Learning how to walk again

As I minimise my items (and declutter…and declutter again) I’m realising that the trick isn’t to have the fewest number of things. It’s to have the correct amount of the best items. ‘Best’ a few months ago would have meant the most fashionable, but now it means the most useful. Things are changing around here.

And so I bought my first pair of barefoot shoes, hoping that they would replace several of my ballet flats that rub the wrong way. The website where I bought them encourages a slow introduction, weaning off of heeled shoes gradually so that feet can rebuild their strength. I’ll still be taking my dogs for a walk in my wellies for the time being, but all of my extra-curricular walks have been in the barefoot shoes.

The first day, I had some discomfort in my right ankle. Afterwards, I went to our stairs and stretched it out in the way I used to when I ran, and it felt better. The next day, I experienced the same again. I started to pay attention to my feet as I walked, trying to learn where I was going wrong. Maybe I’d spent so much time learning how to walk in stilettos that I forgot how to walk naturally.

All this obsessing over walking styles brought me back to a memory. When I was in primary school, we had a couple of teachers who would examine the way we walked and call us out if they thought we were doing it wrong. But since then, I’ve never seen a child walk ‘incorrectly.’ It’s made me think that all of the time we were being coached and moulded into walking (or running) a certain way, we were probably doing it wrong. Or rather, in opposition to nature. This sort of conformist walk might leave us with sore joints, even if it does give us some private school swagger. And so, in an undramatic way, I’m learning to walk again.

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