Updated: Oct 16, 2022
It's always been a challenge buying shoes when your clubfooted, one foots a 3.5 and the other is 4.5 UK sizes, they also have a unique shape and look like they should be on a duck rather than a person, with that I have always thought I should be better at swimming than I am!
My heals don't touch the floor and I have really high arches. So, when it comes to buying shoes, they either need to fit in my custom insoles and that only work with boots or high-top trainers that can support my ankles, or my custom braces that have been moulded to fit and have heals already attached this all helps by putting me in the right walking position and to help with my posture.
I used to be #embarrassed and #ashamed of my #disability, I still can be! but I am trying to change that and embrace who I am, and what's made me, me!
They will never know; they will never know!
When it came to buying shoes, I used to always take someone with me, well a girl, my mum, sister or friend. I would point out what I liked and try and find somewhere out the way and try them on before getting them to pay for them at the till. I probably overthink it and probably still do, as I still find it weird walking around the girl's section but at least I can go in a shop and buy them on my own now.
Ashamed of not being perfect
When your brought up with a disability you got through lots of feelings from a young age. You know your different, you have a "defect" you have to rely on others more, feeling that you're a "burden" that your "special" for needing this treatment. I feel my parents done amazing job, treating me as not having a disability. The words and experiences we get from others growing up can be hard. There are somethings you just can't hide; I have tried many times.
Although I think I'm happy I don't have a "good" foot as I think comparing the two wouldn't do me any good.
One of earliest memories of highlighting how different my feet are was when I was about six, I was at school, I remember it being a temporary classroom with plastic gutting that froze up in the winters. The teacher wanted us all to draw around our own foot, I didn't want to, but I had to, I suppose at six you just do what your told. They put all the drawings up on the wall in front of the class and talked about them. My foot shape was so different to everyone else, the fattest, the shortest, most curved, the ugliest, well the last one I'm not sure happened or just how I felt. That was forty years ago and still stays with me, I only told my parents this story a few years ago, they were shocked, wondered why I didn't tell them at the time, I think I was ashamed and didn't want to tell anyone.
There are lots of feelings I don't want to feel again, I don't want to be a burden on anyone so that does affect relationships and friendships. Being disabled labels you as vulnerable, we are forced to depend on others for a wide range of things, giving trust away to people who may or may not deserve it. This in itself makes it very hard to trust people, I know I put up glass walls, rarely letting anyone truly in, I try not to rely on others, I have taken decisions to walk away so I'm not a burden in the future. Someone told me this year "if you live in fear, you can miss out on so much". Their probably right and I am working on that, one way is by doing this blog. You do get amusing moments with have small feet A few times I have been out on the town and ended up wearing girls' shoes, One-time sticks in my head more than others. We were on all day/night pub crawl, and come the evening Jessica's feet were killing her, and yes you can see where this going! I ended up the rest of that evening what was pretty much the walk home in knee high, high heal boots.
On a personal note, I'm not writing this for sympathy, yes, I was born with a defect, sever lower limb deformity and bilateral talipes, yup both legs, a broken baby! This sounds horrible but it has made me who I am, I have been lucky, I am in a good place with it. I know I'm at the point where I'm not fixable, and I won't be able to walk forever, they have lasted longer than expected and I am grateful for every step I take. I'm writing this so people can understand where I come from, my experiences and thoughts are probably share with a lot of disabled people, but we just don't talk about it much. My two club feet has bought a lot to my life and the reason for everything I am doing now. It's made me who I am, and I like who I am.