Following on from my last post on splints, it made logical sense to discuss another fashion statement-shoes. Although this may sound like I am being a diva, shoes have been a touchy subject for me throughout my life.
Throughout my time at school I had the ongoing battle of finding shoes to fit over my splints. I was provided a pair with my splints through the NHS as they had to be much wider and deeper than normal shoes. However let me tell you now that some of them were simply horrendous. I have a very clear memory of going to collect my splints and shoes age 13 (so was feeling very conscious at the time of what my feet would look like at school). I was given the shoes and splints and had to hold in my tears to stop myself screaming at the Orthotist. Once outside the hospital I burst into tears right next to the bins by the front door (a real Beyoncé moment, I know). This is because the shoes were just so disgusting. Think clown shoes for 80 year olds with some extra geekiness thrown in. They were just huge and super clunky black monsters (definitely nothing like the heeled Clark bootleg shoes that were all the rage at the time-I was gutted this was not an option for me-I felt I was missing out on a defining moment of my childhood).
Anyway after Mum had managed to work her magic and calm me down we had to tackle the next challenge. Finding a pair of shoes that I could face wearing to school with my splints without being mortified. This was an epic effort (especially by Mum who was tirelessly researching and googling behind the scenes). We would traipse around endless shoe shops with the splints in tow and Mum somehow managed to put up with me getting increasingly angry and frustrated that no normal looking shoes would fit over my splints. I distinctly remember one visit to Clarks where we were trying to get a pair of shoes over my splints (this takes a lot of elbow grease and shoe horns to get the shoes over the splints for the first time) the shop assistant told us we couldn’t do that to the shoes as we would break them whilst trying them on. Mum and I promptly got up and walked out. Clarks were just not willing to cooperate despite the fact that we had nearly succeeded as they were too scared of what may happen to their precious shoes!
It took until I was 15 for a gamechanger in the shoe world to make it to the NHS which is the Hatchback. These shoes were just an ingenious creation, they are a hinged shoe that opened from the back (and they just looked like a normal human plimsol-not some alien footwear). I am so glad that these came into my life.
Unfortunately for me, the shoe drama did not end with the splints. This is because, due to the way I walk I just ruin every pair of shoes that come into my possession. This is because I wear out the front of my shoes by walking on my toes, I also scuff the shoes within minutes due to the frequency of my falls. This has meant that I get extremely frustrated and angry whenever I wear my shoes out and they have to be thrown away. I have taken this so far that I am scared of wearing my new shoes. I will wait for a full year after having bought my shoes before I dare to wear them. Maybe this could be an idea for a new series of The Secret Life of Hoarders- I feel my collection would be a bit more classy than the strange gnomes some people seem to collect. I get infuriated that my shoes have such a small lifespan. I know this may seem like a pedantic thing to get in a flap about but it really gets to me. Even more so when I know that the shoes are good quality and should last many years.
Recently, I got ridiculously wound up over my pair of Birkenstocks. The staple had come out holding one of the buckles in place and as I had only recently started wearing them (after the year-long window of squirrelling them away in my wardrobe) I was convinced the buckle had come out as a result of my walking and got into a mega sulk all day-mega diva moment but having a tantrum in the middle of Office shoe shop is far from ideal! This is not fun and is even worse for my Mum who gets pulled into my madness and has to somehow convince me that it is only shoes! Maybe I need to try some hypnotherapy or meditation to help me overcome my fear of shoes, I reckon that shoes for me are the equivalent to another persons snakes or spiders!
So from all of my ramblings here you can see that shoes have and still continue to be something that frustrate me greatly. I am aware that there are much more important things to worry about in the world right now but I hope this shows some of the reality of living with CP and how something as mundane as shoes can become problematic. I am sure that with time my relationship with shoes will improve and it will become something I eventually accept as part of my life with CP.