My uncle always tells me that I have ‘very different’ feet. Not the beautiful, pretty and fragile kind of different, but the crooked, ugly and disfigured kind. He tells me that if I don’t do anything about this, people would start doubting my beauty after looking at my feet. And, every time he tells me that, I smile embarrassingly at him and look at my feet in disdain and at my uncle again who grimaces obnoxiously at my feet every time.
Then there are showers of suggestions like, “Why don’t you try wearing tighter shoes?” “You should probably start walking on your toes.” “Have you tried wrapping a tight cloth to your feet at home?” “A surgery might definitely help you get rid of the disfigured feet.” I try to carefully swallow those suggestions whole as I don’t want to miss any part of any word coming from his mouth while they crash right into my heart breaking it into a thousand pieces. Pieces, that would take years and years of self-love and confidence to mend themselves into one whole again.
While I’m figuring out how to process such suggestions in my head without going insane, my uncle is already throwing scares at me as if they were stones being thrown right into my face. “Big and ugly feet are considered inauspicious,” and “It would be slightly difficult for you to find yourself a groom.” “Ugly big feet bring bad luck to the household.” He might have said something more, but my ears had stopped listening by now and my eyes were stuck on my feet in utter disbelief.
God damn, they were ugly.
So I try to pay attention to every comment, every suggestion, every nudge and every whisper that this world has ever made against my feet. I gather all of them together and make notes. I am ashamed of having feet that don’t fit in the conventions of this world. My YouTube search history is filled with searches like, “How to get flawless looking feet in a week?” and “21 tips that can help your feet shrink.”
I hate every time someone gifts me nail paint because I have had enough of this mockery and I don’t wish to paint my toe nails. I probably hate recalling the times when I was a child and my parents had so much difficulty trying to find me the perfect shoe for my size. I probably also forgot that no matter how hard it got, they never gave up. They always ended up finding good enough footwear even though it wasn’t the perfect one to me. I probably also forgot the way they taught me that different does not mean ugly.