Why go barefoot?
Since March 22, 2001, I have kept a blog called barefeetallowed. I started off over here (and yes, that is an actual picture of my feet—notice the chipped nail polish!) with my very first post and then this year I sprinted off to WordPress, for reasons I explain here.
More than five years ago I thought up this name, seemingly out of the air, because it meant something to me. It resonated somewhere deep inside my core, and yet sadly, I could never put a face to it. Today, finally, I can tell you what it means—or at least what I hope it will mean when I get the courage to follow my own advice.
In some ways, barefeetallowed is a mantra for me. It is, has been and will continue to be an image, catch phrase or concept that embodies everything I felt, everything I believed in, and everything I wanted to be at the tender, unconscionably naïve age of 17.
As a carefree, eternally-optimistic teenager, you never expect that you will rapidly grow up to nurture different ideals, worship different idols or believe in things outside your small bubble of comprehension in high school. Sometimes, you lose pieces of yourself along the way. Writing, and blogging in a more general sense, is the only tool I have ever been able to use to pick them back up again. The patchwork of replaced and repaired parts might not be especially pretty, but at least it’s honest and you aren’t lying to the sole person that it will hurt the most: yourself.
Barefeetallowed is so many things to me. It reflects my own impulsive, expressive, sensuous self. Going barefoot is embracing independence and standing up for yourself, not caring or taking to heart that someone thinks you are too tall, ugly, dumb, or not good enough to fill the hollow in their own, insecure hearts. It’s about being nice to the little guy, whether or not he or she ever becomes big enough to thank you.
Barefeetallowed is about being close to the earth and recognizing that nature is itself a remarkably powerful tool for healing and for health. It’s about appreciating the simplicity and inherent beauty in a single flower petal, a seagull caught on a jetstream in mid-air, the blank canvas of a newborn baby, or a kiss from the man you hope to spend the rest of your life with.
Barefeetallowed is about recognizing that we all have faults—some of us even have many, many faults—and going barefoot gives us the power and wherewithal to change what needs to be changed, regardless of what other people might say, think or do.
In a nutshell, barefeetallowed is the strength to be comfortable with who you are—shoeless, without the benefit of canvas or rubber to protect your toes from the cuts and scraps that are a natural, even necessary, part of figuring out who you are and what you want out of life. Then it’s only a few quick steps to figuring out what you intend to give back to society and what lessons you will share with your friends and family, or leave for your children and grandchildren.
That’s what giving yourself permission to go barefoot means to me.