Monday, June 28, 2010

Barefoot and Beautiful

I have always felt that my feet were an asset in the beauty department.  I have always liked their shape and I have taken time to care for them.  You may disagree with that when you see the pictures below, but -- oh well -- we have to like something about ourselves and I have always felt my feet were okay.  Yes, I have marks where my flip flop has been rubbing, and an uneven tan, and some discoloring on my toenails.  But overall they're kind of nice.  I mean, some people really hate their feet.  But I have never felt that way.

Now that I am trying out barefoot, I have some vanity concerns.  What will my feet look like if I proceed on this path? Will they get really ugly?

I went to a barefoot running workshop in Central Park with Michael Sandler (author of Barefoot Running: How to Run Light and Free by Getting in Touch with the Earth).  His co-author, Jessica Lee, was there and she gave us ladies a talk about some things to expect once we develop into more advanced barefoot runners.

For one thing, she said that our forefoot area was going to get wider.  It's been smushed up in shoes and misshapen and is underdeveloped muscularly, so it's going to change shape a little.  She said that we may change our preference for shoes, especially wearing high heels.  I guess barefoot running stretches out the achilles tendon and wearing heels, which shortens and tightens that tendon, will not be as desirable.

She also said that we don't want to slough off the tough skin on the bottom of our feet when we go for pedicures.  That skin on the soles of our feet is protection and it's something we want to be there.

Jason Robillard -- in his book The Barefoot Running Book: A Practical Guide to the Art and Science of Barefoot and Minimalist Shoe Running -- says that the bottom of our feet won't be calloused, but smooth and leathery.  Hmmm!

I made a decision a while back that I was not going to have long manicured fingernails.  I play the piano and long nails made it really hard to play.  I went through a stage where I had wraps put on my nails and I was going for regular manicures to keep it up.  I guess I was experimenting with it.  Is this who I am as a woman?  But eventually I gave it up.  It was not who I was as a woman.  I had decided that I wanted to have hands that were not pampered and preserved, but hands that worked, made things, accomplished things.  I do recognize that there are women who have the pampered hands who accomplish a lot too.  Some of them do amazing things while sporting their long nails.  So, I just want to say that it was a lifestyle choice for me.  I wanted to work hard, play the piano, get my hands in the dirt and that's more who I was -- was more natural to me -- than the other kind.

Well, now we've turned to feet.  I didn't realize that while I was getting my hands out for a lifestyle choice, I was leaving my feet in the pampered supported world.

Anticipating some kind of transformation of my feet last night, I wanted to take a picture of my feet before they change.  So, here's a few pictures.  Before pictures.  They're not as pampered because I  have been barefooting for a few weeks, but they still are not what they will be later.

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