My feet hurt. They are throbbing, pulsating. My pretty shoes have turned against me and revolted, pinching and tearing at my skin and creating red welts. Every step is like an endurance test. Will I make it to the door? Will I be able to shuffle past the desks of my co-workers without looking like I'm doing a really terrible chicken dance?
Breaking in new shoes is possibly my least favorite thing to do other than be party to my boyfriend picking under his toenails with a credit card. It sucks. And this is why I don't buy new ones.
Buying new shoes is something that, as a woman, I'm supposed to enjoy. Popular culture gleefully informs me that I'm supposed to skip into Manolo Blahnik, wearing an oversized corsage and flanked by my best girl pals, and leave hours later -- after laying down the equivalent of my rent on a pair of sandals that I'll then have stolen from a baby shower. But hey! I'm no Carrie. Not only would I NEVER cheat on Aidan, but I also HATE shoe shopping.
I have a complicated relationship with my feet. Those of you who've been reading my xoJane pieces since the beginning (two years!) may know of my weird, unexplained ham-feet thing, where my feet decide to swell up like gigantic pig trotters and I can't get my shoes on or walk or get around without people staring.
It's all quite boring and annoying, but usually a spell of double the amount of diuretics will do the trick and get them back down to their usual -- although still not insignificant -- size. This has been going on for two years now, ever since the spell of steroids that helped beat my Crohn's into remission. A side effect is that you may retain water, and retain water I certainly did. And continue to do, which shouldn't be happening -- but hey, when you live with a chronic illness you pick your battles, and being annoyed at my feet is something I can live with. My doctors are looking into it, but in the meantime they're still misbehaving.
Because of all this, I've got smart about what kind of shoes leave the least amount of indentation in my skin if I'm retaining mad water. I tend to avoid lace-ups; my Converse haven't had much use in a long while. They're only reserved for "Very Good Feet Days" -- days on which my feet are completely normal. "Bad Feet Days" usually mean I'll have to wear a slip-on sandal of sorts. "Really Freaking Bad Feet Days" are flip-flops, regardless of the weather.
I don't bother buying heels anymore, as I don't know when I'll be able to wear them. Boots are usually OK as I can wedge my feet in them in the morning and I'll retain the water in my legs instead of my feet.
This is all turning into a bit of a whinge, so I'm going to check my feet privilege and say that I'm still blessed to have a pair, and despite often wishing that I could chop them off and replace them with a pair of tiny wheels, I obviously love having feet. FEET RULE! Even my shit ones. WOO, FEET!
I feel particularly bad for my poor feet today, as I have shoe-horned them into shoes too tight and pretty and non-functional. I got a bit brave because they've deflated since they were massive last week, and I was admiring the tiny metatarsals and phalanges that were finally visible. I spotted a pair of black and white pumps in the wardrobe I'd bought from ASOS a while back that I'd not worn, and thought SCREW IT. If I don't wear them today, I may NEVER be able to wear them again. I'm nothing if not dramatic, but you knew this.
EUGH. GOD. They have killed me. Killed me dead. Functional footwear is where it's at, people. Fancy shoes can go suck a massive one. I've spent days longing to be able to wear pretty shoes again, and then when I do, they bite me on the arse big time.
Do you know what, though? Despite the stereotype of the shoe-mad woman, I don't really know any woman who is that mad for them. Most of my girlfriends are the same as me, although without the massive swelling issues. Even those with the daintiest of feet aren't that bothered about giant heels and fancy sandals. Most of us just have a few pairs that go with a lot of stuff, and it won't matter if we chuck them in a bush at the end of the night or throw up on them on the Tube on the next day.
So, I'm going to stick to my functional, non-painful shoe choices. I might even buy some Crocs (I won't). One day of wearing nice shoes was enough for me. I'm sorry, feet, you've been through enough as it is.
Natalie's moaning about her feet on Twitter: @Natalie_KateM.