Slave to Fashion

They say it’s the shoes that makes the man. When it comes to women, shoes make them…uncomfortable.

We truly are slaves to fashion. If we want to look good, it generally comes at the sake of our comfort. Women wear the weirdest and sometimes painful things simply to look good. Thongs, stiletto heels, girdles, strapless dresses, heck even panty hose are insanely uncomfortable. Wearing these items usually leave us limping, tugging, pulling, stressing, feeling as though we’re going to be cleaved in two, yet we keep wearing them.

Why? Because they’re cute!

About two years ago, I purchased the cutest pair of espadrilles. I’ve always wanted a pair, so when I saw this pair of hot shoes, combined with their sale price tag, I couldn’t pass them up.

So, for the record, I will present Exhibit A: The Shoes.

The most painful shoes on the planet.

Having purchased my lovely new shoes, I couldn’t wait to strap them on and wear them to work with the outfit I had purchased during the same shopping expedition.

As Monday morning rolled around, I hopped out of bed, did my daily morning routine, then slid my feet into the adorable shoes. I wound up the straps, leaving them a wee bit loose so that I could do things like walk, and took my first steps in those gorgeous espadrilles.

I noticed the shoes pinched a teensy bit in the toes but put that down to new shoe awkwardness. (In my 30 years of wearing shoes, I can honestly say that I’ve never owned an open-toe dress shoes. The only shoes where my little piggies ever had freedom were my chunky Sketcher sandals or my gadzillion pairs of flip flops.)

At work, everyone noticed the sexy shoes, commenting on how much they liked them. I felt awesome, not only did I personally love my shoes (and the fact they put me at my favorite height of 5’9″), but so did the entire School of Education! I was on top of the world!

But then tragedy began to form. But with me being the aloof goddess that I am, I didn’t have a clue of what was going on.

I noticed that my feet kept sliding forward in the shoes, causing a wee bit of pressure on my toes. I’d slide my feet back in the shoes and press on with whatever I was doing. But when I had to climb to the third floor of the building three times in an hour, things just started breaking down. The bottoms of my feet, just below my pinkie toe, started to ache a bit. Whenever I sat, I’d readjust my feet, alleviating the pain.

It was okay; I had things under control.

While things started to go wrong with the shoes at 7:15 a.m., when I strapped them on my feet, I didn’t get the message until noonish. As I walked over to meet Liz in Scofield Hall, tragedy struck.

Liz works down in the building of the basement, and as you all are well aware by now, stairs are my mortal enemy. They’re evil, I tell you!

But I digress.

Anytime I walk down stairs, I use the utmost caution. When you have a sordid history of falling down stairs, you grab hold of the railing for dear life. But just as I stepped down that solid marble staircase and thought to myself, They really need to have a railing to hold on to for people walking down the right side of the stairs, my shoes hit the skids and I hit my butt, sliding down a flight of stairs on my tush.

Say it with me kids: OUCH!

As I always do when laying it agony at the bottom of a flight of stairs I’ve just fallen down, I giggled (I can’t help it, because I seriously will not cry in public if at all possible). Sitting there, I took a quick inventory of the damage to make sure we didn’t have to go to the emergency room as opposed to Muddy’s during our lunch break. I bruised my forearm and smushed the middle toe and ring finger toe (it’s back!) on my left foot. In other words, I’d live.

Pulling myself back to an upright position, I slowly (snails were blowing me away) hobbled down the final flight of stairs then rounded the corner to Liz’s office. And wouldn’t you know it, she didn’t even hear the crash that was Mindy falling down the stairs.

Heading to Muddy’s for paninis and Cokes, I had to walk awkwardly to accommodate the bruised muscles I had hurt and my toes. The top of the pads of my feet began to ache in protest. We needed to get there quick so I could take the weight off my feet a bit, but walking fast only further enraged the blister gods gathering on my feet.

After lunch, my feet took further offense in the idea that I could walk back to campus in those beautiful shoes. So I ripped them off, forcing myself to endure scalding hot sidewalks all the way back to the School of Education. Back at the office, I gave myself a treat, keeping those espadrilles off until I was forced to trudge back up to the third floor two more times.

