When I was sixteen I stopped wearing shoes.
Okay, so that's not entirely true.
Let's start at the beginning.
I was not raised in a family with a whole lot of expendable income. Don't get me wrong, my parents did absolutely everything in their power to ensure that Big Sister and I had a lot of extracurricular activities. It helped that we homeschooled through a charter school and one of the things they do is help pay for stuff that is school related. That meant we could spend decent money on my softball gear and once I got serious about softball I always had NICE cleats.
In our everyday life however we didn't have that luxury. Mom said that since Big Sister and I made so much money babysitting we could buy all of our own stuff. This was when I was thirteen. We bought all our own clothes, toiletries, food, etc. I was told I was lucky we weren't being charged rent. Everything else came out of our own pocket.
It wasn't too bad, my sister and I did make a lot of money for our age. This also allowed mom and dad to have money to pay big important bills and for my mom to do her dog related activities. However when it came down to it, shoes and clothes weren't as important to me as comic books and anime. The only time I splurged on clothes was if it was somehow related to something that I was a fan of.
I had one pair of sneakers, a pair of flip flops and my cleats. That's all I needed. That's all I wanted. I got the cheapest shoes I could find.
When I was sixteen I couldn't find socks to put on my sneakers and my flip flops had been MIA for a while. I was going to the store with my friend, Willow, and I wasn't about to miss out on that. I had grown to hate shoes anyway. Since I wouldn't bring myself to buy high-end shoes I often ended up with shoes that were plastic or didn't fit as well as they could and they left me with blisters, hangnails and discomfort.
So I went barefoot.
I loved it.
I loved the feel of the earth under my feet. I loved the grass, the asphalt, the dirt, the everything. Even in the store with the chilly vinyl I loved it.
So I stopped wearing shoes except in certain circumstances. Obviously in softball or when I went to work I wore them as required. If the day was really hot and I didn't want to burn the bottom of my feet and get blisters (again) I wore flip flops. Otherwise, I didn't wear shoes.
It became one of my connections to nature based religion which is still a defining part of my life. My feet became callused and tough on the bottom, but I didn't have bunions or misshapen feet or blisters that comes from cheap ill fitting shoes. My feet never smelled and my toenails were healthy and were a normal color.
One time while in the Michaels craft store an employee came up to me and said that I should wear shoes because sometimes there was broken glass on the floor. I informed her that she didn't have to worry, all glass did was get stuck in my calluses and I could brush it off. She was probably too disgusted to push the issue further so she left me alone.
Of course this habit left the bottom of my feet black at the end of the day after wandering around a bit. My boyfriend at the time hated it but I didn't want him sucking on my toes anyway and he cared way more about what strangers thought than I did. People warned me about hookworms and other diseases that I never contracted.
To this day I prefer to be barefoot. I kick off my shoes before driving and my life seems more filled with work, school, speech tournaments, running and other places that require I wear these society required torture devices.
I still fully appreciate the moments when I don't have to worry about shoes, when I can just wander through the grass and feel it squish between my toes.
I still don't get pedicures because I hate the feeling of someone scrubbing off my calluses and how that causes my feet to be sensitive and squishy until they build back up.
I still can't bring myself to spend more than $25 on shoes, even that is pushing it as far as I'm concerned.
I still have calluses and I still love them.
I hope one day I work in a place that will allow me the freedom to be barefoot all the time.
Except when I'm scooping poop. Don't wanna step in that stuff.