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A Love Letter to My Feet

I’ve never had pretty feet. Instead of the cutesy potato-like feet that some women have, I’m stuck with these long-toed weird looking things at the end of my legs. It may seem like a strange thing to be insecure about, but for a long time I was slightly embarrassed about my feet. However, one day I had an epiphany that changed not only how I viewed my feet, but also how I saw my body as a whole. But before I delve into what exactly that epiphany was, I’d like to go back to the events in my life leading up to this realization.

I was a fat kid. From about 4th grade to 6th grade I was really chubby. It didn’t take long for me to pick up on the fact that this was considered a bad thing in society. The word “fat” slowly became the worst thing I thought you could be called. As I went into middle school, I slowly began to despise myself more and more for looking the way I did. I started exercising every day and depriving myself of anything not considered healthy.

Although these could have been good things to do, I took them to ridiculous extremes. I let my hate of myself motivate me. I’d look in the mirror and memorize my flaws to use as ammunition against myself later. I saw hunger as an enemy that could be destroyed if only I deprived myself enough. Even though I did lose a lot of weight, my body image was a mess. For example, I actually remember feeling “fat” in this picture:

The biggest turning point in my twisted thinking was when I went on my first backpacking trip when I was 14. One night, I tried skipping dinner because I didn’t feel that hungry. That lasted about two seconds before the leader of the group scolded me and explained that I needed to eat because I would need the energy for the hiking we would be doing the next day. 

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, that trip was a turning point in my life for so many things (and that backpacking program would go on to shape my life in many ways). In the case of body image, it planted the idea of food as fuel rather an as an enemy.

However, this was a slow transition. It wasn’t until high school that I had the foot epiphany. While I was in dance class one day, a “friend” was making fun of my feet. Suddenly I realized how much I didn’t care. I realized that the only reason I could do many of the things I loved, like dancing and backpacking, was because of my feet. 

I soon started thinking about everything I didn’t like about myself in this context. Now when I notice something I dislike about my body, I now try to think of something positive it does for me. I’m not perfect, but because I have this body, I can do everything I love. I still struggle sometimes, but I don’t use self-hate to motivate myself to be healthier, and I try to accept the things I can’t change about myself.

So try to take care of yourself, but don’t let hate motivate you. There are some things you can’t change (like your feet), and that’s OK— accept them. Love yourself; love your body, and keep doing the things you love.

And now, here’s a love letter to my feet:

Dear Feet,

Thank you for everything you do. Thanks for letting me hike so many miles and for being with me through every dance I’ve ever done. Thanks for not falling apart, even though I put you through a lot. (I trip a lot, so it’s kind of a miracle that I haven’t broken any toes yet.) Thanks for being with me every step of the way. You are my most prized possessions, and I am lucky to have you.


Andrea Gallier is a Journalism major and Dance minor at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Her passions include: dancing, traveling, hiking, backpacking, camping, The Walking Dead, and (of course) writing. Andrea sailed with Semester at Sea in Spring 2016 and is an aspiring travel writer. She has also worked as a contributing writer at The Pine Log at SFA and is a member of Dimensions Contemporary Ballet, a dance company in Nacogdoches. Website: http://andreagallier.wixsite.com/portfolio Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat: @andreagallier
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