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Revenge of Big Foot: What My Unusual Physical Attribute Taught Me About Authenticity and Acceptance

photo: Lian Chang on flickr

Do you have a physical attribute that you hate? Maybe it’s your nose. Or your belly. Or your ankles.

Do you often think that if only you didn’t have this dreaded physical feature, everything would be so much better?

In my case, it was my feet.

I have enormous feet. Like, Big Foot big.

Here’s the deal:

In the world of feet widths, it starts with A width. These are the skinny-footed folks. They have feet like jackrabbits. They can run like the wind and have a penchant for carrots, but that’s another post.

photo: Jennifer C. on flickr

Then we move up to the B and C widths. These are the middle-of-the-road people. Their feet are not too big, not too small. If Goldilocks saw their feet, she would say that they were Juuuuuust right.

And then there are the wide-footed folks. It starts with D, which is a tad bit wide. Wide enough to step on the feet of those As, Bs and Cs and do some damage. But not much. For some serious injury, we need to move up to the Es.

Now we’re talking.

With E widths, we’ve moved to the paddle-foot people. People who can swim like ducks and are not ashamed. (Okay, maybe they’re a little ashamed, but they can swim like ducks!! How cool is that?!)

We’re talking wide, but not freakishly so.

But what if your feet are wider than E? What if your feet want to bust out of the conventional measurements and boldly venture into wider pastures?

For these folks, we have EE. The double-wide. Like the trailer.

photo: Alan Levine on flickr

These are feet you can hear coming. They smack the pavement like it did something wrong. These people’s feet are the like the foundation of a house: strong, solid, and substantial. It’s almost impossible to tip them over.

But what if that’s not enough? What if EE fails to convey the full potential of your feet? What if your feet have an urge to travel into realms unknown by most mortals?

For those people – and this includes me – we have the EEEE.

That’s right: four of those suckers in a row. An E, plus an E, plus an E, and then – because three is nowhere near enough – you throw in one more!

For the 4E folks like me, feet become a different species. Our feet are no longer rectangles, they’re squares. We can flip burgers with our feet and live to tell. There are special isles for us in grocery stores, so we can pass the canned goods section without knocking everything over.

Oh, I laugh now. But when I was a kid, it wasn’t funny.

I grew up in a small town in Ohio, and my feet were so wide, I had to leave town to find shoes that would fit me.

In my case, I had to go to Elyria, Ohio. With full apologies to anyone who may be from this region of the planet, Elyria was a totally lame town. Maybe it’s really cool now, but when I was a kid, Elyria had nothing to offer. Except for a store that sold really ugly and really wide shoes.

My mom would take me to the Special Shoe Store, and I would pick out a piece of footwear appropriate for a troll. I would put my trollwear on my feet, and we would go home.

photo: Cali4beach on flickr

I always envied the other kids who could wear any kind of shoes they wanted.

If something was in style, they could wear it. They could go to the mall, stop at a shoe store, and pick out anything on the rack. What a concept! Oh, how I longed to be one of them!

But alas, it was not to be.

Then I grew up, and I took my big feet with me. I became increasingly comfortable with the fact that my feet could register for their own zip code, but I was still not completely at peace with it.

Until I discovered the spiritual path.

In the woo-woo way of looking at the world, nothing happens by accident. There are no exceptions to this rule. You can’t say, “Everything in my life has meaning and purpose, except for my out-sized feet.”

photo: Kate Ter Haar on flickr

That’s not how it works.

So I began to look for a meaning and purpose to my continent-sized appendages. I didn’t find it at first, but I kept looking.

And then it happened.

I finally embraced my androgynous style and everything started to make sense.

Up until then, I found it extremely embarrassing that I could only wear men’s shoes. I saw it as a sign of my freakishness. Suddenly, in my new embrace of a gender-flexible style, my supposedly-limited shoe selection had a purpose.

The shoes that fit me best were the shoes that looked best on me.

Sporty, androgynous shoes to match my sporty, androgynous look! If I didn’t know better, I would say that Spirit gave me these feet to match my style. I would say that Spirit knew exactly what It was doing all along.

For those of you who are shaking your heads, saying: Spirit isn’t personal. The Divine has much bigger things to worry about than your feet.

To those people I would say: No, it doesn’t. The Divine doesn’t worry about anything, for one. And for two, The Divine is everywhere, and in everything. Including my feet.

I would also say, the same is true for you.

Remember that physical trait we talked about at the beginning of this post? The one you hate? I would venture to say that the Divine knows exactly what it’s doing. That the Divine loves everything, including that special trait of yours.

