Can We Not Talk About Your Feet?
Whenever I worry about things, I pick at my feet.
If I’m particularly stressed out, my feet look terrible. Is there a good reason for me to be stressed out right now? I don’t know. Is there ever a good reason? Is it normal to pick at your feet to cope with stress? What is normal? Is the fact that I’m even asking these questions a bad sign?
Inevitably, there arrives a situation which calls for someone — an outsider of some kind — to see my feet. A pedicurist, masseuse. A shoe salesman. It will be uncomfortable. They’ll say, Do you have some kind of, uh, injury, here? And I’ll say, Oh that. No that’s just this nervous habit I have. I know, it’s so gross. Because I do, And it is.
I hate it, I hate myself for it. And the worse it gets, then the worse they get, until sometimes it hurts me to walk on it, but only a little bit. Not a ton. Not enough to keep me from walking. Just a little bit, to remind me of a problem nagging at the back of my brain.
I’ve always hated my feet anyway. They’re too wide — that’s the part I get from my father. But the toes I get from my mother. I look at them in my sandals and I think of her. I am pretty sure you are supposed to look at things that remind you of your mother and be happy but that is not how I feel. I think, I should not wear these shoes. Or at least, I should not wear these shoes and put my feet up on the dashboard of the passenger seat like that, because when I do it’s like we are driving to San Diego again, in the yellow Volvo or the brown Peugeout wagon, and I am ten, and Abba or Fleetwood Mac is playing on the stereo and there is nothing I would not do to escape this skin of mine.
When I do I wonder if Mini will ever feel that same way and it’s like my heart will break in two at the thought of him ever having to feel any of it the crazy messed up, slanty way that I do. And just then he will catch my eye and ask me, Mommy, is that an owie on your foot? And I will say, Yes, baby, but it’s OK, Mommy will fix it. And he will kiss it, and say, All better. And for a moment, it is.