Attitude Sickness or How Bunions Forced Me To Re-evaluate

27 Apr

My toes!

What’s the worst thing you can tell a high heel diva, shoe fanatic who worships the ground Christian Louboutin walks on? You have a bunion. You need to take a break from your heels. Ugh. So I did. For about 2 months, I wore wedges and gasp….even flats.  I learned a few things along the way; about fashion, about proportion and about myself. I thought I’d share with you some of what I know. I should add a caveat: I am not a doctor; this is just what was suggested to me and what worked for me. Please, if you are having foot pain/problems consult a licensed medical professional (not just Web M.D.). Also, it should be noted, my bunion is not all that bad of one. Many of the things that worked for me, may not work for someone with a more severe case.

After I found out I needed to give my feet a break before they broke, I went around in a funk for the first couple of days. I didn’t feel like myself. I felt dowdy and uninteresting and unnoticeable. I’m 5’2” and petite and I felt like I was disappearing without my heels on. Not a feeling I liked very much. I’m a ham normally; the first one to jump in front of the camera or voice her opinion and suddenly I just felt off my game. I had written entire blog posts about what to wear if you don’t wear heels. But I was having trouble taking my own advice.

Then I did what I always do, I got proactive. I decided, if I was going to wear flats, then gosh darn it, they were going to be the prettiest, sparkliest flats I could find. See photo below. I made sure to put my orthotics in and also made sure my high heel orthotics were visible on my dresser so I knew that this little hiatus wasn’t forever. I also spent some time trying on my heels at home and figuring out which ones put the least amount of pressure on the balls of my feet so when I was ready to strut my stuff in my heels again, I could start out slow and smart.

Sparkly flats from Nine West. Thanks Mom!

Sparkly flats from Nine West. Thanks Mom!

Then, like any smart, 21st century woman, I googled. By the way, google bunion with caution, some seriously gnarly photos pop up ranging from actual bunion photos (not too bad) to foot binding (worse) to nasty foot fungus (disgusting).

The good news is that there are an incredible amount of techniques, devices and shoe companies out there making and recommending products for bunion sufferers. Toe spreaders, the previously mentioned orthotics, and specialized shoes are just three I can name. The toe spreaders I found to be especially useful. Another friend said that rather than buy spreaders, she used her pedicure separators and wore them to bed. I haven’t tried that yet but it seemed like a good idea and it worked for her. She said it felt weird the first couple of nights but now she doesn’t even notice. Additionally, I found these little gel spacers at Walgreens that are comfortable and work by keeping your big toe from smashing into the toe next to it. Pads that cushion the ball of your foot or padded insoles seem to help as well. Furthermore, yoga did wonders.

Another surprising discovery was that a total flat shoe was actually LESS comfortable then a small wedge or kitten heel. I still can’t explain that but talking to other people with foot pain, I hear the same thing. I think it is they way the foot is balanced but again I’m no expert.

And comfortable shoes are starting to get more and more fashionable. Earthies, Born and Naturalizer all had models I’d actually put on my feet. I also noticed, when I started wearing heels again that Jessica Simpson makes extremely well balanced shoes in every height range.

The doctor told me that when I did start wearing heels again to just wear them sparingly. I used to do all my errands, walk to and from the car and even walk the dog in my heels. Now I wear them at work and for special events. I have a cute pair of flats I keep in my handbag for everything else.

One of the most surprising and hardest things for me however was dressing for my reduced proportions. I wasn’t used to planning my clothes that way. I found it was helpful to try a few things on the night before and in most cases I planned around the shoes I was going to wear. I found rompers were particularly cute with flats and wedges and I could go a little shorter on the skirts to balance out the reduction in height. I’m slender but definitely not shaped like a boy; there are some curves there. I discovered that without my heels I had to be more wary of anything overly billowy. The more streamlined the look, the less dumpy and frumpy I looked.

And I reminded myself that height does not the person make. I was still the same fabulous, vivacious woman I’d been with the heels on. I reminded myself of all the good things that came with being a little shorter: I tucked perfectly under my fiancé’s chin and it was easier to hold his hand too. I fit in small spaces, am never cramped on an airplane, fit in a standard size bed and can sleep on a loveseat. Short can be convenient. Short can be sexy. Short can be fierce. And my height had nothing to do with my reach, my ability to lead, my ability to captivate. That all comes down in the end to chutzpah.

And finally, there are worse problems in the world. People go hungry; people get cancer…I just had a bunion. I might be starving for heels but I wasn’t starving for food. Perspective can do wonders.  So maybe my change in altitude is just what I needed to give myself a new attitude.

So it was with a laugh, that I read a story, not long after I started wearing heels again, written by a woman who was complaining about how TALL she stands. Apparently things go both ways. So now a days, whether I wear my heels or not, I think I’ll just be happy I have shoes to wear and places to walk to in them.

And I found the most perfect pair of Cinderella shoes for my wedding. Gorgeous. Fairy tale heels. And that reminded me that you don’t have to own the art to appreciate the view. Still, I got ‘em anyway. ‘wink’ You only live once and this was for my special day. I think even my doctor would agree that one’s wedding qualifies as a special event. Don’t you?

Cinderella eat your heart out.

Please share any questions, comments or anything else you’d like below or email me at princessheathab@gmail.com.

Future blog topics include:

  • How to Dress Appropriately for Any Occasion
  • How to Get Down in Black and Brown
  • Trends To Buy Right Now

Be Fierce. Be Fashionable. Be Yourself.

XOXO

H

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One Response to “Attitude Sickness or How Bunions Forced Me To Re-evaluate”

  1. Vanessa Chapman April 27, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    LOVE the Cinderella shoes. And you’re not short, you’re fun size!

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