And I bought some shoes!
[insert evil laugh here] BWAA-HA-HA-HA
Man oh man.
What can I say? It's been a looooooong time--eight months since I last went to a shoe store. Yeah sure, I've seen shoes in stores in the past few weeks. But, I have not purposely gone to a store with the intent A) to try on shoes or B) to walk around in shoes to see if I would like to own them.
Let me tell you (again): This surgery is a FRICKIN MIRACLE. Really, just do it already if you're on the fence about it. The results are so fabulously unreal that sometimes it makes me laugh uncontrollably (when I'm at home by myself--usually trying on shoes that have always hurt and don't anymore) or just grin non-stop like some kind of dumb idiot (in public--usually around shoes that are for sale).
For example, after I had marched myself back to the clearance racks yesterday (always my first stop) I grabbed the first shoe I saw and shoved the dang thing on. Here's the insano part though: NO SHOVING REQUIRED. Here's the even crazier part: It didn't feel like a golf ball was shoved up inside the shoe next to my big toe. All that was in my shoe was ... my foot. No golf ball. It was so WEIRD. MY FOOT FIT IN EVERY SHOE. AND NOTHING HURT.
At first I didn't believe it. Not a bit. I kept asking myself, "This is how shoes feel on OTHER PEOPLE? I knew it was probably good, but it's THIS GOOD?? How is it possible that shoes can feel so good??" Once this realization began to set in, it literally made me start sweating (while grinning like a dumb idiot). Suddenly, possibilities had become unlimited; synapses in my brain began to fizzle and go up in smoke. I tried staying calm and doing the math: "Ok, if at the beginning of the year I would ONLY try on three pairs of shoes in here because 99% of them didn't fit my toes, and now my toes--specifically the biggest one--has been shrunk in half ... that means that 99% of the shoes in here are suddenly in the realm of reality JUST for trying on ... Wait. Hold on a second. If my toe has shrunk in half AND does not hurt anymore and ANY shoe will probably fit it, that means it would take me how many hours to try on EVERY SHOE IN THIS GODFORSAKEN STORE?? I DON'T KNOW! I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY HOURS! BUT I'M GONNA TRY DAMMIT! I'M TRYING ON EVERY SHOE IN THIS STUPID STORE!!!"
Ok, I didn't try on every shoe in the store, but I tried on nearly every stupid shoe in my section of the clearance area. I tried on tons of stuff that I would never even be caught dead in JUST so I could see if I could get my toes in. And guess what? MY TOES FIT IN EVERY SHOE! Ugly shoes, stupid shoes, puke colored shoes, flat shoes, heels, boots, sandals ... EVERYTHING!!!
At one point, I began to panic that I was going to wake up and it would still be April 2013 and the surgery would still be two months away. I'm happy to report that never happened.
Naturally, I took pictures of stuff. FIRST, however, a few things: crappy cell phone pictures in a poorly lit store is as good as it gets; I forgot to wear skinny jeans and had boot legs on instead--you'll see how this complicates matters; YES, I wore the stupid peds for everything so that nobody can leave a comment calling me some kind of animal for being unsanitary, but the ped plus the rolled up jeans don't do much to glam up the photos.
Initially I told myself, "NO HEELS," but then went and tried on some heels (just for FUN--NOT to buy):
|Truly, a miracle.|
|I LOVED these booties. My Official Favorite Pair of the Whole Place.|
|Textured tights and every skirt and dress I own? Bingo. Didn't buy them though. I just can't be walking back and forth across campus in something like this, let alone run errands. Just a really dumb idea, but they WERE SO CUTE!!!|
Honestly, ballet flats in general ARE THE WORST. They are THE hardest shoe to fit and yet the only reliably flat style. Truly, trying on flats is the seventh circle of hell when the bones in your foot are deformed. 99% of them just grind on the exposed bone--it's awful. I'm still really gun-shy with this style--I don't want anything constantly grinding on my bone where it's healing, but tall styles just aren't smart.
If I'm really going to respect my surgery and my two months of physical therapy, then I'm really going to have to commit to flat shoes. This might require getting a little creative, and this won't be easy. For example, menswear is really having a moment in women's wear. Every magazine I flip through is showing Oxfords and brogues as the flat of the moment:
|InStyle, December 2013|
|InStyle, December 2013|
|Kenneth Cole ad, InStyle, December 2013|
The problem is, I'm not really tall enough to pull this stuff off. I tried on these for the hell of it:
|I love anything with spectator detailing ...|
In the end, here's what I did buy:
Ok, pretty harmless. Here's the potential landmine: I'm really, really short. EVERYBODY (who has studied in the church of Stacy London) knows that when you're short you really have to use color and pattern properly to elongate your appearance. Boots that cut-off above the ankle are a risk because they can chop your (my) already short legs into pieces making you look stumpy. Risk all around. Like I said earlier though, I really need to be open-minded here because walking around in really tall shoes is a far greater risk (literally) than looking stumpy. When I brought these home, I really couldn't tell if these chop me up badly. From some angles, they look great and from other angles they're questionable.
* Herewith ensues a bunch of really awkward selfies--sorry *
I'll start with the browns:
|Huh. Can I pull this off ... or do I look like Karen from the animated "Frosty the Snowman" movie? I like them, though.|
Now the paddock boots (what do people call these? When I took riding lessons, ankle boots were "paddock boots," and knee high boots--those with lacing on the front--were called "field boots" ... I only wore field boots):
|I tried them first with no fold at the top, but I liked them better once I folded them. Unfolded, they sorta made it look like I was trying out for the part of a witch in a kids' movie.|
|Again, channeling Karen here? The thing is, if I was at a barn I wouldn't be self-conscious at all because my thought-process would be, "I need these boots to ride my horse," not "Do my feet look big in these boots?"|
I don't know why my feet are so big in proportion to my 5'2" frame. My friend Erin is easily five inches taller and her shoe size is 1.5 sizes smaller than mine. What gives? No sense in complaining though--I've got to learn to work with what I've got and fast. Lucky for me, I can wear basically whatever I want to work and I'm a pro at dressing up ANYTHING--ANYTHING, I tell you. Even though these are more on the casual side, I can make that work. (If I had a job that required business dress, I would be in REALLY big trouble. Honestly, what alternative do you have to heels in that case? Basically nothing, which really makes you question the latent sexism lurking behind men's and women's business dress codes--both the official versions on the books in corporations AND the implied social code for what does and does not officially count as "dressed" in the eyes of high-profile and powerful workers. I'm telling you, people: the masculine career model will be the death of all of us.)
I guess I just can't worry how big/stumpy I look from whatever angle. I'm so happy with my surgery results and I don't want to wreck anything. I guess I'll just have to channel my inner nine year old who gleefully walked (stomped) with a purpose around the barn in her riding boots once a week--the last thing I worried about back then was, "Do I look ok in these shoes?" I couldn't have cared less how they looked, and, in fact, I felt incredibly powerful in them.
Is it enough to wear something in the course of one's day to live one's life and simply believe, "I really feel like myself in this. Thus by default, it works." Or is that not enough to overcome a contrary statement like, "But you look stumpy" or "It's really not flattering" or "WHY?" or "HOW?" I'm sure, like all matters of taste and aesthetics, there are a thousand answers to that question.
I don't know yet.