When I was in seventh grade, my feet were a size 8 and in the nearly 10 years since then, they have not grown at all. The rest of me has grown into a twenty year old woman, all the rest of me growing- except my feet.
You can probably envision a tiny 12-year-old with size 8 feet that aren’t proportionate with her body… and you can probably also envision the kind of bullying that might have taken place for that 12-year-old girl, who already had a million insecurities.
It wasn’t super often, but occasionally from the seventh grade on through high school, I was told my feet were big. I remember vividly a friend saying that to me, and I remember it causing me to be incredibly insecure about my feet. I don’t have a close-up photo of my feet in high school, but here’s one of me in my natural habitat (the dance room) and my feet are visible:
So, as you can see, 15-year-old Elise has perfectly normal, not too big or too small feet. All the same, because of a few comments from my friends, I was insecure about them. My feet, which are given to me, not made by me, which are not even part of culture’s standard for beauty (weight, skin, hair, body type)… were hated by me. This is so ridiculous that it’s kind of funny. I hated a part of me I had no control over, a part of me that was so arbitrary and actually a blessing to even have (some people who are in wheelchairs or have lost their limbs) and reflecting on all that time, I am face-palming majorly.
Fast forward almost six years, and I look at the two feet that have walked me through life, on rocks, roads, sidewalks, barefoot through dirt, mud, swimming pools, walked on balance beams and performed on stages across Arizona; feet that have given me balance and recovered from broken bones, feet that have pushed furniture around my room because I was too weak to do it with my hands. My feet never received any credit when I hated them. I only valued them for their appearance, and hid them from people, never wearing flip flops for 7 years of being a teenager.
Here are my feet now:
And I love them! I love that I can pick things up with my toes, and that I can point my toe beautifully when some people’s bones don’t allow them to, and that when I paint the nails they look even prettier. But what’s different about them now versus when I was 12-19?
Absolutely nothing. What’s different is my attitude towards them. Now, I am a confident woman who does not need to be reassured by people that my feet are visually acceptable, or that any visible part of me is acceptable. No visible part of ANYONE is unacceptable, and it’s time we realize that. It’s time we realize the great detriment to our well-being it is to be told we aren’t “good enough”, “pretty enough”, or “proportionate” enough…
So, if you lend any of your time to hating parts of yourself because of what other people say, you are in for a very miserable life. You will never be in charge of your beauty, and that is unacceptable. And if you spend any time mentally, verbally, or over social media shaming other people for ANY part of their bodies, you should stop immediately. Shaming someone else does NOT build you up, because no matter how beautiful you are on the outside, if your heart is ugly, it shows.
But, I digress… I spent years thinking my feet were ugly, too big, too weird-looking. That was so so silly! I never felt comfortable in flip flops or cute sandals, so I limited my foot wear choices, I always crumbled my toes under my feet (they’re flexible like monkey toes) so that people couldn’t see them in dance class, I always wore socks or ballet shoes when I could to cover them up, and I was always ready to defend myself if anyone made a comment about my feet. Not anymore. If someone ever makes a comment about my feet again, I will use that opportunity to let them know how superficial it is to judge people based on their appearances, and how distasteful it is to make negative comments about a person’s appearance as well.
Let my teenage hatred of my feet remind you that your God-given qualities are so valuable, and your self-confidence and security as a person are so important that you should NEVER let comments about your feet, hands, eyebrows, shoulders, ankles, or any other body part make you hate it.