By the time 5 p.m. rolled around, my feet were pissed off. I rushed home and into the loving comfort of my flip flops but not before enduring six blisters.

Not such cute shoes anymore.

My feet went from looking like human feet to something like what you’d expect to see on a zombie whose been shuffling around on his undead, decaying feet for three years. Okay, not really, but they really hurt.

Needless to say, those shoes, while super cute, have not been worn since. I haven’t yet given them away. I keep them on with the deluded belief that one day I’ll give them another shot and things won’t go as bad. But honestly, I’m scared. Scared of those super cute shoes.

A History of Falling Down

Inspiration comes from the most interesting of sources. In this case, it came from an early morning incident back in 2007 in which I tried to rearrange my face.

I woke up at 5 a.m. having to use the restroom. In the house I lived in at the time, we NEVER closed the bathroom door unless someone was inside making a deposit at the First Porcelain Bank.

Knowing the door was open, whenever I would wake up and have to use the facilities, I would  leave my sleep mask covering my eyes, shuffle out of my room directly across the hall into the bathroom, do my business and walk back to bed.

I was all set to do just that on that fateful morning…until I walked face first into the bathroom door, nearly breaking my nose. Apparently, Allen didn’t realize that Mom and I didn’t close the door, and though I had been contemplating have my deviated septum surgically fixed, I didn’t mean that morning by my own hand!

I was sure that my face coming into such close quarters with the door woke the whole house, but that was usually par for the course for anyone who lived in the same quarters as me.

Laying in bed afterward, my pride only slightly wounded, I began thinking of how I have a major falling story for nearly every single year of my life. You know I’m accident prone, but did you ever realize that I could be that bad?

Don’t believe me? Well, I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest Condensed version:

Age 5

My brother and I get into a fight, and I, for whatever reason, kick him in the stomach. Pissed off at being attacked in such a brutal fashion, he kicks me back…while wearing cowboy boots. I pass out from lack of breathing. One problem though: I was walking when I passed out, and I continued to walk across the lawn until I tripped over a decorative brick in our yard.

I fell on my face and proceeded to tear open my chin, causing me to have a chunk of my chin muscle removed and stitches inserted in my chin. (The kicker of that was that, immediately after I got the stitches, my mom bought me a hot dog, which I had to turn to mush just to fit inside my mouth.)

Age 8

The day before our Sports Day at school, I was riding my bike to my great-grandmother’s house. I came down this big hill to a four-way stop, and it was as I sped down the hill at more than 20 miles an hour I realized that the brakes on my bike were toast.

At the four-way ahead of me, cars were stopped, waiting for their turn to go. There was no way I could stop, and I didn’t dare speed into the intersection to die at the front end of whichever car hit me. So what did I do? ABANDON SHIP! Yup, I jumped off the bike and ended up gashing open my leg.

To this day, when I tan, you can see this massive circular scar on my left shin. Lovely.

Age 9

During a visit to Puddle Jumper Days, our local festival (yes, that is the real name), I had an opportunity to climb inside my first Humvee. As I went to climb out the back, I smacked my head on the top of the door, causing me to tumble out onto the pavement. I’m fairly certain that if I were to ever shave my head you could see where I had my run-in with a Hummer.

Age 10

This is one of my brighter moments. Having just taught myself how to do a handspring, I decided to show my friend during a visit to her house. We hadn’t even been there five minutes, and I just ran and jumped. As my arms hit the ground, I found the one hole in the entire yard. I fell to my left, and when I hit the ground, I could no longer feel my left arm.

Petrified that I had somehow managed to rip off my arm, I didn’t want to look, but I knew that I had to. So I turn, and instead of seeing no arm at all, I see my arm taking a 90-degree u-turn about four inches below my elbow.

Yup, broke my arm in less than five minutes doing a handspring. To make matters worse, my mom tried to reset it on the drive to the hospital. Then, when we get to the ER, we must have found the only blind nurse in the place, because even though I’ve got a clearly broken arm (since when do we have joints mid-forearm??), she asked why we were at the hospital. Being the ever-faithful smart ass that I am, I plopped my arm on the desk and was like, “I don’t know.”

