I’m going to tell you a story about my toes.
(Yep. She’s seriously blogging about her toes…)
You know how some people have a second toe that is longer than their big toe? Well, holy llamas, this girl right here has a second toe that could eat her big toe for breakfast. And still be hungry. Oh yes, I was cursed with the longest second toe known to man. In fact, all of my toes are pretty long. As my boyfriend’s son recently told me, “You could play piano with those things.”
(I’m thinking of actually looking into that, by the way…)
Or another of my favorite toe stories…I once had a few actor friends crash at my house for a night when I lived the closest to a venue we had travelled to for a performance. When everyone awoke the next morning, I asked them how they slept. There were the obligatory “fine” responses, of course, but then…..sigh. Then there was Evan. Dramatic little Evan’s response? “Well, I slept okay, but I had this nightmare. It was awful. I dreamed I was lying in bed sleeping and suddenly I felt something wrapped around my neck trying to choke me. I opened my eyes, and it was your toes, Melissa!”
Ha ha. Veeeeery funny.
So, yeah. I’m kinda known for my horrendous toes. And you know what I used to do? I used to hide them. I dreaded summer. All the girls would pull out their cutesy little flip flops and sandals, but not this girl. Nope, I was sporting tennis shoes no matter what time of year it was. There was no way I was going to show the world my hideous toes. Some things you just want to keep hidden.
But one day, that changed. And I don’t mean that in a generic sense of the term “one day.” I mean, I remember the exact day.
It was a particularly hot summer day and there I was sporting my tennis shoes, as usual. I was standing in line at a gas station to pay and was looking down at the ground while I waited. While looking down, I happened to notice the feet in front of me. They were some chick’s cutesy little toes in a pair of cutesy little flip flops. Of course. I’m not gonna lie…the green-eyed monster in me started rearing its ugly head right then and there. Why, oh why, couldn’t I have feet like that? Why couldn’t I have the cutesy little toes and wear the cutesy little shoes? Why did this chick get the cute toes and not me? What a lucky, lucky girl she is.
And then I looked up.
Along with the cutesy feet, you know what else this girl had?
A bald head.
She was a cancer patient.
Suddenly, a million memories came flooding back to me. A few years prior to this, I too had been a bald cancer patient. And, at the time, I was absolutely mortified by the fact that I was a 17-year-old girl with no hair. I didn’t have the maturity yet to realize that being bald was such a small price to pay for the medicine that was saving my life. No, I was too self-conscious and insecure for that. I was just worried about how I looked. I wouldn’t let anyone take any pictures of me without my wig on, so I have no documentation whatsoever of that time in my life. Once I was finally able to return to school to finish my senior year, I remember a lot of the kids telling me to just take my hot, itchy wig off and wear scarves or something to make myself more comfortable. But nope. Silly me. I wasn’t ready to uncover something that I felt was a flaw, even though I knew that I would be loved and embraced regardless.
I have often looked back on that time over the years and wished that I would have just taken that thing off. It was silly to hide behind it. It was hot; it was uncomfortable; and I would have felt soooo much better if I would have just stopped worrying about how I looked, and just let my bald head shine for all the world to see. It was nothing to be ashamed of. I couldn’t help it. I was beautiful – not in spite of my bald head, but because of it.
And now, here I was, hiding something else. My stupid toes.
I silently applauded pretty-toe-girl for her confidence and strength and went home and took those uncomfortable, stupid tennis shoes off and started wearing flip-flops and sandals from that day forward.
So, why am I telling you this?
Well, first of all, I’m just warning you that – ugly toes and all – you are all about to see a whole big bunch of those annoying “toes in the sand” pictures from my beach trip next week. My boyfriend Richard’s family does a big family beach trip every year in July and this year I’ve been upgraded from “the girl who feeds his animals while he’s away” to the girl who actually gets to GO on the trip. Woohoo! I’m always jealous of those pretty toe pictures at the beach that you see floating around, so I’m fully prepared to add my monstrosities to the mix.
But aside from that ugly toe warning to the general public, the real reason I’m telling you this story is that I hope maybe you’ll take something from it. Do you have something you’re hiding? Well, stop that. Maybe it’s something physical like ugly toes, or maybe it’s something a little deeper. Some part of you that you think people wouldn’t accept if they ‘saw’ it. Either way – stop it right now. There is no logical reason to hide something that makes you who you are. Whatever it is, own it. One day you’ll look back and wish you had.
Be comfortable. Be confident. Be you.
Show your toes.
Oh. And I just don’t have the heart to make you read all this and not actually get to see my ugly toes. So, here ya go…
“I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand
Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand
Life is good today. Life is good today.”
– Zac Brown Band lyrics