How to Love Your Ugly Feet

How to Love Your Ugly Feet

by Renee Long November 06, 2018 5 Comments

You’re putting on jeans. New jeans, ones that fit properly because you took the time to go to a good denim store and accepted the help of the salesgirl with the thick-rimmed glasses. She told you multiple times, No, those are too loose. No, those bunch at the knees. No, those are too loose again. You need to go a size down.

There’s something about being told you need to go a size down even though you know you’ve gone a size up over the last two years creeping toward 30. And even though you feel like an overstuffed denim loveseat in a 90’s college dorm room, you know she’s right. They’ll stretch, she says. You don’t want them to stretch too much and be loose.

You and the salesgirl stare at your reflection in the dressing room mirror. The lighting is not as bad as the all-exposing blue glare of TJMaxx fluorescents, but no dressing room light is flattering. You stare at the muffin top pillowing above the waist of the “they will stretch” jeans.

The wide and uneven swoop of your hips. The inward turn of your bowlegged knees. You turn around. Your ass looks okay… if you can look past the muffin top. 

Now you’re putting on the “they will stretch” jeans at home. You have to lay on the bed on your back and kick your feet into the air to get them started. On your back, with your feet in the air, jeans pulled up to your knees, you pause.

Against your white wood ceiling, your feet and ankles framed in the dark denim, there’s a little beauty. This is strange because your feet are the last thing on your body you’d acknowledge as beautiful. Even your muffin top and your bowlegged knees get more love––because they are the “problem areas” we are told hate and correct.

Your feet, however, are not worth fretting. They are a lost cause. Too long and knobby and hairy and calloused to be worth loving or hating. They are the cinder-sweeping stepchildren of the body. Not worth correcting.

Sometimes you’ll get a pedicure, and within a week be annoyed that chipping nail polish and fast-growing toenails make your feet more unsightly than they were before the pedicure. You scrub off the polish, clip back the nails, and scoff. You’re not even worth it.

But now, on your back with your feet raised high, they look elegant. Un-pedicured, hairy, and calloused, they appear gracefully “dressed up” in new dark wash jeans. On your bed in a plow pose, you’ve inverted the perspective.

Your feet raised high and your head low, they tell you,

We carry you. We will keep carrying you.

We grip and curve and hold when you climb a tree.

We stand you up at graduations, at weddings, at funerals, at DMV lines, at legal hearings.

We propel you into water, through water, out of water.

We dig for clams on salt flats.

We harden at the sole so you can walk on stones.

We connect you to earth.

We run.

We march.

We carry you. We will keep carrying you.

At a time when all of our bodies are trembling with rage. At a time when the most powerful are telling you, you do not own your body. You listen to your feet speaking from the air. This is a time to radically love the feet, the whole body, that carries you.

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Hop on over to It is This.




Renee Long
Renee Long

Author

Renee Long is a writer, teacher, and novice scuba diver in San Diego, California. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and was a finalist for the Cossack Review 2017 October Poetry Prize. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida Atlantic University. Her work can be found in Crazyhorse, Rock and Sling, Tiger’s Eye: A Journal of Poetry, The Ruminate Blog, and elsewhere. Renee's blog, LitHabits for Life, explores the connections between writing routine, wellness, and lifestyle habits. Connect with @hayreneenay on Twitter and Instagram or on her website, reneelongwrites.com.



5 Responses

Madeline Twooney
Madeline Twooney

November 14, 2018

Renee, l love this! It makes me appreciate my feet more!

Renee Long
Renee Long

November 10, 2018

Thank you so much, Angela. I have grown to treat my feet better as well! I’ve prioritized good shoes over the last few years, and my feet are very grateful … as are my back and hips and knees!! It’s amazing how it all connects. And yes, I’m often reminded of Jesus calling out our pride by simply washing feet. <3 Thank you for your kind comment. Sending lots of love and light to you. xo
Renee

Renee Long
Renee Long

November 10, 2018

You’re welcome, John. We often need reminders to love every part of our earthly bodies – we’re gifted them for a reason. I’m glad the post resonated with you and thank you so much for the kind comment. Sending love and light,
Renee

John
John

November 09, 2018

Ahhh…my terrible, forgotten feet. Thanks for reminding me how often the feet, my feet, connect to so many things. Thanks for the beautiful writing, Renee.

ANGELA HOOKS
ANGELA HOOKS

November 08, 2018

Lyrical. Beautiful. Universal. I love my feet and treat them well with good sneakers, comfortable shoes and regular pedicures in my shower and the salon. And your description of the feet’s purpose to carry us through good and bad times, long and short days reminds me that Jesus carries us when our feet cannot. Thank you!

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