Indeed, there is undoubtedly a hidden strength, a hidden gift waiting for you in your dreaded feature.

It’s there. You may not have discovered it yet, but the Divine will show you in time.

Just ask my feet!!

What aspects of your body have you rejected? And what gifts have these aspects brought you?

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25 Responses to Revenge of Big Foot: What My Unusual Physical Attribute Taught Me About Authenticity and Acceptance

  1. Karen July 17, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    I love the humorous way you convey spiritual truth, Z. It’s nice to think how a trait that seemed a liability can reveal itself to be an asset.

    • Z Egloff July 17, 2012 at 10:19 am #

      Hi Karen!

      It is interesting how things can turn around, isn’t it? I often find that the way I’m seeing something, when I’m in a place of contraction, turns out to be exactly the opposite of the way Spirit sees it. Hey, that might just be another blog post. . . :)


  2. Jo Lauer July 17, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Thanks for the reminder, Z. I’ve actually never noticed your feet.

    For me, it’s those spots…not like cute little freckles, or even Dalmatian-like spots, but those big, dark, liver-spot sort of things on my hands and face. Okay, like your feet, others perhaps haven’t even noticed my splotches, but I’m aware of them.

    As I spent time with my Dad as he was in his dying process, I noticed that his spots (genetic trickle-down) were a part of him that I loved, that made him familiar to me. It was a claim to belonging to our family (okay, we’re spotted–my grandmother, my aunts, my cousins). They lent a kind of vulnerability to his being, a flaw that was part of his perfection.

    Do I still occasionally use a dot of camouflage before a big event? Sure, but I do it with a gentle smile and an appreciation of my lineage. You’re right, there are no mistakes in God.

    • Z Egloff July 17, 2012 at 10:23 am #

      Hi Jo,

      Yes, like my feet, I’ve never noticed your spots. But you’ve noticed them, and that’s the point, isn’t it?

      I love this image of you and your father, the idea of a long line of spotted people. Perfectly spotted people, as you point out.

      I also love this link to family that our bodies give us. One of the things I didn’t put in the post was that after I got a pedicure and posted a picture of my feet on Facebook, my father was prompted to take pictures of his and my mom’s feet and send them to me. Which then prompted my brother to take a picture of his feet as well. It was fascinating to see the similarities and differences among the feet. All those connections and perfections.

      Thanks, Jo!


  3. squirrel July 17, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    good morning, Z! happy tuesday!

    i’ve looked at your feet many times and never noticed that they were any bigger than anyone else’s feet, or at least, they look good on you… i’ll have to pay more attention when i see you next.

    one of my things is also my feet. or, more accurately, my toes. specifically my baby toes. they grew kinda sideways – more so than most people’s. they remind me of an ape. i hated it when i was a kid. i felt like a freak. i didn’t like people looking at my bare feet. if i was wearing flip-flops or had bare feet, i’d hide my toes under my feet or in the sand or grass so no one could see my ape-like toes. but when i went into my “embrace your freakishness” phase, i started being ok with it. now, i clearly don’t have too much problem with people seeing my feet. :) the gift is, i’m awesome because i’m not like everyone else.

    the one i’m working on now is being ok with my small, oddly misshapen hands. makes it much more difficult to play the piano and whatnot. :)

    have an amazing day, sweetheart!


    • Z Egloff July 17, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      Hello Squirrel,

      Happy Tuesday to you too!

      Yay – I’m glad that you went from hating your ape-toes to embracing them. And showing them to the world! BTW, I never noticed that your toes were ape-like in any way, though I definitely have to check them out next time I see you. Sounds like a foot check is in order.

      I wonder what the gift is with your “misshapen” hands. I look forward to hearing about it! :)


  4. georgia July 17, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    As soon as you brought in the fact that you had to wear men’s shoes, the first thing that came to mind was “if the shoe fits…”. Too obvious?
    another winner Z!

    • Z Egloff July 17, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      Hi Georgia,

      If the shoe fits – Ha! Nope, I missed that one. See, that’s why it takes more than one person to manage this blog. :)


  5. Janet July 17, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    Oh Z, I love this–and I love you, too! I am also among the big footed beauties of this beautiful world. Your story is so similar to mine…somewhere along the line I chose comfort over style, and my feet have been so happy!

    • Z Egloff July 17, 2012 at 10:30 am #

      Hi Janet,

      Wonderful to hear from you!