Age 15

You can call me Ms. Genius with this one.

Standing atop the largest hill in Oak Grove, wearing my roller blades, I decided on a little physics test.  I wanted to see how fast a normal person could travel on roller blades without having to push off at the start. So, I just started rolling.

About the time I hit 30 miles an hour, I realize I have two options: Die a brilliant and bloody death at the bottom of the hill, making myself a martyr in the name of science OR find some flipping way to stop myself without grievous bodily harm.

So what do I do? Scream like a little bitty girl.

Mom heard my cries, which I’m sure sounding more like the nearing wail of an every emergency vehicle in the great Kansas City region, and rushed into the streets to find me barreling in her direction. She knows of my two options and would also like to save me from dying for science. She steps in front of the magic blur that is me and proceeds to stop me…sort of. She proceeds in slowing me down as we begin tumbling down the hill. Finally, we stop, and I’m amazingly unscathed. Mom, however, probably should not have shrugged off visiting the doctor to bandage her many wounds.

Age 17

It’s Senior Night, a few nights before graduation, when the kids got all dressed up in their prom dresses and suits and the school recognizes all the students for their achievements, scholarships and all sorts of whatnot. I’m called up to the stage for something (come on, I’ve slept since then), and as I step onto the stage, in front of my classmates and their families, my shoe flies off and I stumble nearly falling. Come on, you have to go out in style.

Age 18

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and I’ve just lost my job. I’m depressed and decide to seek solace by feeding Bandit, our wubbable black Lab. As I stepped off the porch and onto the sidewalk, things made my day go from pretty damn bad to flippin’ awful. I somehow manage to fall off the sidewalk, tearing EVERY SINGLE tendon in my poor ankle. Yup, I’m that good.

Age 20

Had a little run-in with a treadmill.

My friend and I went to the gym at our university to work out our school stress. I plugged in my Discman (it feels so weird typing that), turned up the treadmill and started running. I thought listening to Backstreet Boys was a great idea, but in retrospect, it was not, and not just because the band was a boy band.

I started dancing to “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”, just the hand movements. But then I got a little too into the song.

As my feet started dancing, my foot stepped off the treadmill. I shot off that machine like a broken rubberband and landed across the room, doing the splits on the floor.

The entire football team, who just happened to be practicing behind us, laughed so hard.

Age 21

I had just started at UTSA, and Suzie and I were walking down from the second floor of the University Center. I had on these really cute, but really high heels, and wouldn’t you know it, my heel caught on the step. I fell down an entire flight of stairs in front of EVERYONE. Luckily, I only scraped up my right shin and slightly bruised my entire body.

Age 22

This is one of THE best stories. Suzie and I were hosting our first-ever Ladies Lunch Out events, and we went rushing out of our judicial meeting. As we ran across the lobby at Chisholm Hall, I stubbed the toe of my sandal and slid face-first across the carpet. As I stopped, I realized my skirt was up over my head, showing off my tightie-whities to EVERYONE in the office. Seriously, who wouldn’t laugh after flashing an entire office?

Age 24

I’m back in Missouri, stuck with my mom and her boyfriend. In the garage, which the laundry room was in, Mom’s boyfriend and his friends were hanging out pretending to work on the clutch of my car. I walked down the stairs with my laundry, when all of a sudden, my legs flew out from underneath me.

I wouldn’t have minded so much, as I’ve slid butt-first down many a flight of stairs, but suddenly it began raining Mindy’s undies. Bras and panties were everywhere. Fortunately, Mom saved my embarrassment by rushing over, telling me to go upstairs and lie down while she finished my laundry. I should do that more often to get out of household chores!

Age 26

Yet another case of when laundry attacks. Mom and I were in a different house that had the world’s most dangerous basement steps. Not only were they incredibly steep with incredibly narrow steps, but they were covered in the plastic floor covering you tend to see lurking underneath desks in offices.

Walking down those treacherous stairs in my socks was probably the dumbest part of the equation, as it all but turned that floor covering into a skating rink. I slid down those stairs hard, leaving my body purple afterward.

