Friday, March 15, 2013

Are You Laughing at My Shoes?

When I was a kid, I had the audacity to be less financially well off than my peers, and as a result I often wore the wrong brands of clothing to school.

In sixth grade, I had on my newly purchased Trax shoes, and some of the other kids started poking fun at them and by extension me. I had no idea that Trax was an unacceptable brand to wear to school, but apparently there was some unwritten rule that I had not figured out yet about wearing the same brand clothing as everyone else. 
You will be assimilated.
I learned to either get the right brands, or somehow hide the fact that my "Jams" were not "Original Jams", but were in fact made by my mother. I was very sensitive to ridicule. I'm not sure if my sensitivity was a result of being picked on, or if being picked on was a result of my sensitivity.

I'm still not over that sensitivity, but lately I've discovered something about being an adult.

A lot of people never got over that need to make fun of something different from their way of doing things.

Case in point, I like Vibram Five Fingers shoes. It amazes me how many grown adults feel the need to make fun of my shoes. "You've got monkey feet." "Look, he's got webbed toes." "Do you need me to buy you some real shoes?" "Those are too ugly to wear." "I can't believe you've bought in to that barefoot running thing."

The list goes on and on and on. . .

Sure I can make good natured responses. "Actually they are shaped like people feet. I couldn't wear these shoes if I had webbed toes. I'll let you buy me another pair of these, they're pricey. You should see my feet without them. You might not have noticed, but I'm not barefoot." 

I've had plenty of practice shrugging it off, but it is a weakness of mine that I take criticism pretty hard.

So, geez people grow up and stop making fun of my shoes! Are we back in sixth grade or what?

It boils down to this. You can put whatever you want on your feet, you can run in whatever shoe makes it most enjoyable for you, but not everyone is going to do it your way. Let the slow runners be slow, let the VFF wearers wear their toe shoes, let the Brooks Cascadia wearers wear their shoes. Let the guy in the toga tied Xero shoes do his thing too. We are all on this planet together, let's make it pleasant for one another.