Monday, January 11, 2010

New Barefoot Perspective

I am what I am; I can’t really be anything different. I am thankful that I am not compelled to try to be something that I’m not – what a waste of energy! In fact, I think it is a waste of a whole life to try to counter the natural qualities in yourself in the attempt to become something else.

Part of what I am is a barefooter. I didn’t become a barefooter in order to make any particular statement or to be thought of as a nature enthusiast or any other image-designing reason. I simply am a barefooter and I can’t help it. Shoes do not stay on my feet. All my life I have ended up barefoot, even when I left the house in shoes. Running shoes, work shoes, dance shoes, fancy heels or beach sandals – they all get kicked off soon after I adorn them.

It has been interesting to experience a new perspective of myself as a barefooter since the arrival of the internet. Until very recently my barefoot lifestyle has been frowned upon by those in my life. It was cause for shame; it was a personal fault. People thought I was childish, immature, irresponsible. My feet were referred to as dirty, ugly, and worst of all, carriers of disease. Still, I couldn’t help it; I remained barefoot.

In the last couple of years however, I have made friends with people from around the world who have a whole different attitude toward bare feet. First I joined an online organization called the Society for Barefoot Living (SBL) where I learned about all kinds of people and their barefooted lifestyles. I also learned about health issues and legal issues regarding barefooting. It turns out that 1) barefooting is very healthy and 2) it is NOT illegal to go into public places barefooted.

Secondly, when I started posting personal pictures on facebook that showed me without shoes, I was surprised by the onslaught of positive comments. People now refer to my feet as “beautiful” and my barefoot lifestyle as “authentic”.

The perspective of others has not changed my behavior, but it has certainly been a validating experience. It is encouraging to be praised a bit instead of constantly condemned for my bare feet. The positive perspective has strengthened me and made me more bold. I have come to articulate my choice and better understand it. I have come to appreciate this characteristic in myself. I also now have information and knowledge to defend my choice.

I have always loved my feet and have always been grateful to them for their strength and endurance. Now however, I am also proud of my feet, even when they are dirty.

Healthy, strong, vibrant, and beautiful: I am a barefooter!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

On Christmas Eve, squeezed in between the regular stuff of last minute shopping, cooking, wrapping presents and housecleaning was a appointment to wash George. I say “wash George”, not get George washed because that is exactly what it was – me washing him, not the groomer doing it.

My friend Ellen and I took George to a place called Happy Clean and Smart where they have a place for customers to wash their own dogs. I’d seen such places before in larger cities and thought it was a great idea, but only learned recently that we have one here locally.

George is such a tender little soul and so frightened by everything, especially anything new, so I thought he would feel better about being washed by me than by a stranger. He’s been to the groomer’s before and I always hate to hand him over to strangers, no matter how skilled they are, because his little body quivers and shakes so much. The self wash option would only be a wash, no nail trimming, no teeth brushing, no hair cut, so we’ll still have to go to the groomer’s occasionally. But for Christmas eve, self wash was on the agenda!

Ellen and I entered into the salon-like facility and were instantly impressed. The spa employee showed us around and explained how to use the equipment. Happy Clean and Smart provides the shampoo, conditioner, towels, and dryer, so all we had to do was show up. We were given a portable shelf to put over the bathing sink so we wouldn’t have to bend over so far to wash George. The portable shelf also provided security for George as it was textured and more comfortable for his feet than the bare sink.

Lots of suds and scrubbing and cooing later, we rinsed him well and moved him over to the drying table. The blow dryer there is much more powerful than my blow dryer at home, so we were able to dry down to the root of his fur and warm his skin. We got him fluffy dry and then dressed him in a fresh, clean sweater.

For $12.00 and one hour, we got a happy, clean dog. The bonding and good time together was a bonus. When we got home, George had puppy energy and seemed pleased to show off his new and refreshed little body. He puppy-trotted all afternoon and turned circles like a professional canine model on the runway.

I definitely recommend the self-wash option for bathing your dog!