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
It’s egg party time
I love this time of the year because eggs really do go down in price during the Easter season. I have some new recipes on how to fix eggs besides the coloring part.
Where’s the beef?
Today, the American consumer has more money to spend on the widest variety of foods than at any other time in our history.
Easter bunny's ‛eggbeater’ will fly eggs to Richmond
Who knew the Easter bunny could fly?
Skeptics can come to the Easter Eggstravaganza in Richmond’s Irvine-McDowell Park on Saturday to see for themselves. However, the bunny still doesn’t fly in bad weather. But on Monday, temperatures in the 60s with partly cloudy skies were predicted for Saturday.
We old folks have unique experiences
A friend sent this to me by e-mail, and I thought my readers would enjoy it.
Hope’s Wings volunteers need your help today
Help a local resident “get out of jail,” and in turn help men, women and children break the cycle of domestic violence in Madison and surrounding counties.
Bereans named Foster Parents of Year, Outstanding Adoptive Parent
Stephanie and Doug Gillum of Berea will be honored as Foster Parents of the Year tonight during an appreciation reception at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Puppet parade planned Saturday in Berea
The city of Berea will be celebrating Puppets in the Park on Saturday as part of the National Day of Puppetry.
Animal group seeks volunteers to assist with spay/neuter clinic
The Madison County Humane Society/Animal League for Life is reaching out to the community for help with its low-cost spay and neuter clinic.
The clinic, which operates at the HS/ALL adoption center at 128-C Big Hill Avenue, has spayed or neutered more than 2,000 dogs and cats since it opened in July 2012, according to volunteer Lynn Grove.
State funding to help keep domestic violence shelter open
Money for Madison County domestic violence intervention in the recently passed $20 billion state budget will be used to keep the Hope’s Wings shelter open.
The budget bill now awaits the governor’s signature.
Pets of the Week
This week's cat is Jett, a neutered and front declawed 5-year-old male.
This week's dog is Ace, a 2-year-old male Chihuahua mix.
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