Ah, to be young...

In our quest to figure out what the heck is really wrong with my skeleton, we’ve been seeing a lot of doctors and specialists lately, none of whom seem to really have answers, but they’re all like a team of detectives trying to figure me out, which is kind of fun! The latest of many theories is that the problem is not just in my hips, but also in my feet.

Apparently I stand with my feet pronated, or tilted inward, and that is a big no-no.

So on top of trying a new anti-inflammatory medication every morning, taking CBD oil, doing daily yoga, and eating an anti-inflammatory diet, my rheumatologist has assigned me with the task of getting orthopedic shoes. And, I feel like with good reason, I’m not thrilled about it.

Now, I’ve never been that hugely into my appearance. Like, my sisters have always had questions about any given outfit I’ve decided to wear, and I spent a lot of my childhood and teen years in my brother’s hand-me-downs, which was interesting because he’s a 6’8” and I am not, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve figured out and defined my look in a way. I definitely tend to opt for comfort and practicality over style, but I know I like color. My clothes are always covered in dog fur, because huskies, and I’m not a big shopper or trend follower (let alone a trend setter), but there are people who I look to for inspiration when I need to buy something or put together an outfit, and as far as I can tell, those people aren’t societal outcasts, so I’m probably doing okay. I’m also pretty into not wasting materials, so things don’t get refreshed in my closet all to often. I tend to sort of just buy or acquire stuff and wear it until it falls apart. In fact, while facetiming my sister the other day, she totally called me out for wearing a t-shirt that was hers in high school. She graduated in 2002.

So when it comes to shoes, I’m not that different. I go for basics and I wear them until they can’t be worn any longer. I’ve got my brown boots for the colder months, my Chuck Taylors for the warmer months, and one pair of brown sandals for the beach days. I think I also own a pair of running shoes from when I tried to run that one time, but I don’t know where they went.

Come to think of it, I’m actually surprised the Fab 5 from Netflix’s Queer Eye haven’t shown up at my door yet.

All of that being said, I know enough about style to know that orthopedic shoes are kind of a fashion death-sentence. There’s a reason a doctor has to tell us to wear them, right? They’re like the grapefruit for breakfast of footwear. Nobody wants it, but it’s good for you and your digestive health, so we sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top to make it tolerable and then get on with our day.

Of course it’s not just the look I’m worried about, but it’s what the look says. I already knit and crochet. I enjoy a nice, warm cup of tea in the evenings before I go to bed by 10pm. I read physical books and complain about my back multiple times a day. I don’t like gratuitous sex or violence in my television and I’m very sad that I don’t have a good space in my apartment to set up a jigsaw puzzle to work on throughout the year. I got very excited when our seed catalog arrived last month, AND I’M ACTIVELY WATCHING AN EPISODE OF THE GOLDEN GIRLS AS I WRITE THIS, so… I’m pretty sure that the minute I put on a pair of orthopedic shoes I will suddenly rip off my mask and reveal to the world that I am in fact the oldest of bitties in the blogosphere.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not trying to harp on the elderly. I just didn’t think I would be joining them quite yet! I mean, I’m not even thirty! I was supposed to have a few decades left before all of this really started happening.

It’s not just that the shoes aren’t my style (they don’t make orthopedic Chuck Taylors, I’ve looked), but they’re also damn expensive. Obviously, I could go the inserts route, and that is what I’m going to try first, but what if that’s not enough? What if my doctors end up saying “Sorry, toots, but you’re going to be spending over $100 on every pair of shoes for the rest of your life. And you won’t like a single one of them.”

Because that’s the thing, right? I know my style isn’t “stylish” according to the rest of the world, but it’s my style. I like it. When I walk out the door, I like to think that people can get an honest sense of who I am and what I’m like before I say “hello.” They can see that I like nerdy things from my graphic tees and that I’m an animal lover from the dog fur that is at this point just woven into the fibers of every article of clothing. They can see that I’m outdoorsy from my worn boots and artistic from the white converse that I’ve doodled all over with sharpies. And that’s what I want them to see. I’m not ready for them to see my joint pain or my spina bifida right away. I’m not ready for them to see an old lady before they meet a young woman.

And I know that these are just shoes and that I’m probably being dramatic and building it all up in my head, but if it’s orthopedic shoes today at 28-years-old, how long before it’s something more, like a cane or a walker? 35? 40? Can I push it until 50?

The truth is, of course, that there’s no way to know right now whether or not things will get worse, or if these shoes will prevent any further issues from one day developing. All I can do is trust the doctors and give it shot. Because if this works, then that’s a great thing, and maybe it’ll end there. So I’m not going to let these new shoes cramp my style. I’ll decorate them with sharpies and glitter. I’ll sprinkle them with sugar and get on with the rest of my day. And they will be fabulous.

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