Age 27

Mom and I had received our new trash container from the company that hauled our garbage away. At about 9 p.m., she asked me to bring it up alongside the house. Of course, I complied, because I needed to stretch my legs…and you can’t tell my mother no unless you have a death wish. I put on my flip-flops and headed outside.

I pulled the container up to the door, not fully paying attention to the path I was taking. And so it is only fitting I fell into the black bog of stinkiness the decorative pond in front of the house.

My foot stepped behind me, and it just kept going and going. I thought a black hole had suddenly opened up in front of the house – that or that one of my nieces had successfully dug a hole to China. I kept falling backward until I realized that my foot was now soaking wet and covered in a goo that was once water and leaves.

The sad part about falling into the pond was that my uncle had done it three times in the week preceding my fall into it. I laughed so hard at him. Thank you, Karma.

Age 28

You know you’re going to have an awesome day when you fall face-first out of bed.

At the bright and early time of 5:20 a.m., when NPR began spewing forth from my alarm, I shot up on one arm and reached over to turn it off. I seriously misjudged the angle at which I needed to lean, and the next thing I know, I fell face-first onto the floor. My alarm clock shot off my nightstand, as did the remote to my TV, DVD player and my iPod radio. Somehow, on the way down, I managed to jam my wrist, and I smashed my left shoulder against the table. My knee whacked the floor rather hard. Poor Nevaeh shot out of the room, thinking I was going to squish her (smart kitty!).

So far, 30 has been kind. But it’s only a matter of time. My balance giving out is like a ticking time bomb laying in wait. It will happen, and until then, I can’t wait for my next trip.

A (Not So) Fairy Tale

Once upon a time in a land far, far away (that just happened to identically resemble Missouri), there lived a beautiful queen named Mindy. While beautiful and smart, though very modest, Mindy was cursed with a terrible (yet hilarious) affliction. The beautiful queen was accident-prone. So accident-prone was Mindy that all of the people throughout the far, far away land referred to her as the Queen of Klutz.

The Queen of Klutz was not always accident-prone. In her infancy, Queen Mindy seemed just like any other child. Sure, she fell down quite often or would spill things, but she did so at the same rate of all other children her age. Unfortunately, unlike the other children, Queen Mindy did not stop falling down or spilling things as the others did when they became accustomed to the world. In fact, she began falling down and spilling things with greater frequency.

But Queen Mindy did more than fall down or spill things. She fell up too. Mindy also fell in holes, broke things, and ran into obstacles, both real and imagined. She ran into doorways, tripped over thin air. She hurt herself with such great frequency that her most uttered word was “Ow!”

Queen Mindy’s injuries came with such a great frequency that her parents considered opening a hospital in the eastern wing of their castle. Merchants began stocking up on bandages, aspirin, and other medical wares that Mindy would prove great use of. That was until Queen Mindy had a slight setback.

Queen Mindy went into the royal physician’s office for a flu shot. Everything seemed fine until she later removed the bandage covering the spot where she had been jabbed. Queen Mindy found herself looking at the perfect shape of a band aid on her arm. Confused, she looked first at the band aid in her hand, then again at her arm. She reached out a curious finger, feeling the raised, slightly bumpy skin – it was hives! A set of hives in the perfect shape of the band aid Queen Mindy now realized she was allergic to. But how was she to dress her many and varied wounds? Thank thy Lord for hypoallergenic band aids!

As she grew, Queen Mindy learned other things about herself. For instance, Queen Mindy soon came to realize that she was so incredibly accident-prone that, even when trying to prove that she was not so bad, she inevitably proved herself wrong and her friends right.

She learned this, of course, the hard way. After swearing to a group of others that she could indeed walk and chew gum, Queen Mindy promptly fell out of the carriage in which she had been sitting, much to her friends’ delight and her own chagrin.

Queen Mindy did come to embrace her title, relishing it in fact. When she fell, she would laugh. When she accidentally ruined the top tier of her sister’s wedding cake, she realized that accidents happen. When she slid down a flight of stairs, throwing her undergarments all about as several men looked on, she realized that it could have been worse (somehow). When she had a cat crawl up her face, she knew that it would make a great story to tell later.

Besides, it made Queen Mindy a heck of a lot more interesting than that Sleeping Beauty chick.