      Excellent – I’m glad to know another big-footed beauty. And I’m happy to know that you have embraced your big, beautiful feet.

      I like to say that my feet keep me grounded. I am solidly connected to this earth. I’m glad to be standing side by side with you! :)


  6. River July 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    Hey Z!

    The first body part that grew my attention was my nose – not the nose you met me in but it was a big hooked nose. Think Cyrano but a bit smaller. At age 15, I used to sit in front of the mirror and cry because I was soooo ugly. Never mind that I had gorgeous hair, big lovely eyes or any of the features I now know. Ah well teenaged angst to its finest!

    This incredibly “huge” nose was sick for many years of my childhood – dripping and the like – making the rest of me feel miserable. My parents tried everything to make my life less sick – allergists, pediatric specialists, and finally an ENT. Help finally arrived there as a bi-product of my needing to be well – they had to fix the septum (the middle separation of nostrils) and I got a new straight nose as a result.

    Interestingly it was this tiny little change in my appearance that was the first boost I got in my self-confidence which started the road of change to lots of other things about my appearance. Wow, look at those eyes! Hey what beautiful hair! Once I stopped looking at what was wrong, I could see what was so very right about me.

    Now I don’t always love my entire body they was it deserves but I keep thinking of my nose. My nose still reminds me that there are just a few little things that can turn the corner for a person. Now I follow it and have fun seeing what changes for my body and for me!

    • Z Egloff July 18, 2012 at 11:57 am #

      Hi River,

      Thank you for sharing this story!

      It’s a reminder to me that there are many ways to approach this “detested appendage” issue. And that there are many ways through it.

      One of the keys, as you point out, is finding a way to focus on what we love and appreciate about ourselves. Sometimes this involves a change in our appearance, in your case, and sometimes it doesn’t, as in mine. But either way, there’s a new level of appreciation that emerges. And that, alone, can work miracles.


  7. David July 18, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Looks like continental drift. Some of the toes are moving towards each other and others moving apart. Keep an eye on them but I’m thinking the big toes are trying to change feet.

    • Z Egloff July 18, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      Hello David,

      I appreciate your use of the word “continent.” Given the size of the subject matter, it seems thoroughly appropriate.

      As for the “Jumping the Foot” theory, I’ll keep an eye out. If nothing else, it would make a great blog post.


  8. C Jay Page July 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    I could really relate to your story as I too had to leave our small town in Michigan and take the bus to Detroit to go to Fife’s which was a 5 story shoe store. I wore a triple A with a 5 A heel. They would bring me out 2 or 3 pair in my size and I took the one that fit the best whether I liked it or not. So I got one pair of saddle shoes and one pair of dress flat shoes. No cool penny loafers or other in style shoes as they wouldn’t stay on. Now I have a big toe bunion so I wear tennis shoes even to church – size 11 medium so the toe doesn’t hurt and laces to make them stay on my skinny feet. At 74, I have long ago given up envying anybody for better body parts.

    • Z Egloff July 24, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      Hi C Jay,

      Wow – a triple A. What a concept. Having been the double-double wide brand of feet, it’s hard to conceive of the super-super narrow version. But I totally get it that this is yet another version of the different-from-the-rest feet. And unable-to-get-the-cool-shoes feet.

      I also hear you that envying anyone else for their body parts is a fruitless task. How do they say it? God doesn’t make mistakes? Something like that. 😉

      Take care of those beautiful feet of yours!


  9. Jill Shinn July 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    Hi Z, who knew you ever had an issue with your feet??? For me, it has always been my round features. But you’re right that the divine knows what it’s doing, because people have often found me cherubic, and being angular would never have worked, would it? Hugs to you!

    • Z Egloff July 26, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      Hello Jill!

      Yes, now that I think of it, your round features are definitely cherubic. It’s hard to imagine a angular cherub. A harsh cherub. That wouldn’t be very fun. I love it that you can see the gift in a feature that was not-so-well-liked in the past. For me, time and a new perspective worked wonders. Thanks for your comments!


  10. lana March 11, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    I don’t mind my feet, infact i like them the way they are! However… at uk size 8 or 9 and 6e I struggle endlessly finding a decent shoe, within a reasonable budget too!

    • Z Egloff March 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

      Hi Iana,

      Thanks for adding your comment!

      I hear you about finding shoes. I guess it’s just one of the blessings of having special feet! :)

      Stop by again any time!


  11. LordEmilio May 23, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

    But they look good…!

    • Z Egloff May 23, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

      Why, thank you! :)


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