On Monday, I put on my plaid print maternity dress (not my favorite) and a denim jacket. Minimum effort for maximum effect, which is really all I can ask from maternity clothes these days. For the past few weeks, I have found myself wearing the same pair of shoes every single day: my blue and white striped loafers that I impulse bought from Old Navy. They are already worn in, with embarrassing prints on the inside, and scuffed up somewhat badly. I made myself promise that I wouldn't wear my striped flats again.
Instead, I put on a pair of strappy, studded, flat sandals that I've owned since the summer of 2010. They have served me well as a go-to, slip on sandal in the summer months... and they've always been a smidge too big, flopping away from my foot on the inside.
Monday morning, I slipped on these old, trusty sandals as not my first choice, but rather my last one. I would have preferred to wear a wedge, but my sore feet can't really handle walking even my 1-block walk in them. I put them on, drove to work, and worked 8 hours.
Throughout my workday, I kept noticing my feet feeling, well, number. Especially the toes. But my office gets pretty cold, especially with air conditioning, so I moved my feet around and told myself to ignore it. The feeling got more and more intense until I left around 3pm.
It wasn't until I was standing in the elevator and looking down at my feet that I realized the straps of my sandals that travel across the base of my toes were, well, nearly imbedded in my foot. I wiggled my feet around, pushed my sandals back a little. They moved, but my toes were horribly constricted and looked like fat little piggies, perfectly bright pink.
As I walked to the parking garage (and thus, my car), my feet started to ache, the constricting strap cutting into my toes and making every step painful.
My stupid feet. My stupid, fat feet! I wanted to scream. When I got to my car, I loaded my purse and lunch bag into the passenger seat, then promptly tore off my sandals and threw them on the floor of my car. I was mad.
It was a foot betrayal.
I drove how barefoot, feeling excited and free with my feet less constricted--and really happy that the feeling of numbness quickly disappeared from my poor toes. But I also found myself thinking: This can't happen.
I can handle my clothes getting smaller. We all expect that in pregnancy, right? You can't wear your normal jeans or your favorite t-shirt or most of your underwear drawer.
But you can always wear your shoes.
My tiny shoe size has always been a comfort to me. Wearing a size 4-6 reminds me that my body has the potential to be small. No matter how unhappy I might be with my size 8 or 10 pants or my size L top, I knew that my feet were small. Society could suck it--I have small feet!!
Realizing, with a sudden and painful stab (like that of constricted toes), that my shoe size is changing. Is it swollen feet? (They're puffy, but not that puffy.) Is it the tendons in my feet shifting? (Maybe? Is that a thing?) Are my feet just growing with the rest of me, rebelling against what I've done purposefully?
I can't fit into any of my favorite kitten heel shoes (my high heel of choice is, hilariously, a teeny tiny kitten heel). I can't fit into some of my smaller, more narrow flats. And most of my sandals cut into my puffy little feat.
But I can wear my loafers. Trusty loafers. They never fail to disappoint, do they? Except that loafers don't go with every outfit and, come fall, it would be nice to wear other closed toe shoes.
As soon as I got home Monday (and stopped hyperventilating), I found myself staring into the hallway closet where I store my shoes. Flats and boots and sandals and heels. I have so many shoes. So many teeny tiny shoes, size 4s or 5s, 6s, a few 7s. So many that I can't fit into, that make my feet look like bread that's proofed too long.
In times of distress, I find that reorganizing always helps. So I did that. I looked at all my shoes; I counted them (don't ask how many, please don't); I organized them into two piles, too small and fit ok. I organized them by the mere fact of whether I could still wear them or now. I found myself comforted by the number that I could still fit my foot into (comfortably). More than just a few pairs of loafers: most of my non-pointed toe flats, some heels, my boots.
It's hard to let go of an old fact about myself. I feel defined by the things I've always thought myself to be: a writer; a reader; a good student; a girl who wore a small size of shoe. It's hard to tell myself that there are other things that define me, more important things than my feet, and that a few pairs of too-small shoes aren't that big of a deal... but then I remember, I really love my shoe collection.