Archive | July, 2012

My Shoes

25 Jul

OK–Can’t figure out quickly how to create link, so I am posting it.

My Shoes
My shoes are not very dainty or lady-like.
They are not strappy sandals or
cute kitten heels.
They are not playful platforms or
sparkly slingbacks.
They are not flirty little numbers or
sexy stilettos.
They are decidedly unglamorous.
But, my shoes are sensible and
keep me steady on my feet.
They do not wear down easily.
They are sturdy
with long-lasting soles.
Just like a woman.

Why is there always just one shoe on the side of the road?

25 Jul


“Boots and shoes are the greatest trouble of my life.”—George Eliot
I tend to agree with this quote—I have a lot of trouble with shoes, which I will discuss briefly later. But something that has troubled me for years is the mystery of why there always seems to be just one shoe on the side of the road. I see it all over, driving down sidestreets, highways, interstates. Always one shoe. Never a pair. So in order to answer my own questions, I have decided to explore this phenomenon.
I truly have questioned it for years. First, whose shoe is it? Are there specific types of people—kids, construction workers, drunks, who are continually losing just one shoe? Next, how does it happen? Did it fly off some guy’s foot sticking out of a car window? Maybe two kids on a road trip got in a fight in the backseat of the car, and one threw the other’s shoe out? Was it someone whose car broke down, got annoyed by the feel of it and flung it off in a rage, while walking for help? Or did a drunken girl, in her walk of shame, trip and lose the shoe and, in her stupor, just decide not to pick it up? Did someone with a shoe fetish deem the shoe unworthy and just chuck it from his collection? There are many possibilities.
Seriously, why just shoes? Why not hats or gloves or other articles of clothing? Why not other items that could easily fly out of a car—CD’s, ice scrapers, sunglasses, coffee cups? It bothers me to no end. Since the “one shoe” thing just boggles my mind, I decided, for my own sanity, that it has to have some meaning, it has to be a symbol for something. So I did my research. I discovered that in dreams, shoes represent one’s approach to life. For instance, dreaming of sturdy shoes might mean that you are determined or headed in the right direction. Missing shoes may mean that you have self-esteem issues. Losing shoes might signify that you are trying to find your identity.
Thinking of shoes somehow reminded me of literature from my English teaching career–the infamous Cinderella story, where a sweet, genuine, kind, yet tortured girl, finds true love in losing just one, perfect glass slipper. The glass slipper is said to represent Cinderella’s untarnished, pure nature, yet shoes are also a symbol of wealth in many cultures. In some cultures, removing shoes is a symbol of respect and/or holiness. High heels, especially stilettos, represent sexiness in our culture. Shoes have different significance across different cultures.
On a more depressing note, this “shoe quest” also led me to remember the mountains of shoes left by victims of the Holocaust, and poems about them. So what does this all mean in regards to the one shoe on the side of the road? Absolutely NOTHING. In my research, I found that not even experts of the obscure had a good explanation for it. I have decided that each person must find his/her own significance for the shoe.
So I decided to examine my own relationship with shoes. I think shoes just annoy me, in general, and that’s why I find such issue with the shoe on the side of the road. When I was younger, I wanted shoes with a heel, but my ankle doesn’t bend, so my dad told me no. And despite years of indignation, I have realized he is right. I can’t wear just any shoe I want. No flip-flops because I don’t have real toes. I get annoyed when my friends have long conversations about cute shoes in front of me. And sometimes the shoes I DO have are REALLY hard to get on my fake foot, so I have to use a shoe horn. I mean, who else has to do that? But I have come to terms with my shoe relationship-I even wrote a poem about it a while back (which again, I will link if I figure out how).
So what is the meaning of the shoe on the side of the road? Maybe it’s just there to remind us to take the right path, that no matter where we go, we can surely find a shoe that fits, even if we take a difficult path.

Yes, I have a fake leg.

23 Jul

Yes, I have a fake leg..

Yes, I have a fake leg.

23 Jul

It’s out there. Many people know it already, but people often forget because its not something that defines me. But my fake leg is something that sets me apart and shapes my thoughts, which is why I included it in the title of my blog (also, of course, a play on words of the best-selling novel “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”).

I feel my situation needs some explaining. I was born  without a foot on my left leg, so I am considered a left-leg amputee from birth. Luckily, I have a knee, so I can walk well, and remain fairly active when all my other body parts are working. My dad used to get angry when other kids or adults stared at me in the mall, so to make them feel bad, he would  tell them I got hit by a train. When I was in high school, I got bored of telling the same old story about it. So, following in his warped footsteps, I started telling people that my parents were in a cult, and that they ate my leg as part of a ritual sacrifice (a friend of mine even  wrote a story about it for me).

Over the years, I have had a definite sense of humor about my fake leg, and others have shared many fun, interesting ideas and suggestions for my it; at first, I thought I could cull all of my experiences and make a comedy routine out of them, but then I realized I have no stage presence (plus, that would be, like, my only routine). So, I have decided to share them here with you.

When I was in elementary school, I showed my leg for show and tell, and the next year, I took it off and hopped around the playground yelling, “My leg fell off! My leg fell off!” (I didn’t know it then, but I was a strange child). In middle school, on a dare, I let someone stomp on my foot and kick my leg as hard as they could; that led to a slew of practical jokes wherein I would amaze unspecting people with my high threshhold for pain. With my cheesy sense of humor, I cracked hard-boiled eggs and used it to “knock on wood”. In high school,  I let my boyfriend play beats on it with drumsticks, and pretended I was going to hit people in the head with it (ok, yeah, I still do that today). In college, feeling drunk and flirtatious, I told a cute guy that I had fake body parts and asked if he wanted to see them; he was a little disappointed when I showed him my leg.

Some failed suggestions from others: paint it camoflauge or paint different kinds of animal legs on it, put a secret compartment in it to hide stuff, make it into a bong, or get a tattoo on it. Which brings us full circle–The Girl with the Fake Leg Tattoo. Recently, I thought that maybe I should get a tatttoo of a fake leg, on my REAL leg–then I’d have a matching pair. But I decided against it.

While I do want to focus a bit on my experiences and things I’ve learned as a person with a disability, this blog is not just about my fabulous, fake-leggedness! I want to write about my random observations: things that annoy me and amaze me about life and people and culture; topics that interest me, like music, movies, pop culture, and poetry, and just experiences from my daily life. I took a magazine-writing course and decided it wasn’t for me–the topics I wanted to write about turned out to be more “personal essay” type-stuff, so that’s what I plan on doing.

So here it is–my very first blog post. I am super excited! I decided to start a blog because I have things to say, and I needed a place to say them. Writing has always been a great love of mine, but I’ve grown scared of it over the years and haven’t had a lot of time to do it. So this will force me to be brave and share my unique perspective.