Do you remember the story about Imelda Marcos from the Philippines? When she and her husband were exiled, it was discovered she owned over 3,000 pairs of shoes! I can’t imagine having that many, but I used to get a lot of footwear. My feet were normal, and I loved shoes. Believe it or not, I still have many of them! The problem is, however, that I can no longer wear most of them.
I had to forego high heels once my walking began to deteriorate, but I still have them packed away in a bin. Why? Do I think I’ll ever be able to wear them again? Obviously, that’s not happening. Maybe I’m just a closeted hoarder? Whatever the reason, I just can’t seem to part with them. I still have mental images of how I looked in them and I’ll admit I did love looking like that! The last time I remember wearing them was when I was still a principal!
After I saw the necessity of going flat, I still collected shoes. I’d get an outfit and want shoes to go with it. As I relied more and more on the brace, I tried to find shoes that would hold the brace but still look attractive. I settled for sturdier ballerina flats and ones with a slight vamp. I had a rainbow of colors for each. Note: I rarely wore athletic shoes – just sneaks in colors. If I wore summer clothes, I’d abandon the brace and wear sandals. Those, too, became a collection in styles and colors. I’ve come to believe in the statement, “Vanity thy name is woman!”
Nowadays, I really struggle more and more with shoe choices. My right foot is gross – there’s no other word for it. The lymphedema there has caused me to have constant swelling. My instep is raised about an inch, making it close to impossible to wear regular shoes. I try to force the foot and brace into the vamp shoes, but even then, the swollen skin sticks out all over. It only hurts if the shoe leather starts to push on the instep too hard. When I wear them, I make sure my pants leg is long enough to hide my foot.
Since I’ve made myself a semi-recluse, I can get by with bare feet all the time. I don’t go out and I don’t invite anyone here, so nude feet suit me well. I cringe when I know I have to put shoes on, and then I get all depressed when I see how horrible my foot looks, all bulging at the top and sides. My husband hounds me all the time to get new shoes, but the truth is that I just can’t find any to fit me and still look good.
Last summer, I ordered a pair of crocs, but they didn’t work. I couldn’t fit the brace into them, and the vamp still pressed on my instep. A while ago, I got a pair of Keds, just to see how they would be. (Remember, they come in many colors!) They did work pretty well, but I can’t wear sneaks with everything. Then I finally was able to get my Mukluk boots, and they’re good, too. However, winter is almost over, so they must be stored with the others.
My dilemma: should I order the loafer type shoe in a size larger and stuff the left shoe? Should I get a wider width and do the same stuffing? Should I break all societal rules and go barefoot all the time? I need answers! I’ve looked online, and the shoes I find to accommodate my ugly foot are all even uglier or inappropriate. I have to figure something out soon – the nice weather will be here soon!