blasted things off in the evening, at which point I can almost see my feet pulse with the inhalation of relief. With the following exception - once it gets cold enough to wear the handknit variety, they grumble less, often switching moods from resentful to moaning in bliss in the blink of an eye (apparently, as well as being claustrophobic, my feet also have bipolar tendencies). I count the official start of summer from the moment I can relinquish socks, usually sometime in May, practically being able to hear the songs of jubilation coming from the direction of two very happy tootsies to the end of summer, usually early October and then, the song is more like a dirge.

I'm pretty sure that the freedom of my feet can be counted in mere hours - quite frankly, I'd be surprised if they aren't clothed by Monday and based on their reaction to the idea yesterday, I expect that the weekend will be spent in intense negotiation with my claustrophobic feet.

Still. November. A personal record of barefootedness.

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