I believe in walking barefoot. Inside, outside in the woods, everywhere. I believe in the feeling of cool wet grass against my ankles, and the texture of hard bumpy gravel pressing into my soles. I believe in the way mud feels squishing through my toes and the cold sensation of freshly fallen snow upon my skin. I love the notion that even when the ground gets tough or to the point where it hurts me, if I keep going I’ll get through it, and all my feet will do is get tougher.
I believe that walking around barefoot is a metaphor of my life. It represents how I haven’t tried to cover myself up with anything and how I’ve just let life happen. I’ve taken the good along with the bad. When I walk around without socks or shoes (especially in the dark), It makes me feel courageous, knowing any harmful object could be out there on the ground. But from experience, I know no matter what it is, I’ll get through it and go on.
If I were to put shoes on when I don’t absolutely need to, I just wouldn’t feel like myself. If I had listened to my mother when she’s said, “Nicole, PLEASE put your shoes on before you go outside,” My feet, and my spirit, wouldn’t be as tough as they are today.
One evening, I had dropped a glass on my porch while I was going to check the mail during a chilly Maine Winter. The cold was already unbearable, like a thousand needles piercing my cheeks as soon as I walked out the door. Mom told me to at least put on my flip-flops, but I couldn’t find them and there was no snow outside yet, so I figured I would be fine without shoes. I clutched the dustpan and stepped outside. I then realized, it was much too cold to walk, so I’d run. Get out and get in. I dashed off to where I had dropped the glass, and suddenly felt a shard break through the thick skin of my heel. The bitter cold wood of the deck gnawed at my left foot, which was supporting the rest of my weight. I hurriedly scooped up the glass with my dustpan and limped back in to care for my wound as quickly as possible. If I would have stopped, dropped what I needed to do, and sat there on the porch crying for mommy, I wouldn’t have learned that even when things get rough, and you think you’re at a block in the road of life, you can always hit the gas and keep on going.
Just like in the real world, I have stumbled upon and exposed myself to harmful things. I could’ve put up a wall between reality and I, and blocked out the bad. But instead, I welcomed it. Just like experiencing broken glass in the cold weather, I can walk through this world with my guard weakened, because I know I will still be able to stand tall through any issue life throws my way.
Practicing walking barefoot, I’ve come to know I can get through anything. I’ve realized that maybe you shouldn’t put yourself in someone’s shoes, put yourself in their feet. I believe walking barefoot is a beautiful, bittersweet thing that can make you tougher. I believe it’s a way of showing the world who you really are. I believe it is something that has shaped who I am today, and I know that I will continue to be barefoot whenever I please, and enjoy every pleasant or painful minute of it. I believe in walking barefoot.
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