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!