Shoes

For many girls, once you reach a certain age, you begin to enjoy different things than you did when you were younger. Things like ponies, stickers, Barbie dolls, and the ballerinas that used to occupy our minds and fill up space in our hearts are soon replaced by make-up, clothes, boys, and many other things. What happens, though, when you can't enjoy the things that are a part of growing up? What if something is holding you back, something about you that forces you to miss out on things that others may take for granted? For some, it's shyness. For others, it can be that their parents have strict rules that keep them from enjoying life. For me, though, it is and always has been my size.

I’m four feet, six inches tall. I’ve never had problems personally with my short stature. I actually appreciate it a lot. It’s what makes me stand out, it makes me different. Though I am very happy to be as unique as I am, I have to admit that there are obstacles and limits that I have to face because I’m so short. The problems that I face because of my size always seem to center around the basic components of life as a teenage girl. My size has never kept me from wearing make-up or dating, though it has been known to be kind of a repellant for guys because they think I’m twelve years old. Even clothes aren’t too much of a problem. Besides pants and v-neck tops clothes tend to fit me just fine. But the things that are virtually out of my reach, the objects of Carrie Bradshaw’s undying affections on Sex and the City, the subjects of a viral YouTube video with that guy dressed in drag, the things that I can never shop for no matter how badly I want to: shoes.

One one hot summer day, I took a trip with my family to the local Shoe Carnival. The main reason we were going was because my brother needed new running shoes for the summer track season, but my mother told me that If I found a pair of shoes that I liked and that would fit me, she would buy them for me. My initial reaction was a lot like that of any teenage girl who’d been offered free shoes, excitement. I was ecstatic at the thought that I would be able to pick any pair of shoes that I wanted and my mother would get them for me. Then reality hit. I started to doubt that there was a pair of women’s shoes outside of a specialty store that would fit me. A quick glance around the women’s section would confirm my fear. Every label on every box showed a number that, little by little, dashed whatever hope I had.

Ask I walked through the valley in the shadow of shoes that I’ll never wear I took the time to notice the slew of choices that girls with average-sized feet would get to choose from. The wooden shelved walls were coated with them. They looked so much like murals, an homage to the glory of those things that you wear on your feet. They came in all different styles and colors: blue ones, black ones, narrow ones, wide ones, polka-dotted, lace-up, strappy, buckled, every thing from sandals to boots, pumps to ballerina slippers. It was enough to make any girl drool. The myriad choices of footwear would fill lots of girls up with giddiness and excitement. I, however, could feel only disappointment, disappointment and longing.

Some might wonder why someone would get so worked up about things that only go on you feet. So many girls can just walk into a shoe store, pick what they wanted, and make a purchase. I was not, never have been, and never will be one of those girls. For me, they weren’t just things that went on your feet, they were a symbol. Such a small part of life was really something so much bigger than footwear. They were normalcy and self-esteem, they were a feeling that I belonged. I tried on a pair of blue lace-up shoes in vain. I knew they wouldn’t fit; I just wanted to see myself wearing them. Once again, though, I had to face reality.

I’d once heard someone say, “Nobody wants to be the same as anyone else, but everyone wants to belong.” I completely agree with that statement. All humans feel the need to belong to or in something in some way, and there’s a point in everyone’s life when the idea of not belonging seems like the worst thing in the world that could happen. It can stress us out and lower our self esteem to the point that we feel inadequate. After a long period of personal reflection, I’ve come to realize that the fact that I am different and can’t necessarily enjoy things that others my age could does not make me inadequate.

Our distinguishing qualities, whether physical or otherwise, are a part of who we are, and they make us special. Our quirks are never ugly or bad, they’re just quirks. Lots of people get self-conscious about their unique qualities, especially when it keeps them from doing things that they want to do or having the things that they want to have. When we as humans face these kinds of trials in our lives, we have two choices. We can either give into our limitations or we can accept our differences and go on the live happy and fulfilling lives. I choose the latter. So whenever I’m out shopping with my friends and they decide that they want to try on shoes, I don’t sit and mope. I give them advice about which shoes look good on them. I might even try something on just for fun. I definitely don’t let shoes, or any of the drawbacks that are brought about by of my short stature get me down. I am a size three in a size five world, and I can’t do anything to change that. All I can change is my attitude. I’ve decided to accept my limitations and play the hand I was dealt.





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