It’s hard to believe they’re gone.
We shared the biggest events of my life for more than 30 years.
They lifted me up for jobs and romances as well as good times with friends and family.
They supported me when I graduated from college and buried my 20 year-old brother.
They were my platform when I was my most formidable professionally and when I was intentionally sexy.
To this day, something about them gives me a certain confidence that I can stand tall.
My high heels. Their death has been harder than I thought.
Nine months ago my left foot began to ache. It was obviously a problem with plantar fasciitis, the ugly bump that lots of people get on the side of their foot. Turns out, it was more.
After a visit to the podiatrist, I learned I had hammer toe, as well as the beginnings of arthritis.
“Hammer toe.” What a disgusting name. Sounds like something that should happen to clumsy carpenters. But it made sense. My poor little toe was all shriveled up. It resembled the back of a hammer top.
The doctor, a cute lady with plain navy blue shoes, said I nearly had a hairline fracture, but not quite. She leveled with me and said, “I know you don’t want to, but you’ve got to give up the high heels.”
The repercussions pounded on me worse than my hammer toe. I, a woman with one of the nicest heel wardrobes in town, was destined for the comfortable shoe aisle. What would be next? Elastic waist pants and decorative Halloween sweaters?
“I don’t think I can do that,” I told her. I thought the power of the shoes would be gone.
The doctor seemed bewildered. After all, it was my feet, my body and my health she was addressing here.
However, I quickly got the message. As she stepped out of the exam room to get me some shoe inserts and a list of acceptable footwear brands, I sensed up.
I didn’t have diabetes or cancer. I had a messed-up toe and the beginning stages of something I knew was coming ― arthritis, which is hereditary and which my dear mother has graciously burdened for years.
I could make it better and needed to do what she told me. I knew she was right. Many of my heels were torture.
So I wore tennis shoes to the office, but I had an excuse to look dorky. And yet, I felt sadness. Why did my feet have to confirm that I was no longer 25? My waistline was reminder enough.
A few days after the appointment, I went shopping. I found some leopard print flats and some cute, comfortable espadrilles.
I did physical therapy for three months. The ultrasounds and stretching helped a lot. I wore the same four pairs of shoes to work, but it was okay.
I got rid of about 15 pairs of shoes – mostly the “Sex in the City” shoes. They were shoes that made me gasp when I saw them in the store. I felt happiness when I bought them. I felt smart and chic when I wore them. (How come Carrie Bradshaw never developed hammer toe and named it Mr. Big)?
But good things followed. My physical therapy center transitioned patients into its great fitness facility. It was a place that had nice cars in the parking lot and real bodies in the gym, where grown ups went to work out.
I joined, lost weight and even started running. It was hard on the feet, so now I’m into running shoes. I have a pair for the gym, a pair for running outdoors. I have some other sneakers for running around town and my slip-ons for yoga class.
Foot health is now a facet of my life. I know I can’t wear the shoes I’ve worn in the past because they hurt.
I also now notice women in really high heels and have decided that some of them look sort of trashy. Maybe it’s my way of rationalizing what I’ve lost.
A few weekends ago I was shopping with my dearest friend. I saw some “gasp” shoes ― zebra print with red heels. She agreed they were great. I bought them.
I wore them to work the next week. By noon, they were under my desk. My feet cramped. When no one was looking I did stretches for 20 minutes there in my office.
I wore them out to a restaurant several days later ― just for a couple of hours ― long enough for my friends to appreciate their style. That was better. Everything in moderation.
I am a person who loves fashion, and I can’t apologize for it. My friends love style. My petite 80-year-old mother won’t go out of the house without her makeup and jewelry.
I don’t think its vanity. I’m glad that I care.
I have added some boots and shoes to my closet that are much more wearable. So now my highest heels are resurrected for short periods on special occasions or for very special outfits.
I have moved on, am living with the loss of my most celebrated, albeit insufferable shoes, and when I go to bed each night, my feet rest in peace without pain.
But sometimes when I’m out on the town, I sure do miss those hot-pink patent leather four-inch sandals.
Richmond native Terri Johnson, 48, is marketing and communications professional and a free lance writer.
It’s hard to believe they’re gone.
- Lifestyles & Community
County’s oldest consignment sale begins today
The Little Ones’ Consignment Sale, Madison County’s oldest semi-annual sale of its kind, is open to the public 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today (Friday) and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the multi-ministry center behind United Methodist Church, West Main Street, Richmond. Marked items are half price on Saturday.
There’s more to do at the Village Trough
“I wish there was more to do here.”
Do you ever find yourself saying this sentence as you sit there bored out of your mind? Have you heard others ask it?
Well, there is something more to do now that Village Trough in Berea is staging shows with local and regional talent and preparing to open as a full dining and entertainment venue.
Let’s have a Mardi Gras party in Kentucky
It’s the time of year when the people in New Orleans celebrate a festival called Mardi Gras. Many states now do the same. Some call it “Fat Tuesday” which I have never understood till I went to New Orleans (five times) and saw all of the excitement for myself.
Beat the winter blues with meatballs
When it’s this cold outside it’s nice to warm up with some good comfort food.
I can think of few things more wonderful than the smell of simmering meatballs coming from the kitchen while I cuddle with my two young children, and a few good books, on a brisk winter day.
Taste test Thursday
The sun is shining, but the chill has returned, so I hope you made the most of the warm, sunny weather this weekend.
The spring greens are being as tentative as the warm temperatures, but there is talk of lettuce being harvested and a continued trickle of kale, pea shoots, miner’s lettuce and spinach. To make room for the spring harvests, winter squash and sweet potatoes have been marked down to $1/pound and pumpkins are only 50 cents/pound.
Buttercups in grazed pastures
One of the signs that spring has arrived is when the yellow flowers of buttercup begin to appear, but it’s during the winter months that the vegetative growth of buttercup takes place.
As a cool season weed, this plant often flourishes in overgrazed pasture fields with poor stands of desirable forages. In fact, many fields that have dense buttercup populations are fields heavily grazed by animals during the fall through the early spring months.
Make a difference this summer, volunteer at 4-H Camp
On June 30 more than 200 Madison County kids will load a bus headed for four days and three nights of fun at 4-H Summer Camp.
Campers will have a chance to hike, swim, dance and spend time learning about the environment, their friends and themselves.
And we need your help to make it possible!
A whole lot going on
Downtown Richmond Farmers Market opening
The new Downtown Richmond Farmers Market officially opens Saturday.
This market will set up in downtown Richmond on North First Street between Main and Irvine streets Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (weather permitting).
For more details, go to www.downtownrichmndfarmersmarket.com. There you will find an events calendar and how to sign up for workshops that will be conducted at the market.
A Visit with a bell-The Dinner Bell Restaurant in Berea
I have wanted for some time to visit and interview people and food establishments here in Madison County and surrounding areas that you may have not gotten a chance to visit. \
I chose the Dinner Bell in Berea for my column this week.
Extension celebrates 100 years of nutrition education
For the past 100 years, families in Kentucky have looked to the Cooperative Extension Service to learn better ways to be healthy.
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