As a 13-year-old, I was mortified by my big feet. It seemed to me that all of my friends floated around in size 7 feather feet, while I lumbered around in my (US) size 12 yeti feet. I was painfully conscious that my feet were big - too big, in my opinion.
My mom’s approach to shoe shopping did not help. “My daughter has very large feet,” she would announce to the saleslady. “Size 12!” She would then ask if there was ANY chance they had stock in SUCH a big size. The saleslady would nod gravely, her gaze inevitably falling to my feet.
The realization settled upon me that there was no such thing as average.... there was no explicit standard for beautiful.
Needless to say, doubt quickly formed about how I could ever fit into modern society with such supposedly gargantuan feet. I even worried that I wouldn’t be able to do sports for fear of tripping over my toes. Shoe shopping was excruciating as I painfully examined my feet in the mirror to see if this pair of shoes created any illusions of smaller feet.
And then one day a wonderful thing happened. I was perusing a women’s fashion magazine when I chanced upon an article about Paris Hilton, who, at the time, was trending as a major celebrity and style icon (which, frankly, is quite questionable in hindsight.) Paris Hilton, the article casually mentioned, sported size 11 feet. Size 11! I could not fathom that there was a young, fashionable, trend-setting woman running around with size 11 feet.
This turned out to be one of the great "aha!" moments in my life. The realization settled upon me that there was no such thing as average. There was no explicit standard for beautiful. It was the beginning of my understanding that beauty truly came in all shapes and sizes. If this fashionable celebrity conﬁdently strutted down red carpets in size 11 stilettos (and no one cared! no one seemed to notice!) it seemed very likely that I could navigate life with my size 12 feet.
My next shoe shopping experience was much more joyous. I have since discovered Long Tall Sally and it tickles me to see that their sizes begin at size ten. Big feet are not merely tolerated at LTS - they are celebrated!
Guest post by Lauren McGill