Thursday, April 25, 2013


This is my Word Meditation Essay that I wrote for English. I won $50 with it and it will also be published in "Voices on Stage and in Print" for next semesters 2010 students to read and discuss in their classes.
The purpose of this essay was to pick one word that meant something to us and to describe different "scenes" throughout our life that incorporated this word.
I grew up with many insecurities about myself, and this essay discusses those insecurities and getting over them. 
It's a bit personal, but I'm also a bit proud of it. Thanks for reading <3

“Podophobia: irrational fear of feet. People suffering from this feel afraid or even disgusted by other people’s feet, or their own. They may even fear other people touching their feet. Phobic individuals generally do not like the appearance or feel of feet and find them as being gross and unsightly” (Phobia and Fear of Feet).
I am in 6th grade at my best friend’s house. School is over for the day and we lay on the floor in her dining room. Centered between the walls, a smooth, dark, wood table that seems small in comparison to the size of the room, sits and we lay underneath it staring at the woodworking and screws below the tabletop. My arms and legs feel itchy from the green shag carpet that rubs against them. I have ankle high, candy-cane striped socks on. I always have socks on.
“I love your socks!” Sarah breaks the silence. I thank her for the compliment and then sheepishly tuck my feet behind me. “Where did you get them?” It begins. She is really good at asking questions.
                  “They were a Christmas present from my grandma” I reply, still feeling timid about the subject because she’s gazing at my feet while I talk.
                  She looks over at my face, twisting her body into a weird shape because we are still lying under the table, and asks another question. “How is your grandma doing?” She seems super intent. Sarah knew that my grandma was going into surgery the day before, however I never told her what for. That’s kind of her to remember.
                  “She’s doing much better! The surgery went well, she just can’t walk for a few more days”.
“Oh, was the surgery on her feet? What is your deal with feet anyways?” Bam. Sarah always knew how to get me to tell my secrets. But she is my best friend; I trust her and can talk to her about anything – even hard things.
I noticed a ticking coming from the grandfather clock at the end of the dining room. I begin to answer her question, staring at the bottom of the table the entire time and grasping the chair leg next to my hip for support.
My mom’s family has always had feet problems. My grandma went into surgery to fix her toes that were beginning to form into abnormal shapes. My mom has weird bunions. My three brothers’ feet are fine. And me? Well I truly have the best looking feet out of all of them. They’re actually pretty normal- at least my right foot is.
When still in my mother’s womb, my parents went in for an ultra-sound and the image revealed me sucking on my left foot. When I was born, my father noticed first off that my left foot was a little rougher than my right. It was nothing to be concerned about, the doctors weren’t worried at all, it was just a birthmark per say. A birthmark that has never gone away. Although my feet look okay, I have always hated them. I hate people talking about them, people looking at them, touching them and I definitely hate other people’s feet next to me. I even hate the word feet. It rhymes with the most disgusting vegetable on the planet.
After I told Sarah all this, she started to laugh. I, being so startled, swiftly sit up to glare at her and bonk my head on the table forcing me to lie back down. We both start to giggle, and they are deep giggles that come right from the chest.
For another hour, we lay there and talk about how much we despise feet. Nubby little toes, smelly shoes, and the dirt and mud that they constantly come into contact with. They can be quite disgusting. I know that Sarah is my best friend for a reason. She understands my insecurities with feet and she herself might also have some problems with them.
 “Foot: a unit of length, originally derived from the length of the human foot. It is divided into 12 inches.” The length of a foot is believed to have originally derived from the Greeks as their fundamental unit of measurement. Legend has it that this Greek unit was based on an actual dimension of the foot of the mortal son of Zeus, Hercules. (History of Measuremet).
I am in 8th grade on a family vacation in New York City. My parents and I leave our hotel and instantly become submerged into the continually crowded city streets. Black is everywhere. Black slacks, black doors, black windows, black coats, and black snow underneath the masses of black shoes. We shuffle along the sidewalks like a machine belt in a factory. Turn left, turn right, stop, go. The people of NYC are all so focused and everyone’s faces are completely blank except for their matching rosy cheeks caused by the below-freezing temperatures. I plainly smell the profane odor from the sewer that sneaks up through the cracks in the street.
We turn another corner and I suddenly stop. The black sea continues its pace, and from above I look like a knot in the bark of a tree; staying stationary while the grain moves around me. I look up and see the Empire State Building for the first time. The power and stability of the imperial skyscraper encompasses me and I find myself sharply drawing the frozen air into my lungs. It’s 1,454 feet tall.
I am 6 feet tall. Compared to the Empire State Building, I am just a single droplet in that black sea of people. For what feels like the first time in my life, I actually blend in and feel comfortable. My height no longer feels like a big deal.
My parents and I continue to shuffle with the crowd straight towards the entrance of the tower. I glide through the revolving door and feel my ears and nose tingle and burn from the sudden shock of the difference in temperatures. While thawing out, I find I am drawn to many different signs around the lobby. These signs give a history about the building and the information on one of the signs in particular stood out to me.
“Americans built the Empire State Building to hold the record of the tallest building in the world. Its structure and design allowed the Empire State Building to be a symbol of confidence towards the American People.”
Confidence. This was something I always lacked. My height always caused me to be the first one noticed in any situation, never feeling comfortable in my own skin. Comparing me to a group of kids my age, I was always the “Empire State Building” towering high above all their heads. Except after reading this sign, I didn’t feel like the Empire State Building at all. It was a structure that stood fearless and valiant and it had something that I, all of a sudden, envied.
Dancers need to develop many different muscles and become familiar with all different parts of their bodies in order to avoid injury and succeed in their field. Out of all their dance features, they have always been know for their feet. Over 50% of a dancer’s injuries occur in the lower extremities. “The foot/ankle area is vulnerable to a wide range of injuries, including stress fractures, tendon injuries, sprains, and strains” (Sports Safety). Stretching, massaging, and finding ways to strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the foot are some of the best ways to avoid injury.
I’m in 11th grade sitting on the floor of my second home, the dance studio in my high school. I spend more time in this building than I do in my real home. The studio is hot and sweaty and the mirrors on the wall are fogging up from the moisture and energy that is distributing itself throughout. I curl my legs in front of me, and go in search of my bear claws that, of course, always end up in the very bottom of my navy blue duffle. I find one of them; it’s for my right foot. I slip it on easily and then dive back in to find the other.
“Alright, everyone up! Hurry hurry hurry!” My coach shouts. Our water break ends and we need to get up to begin again. I find my second one and slip it on my left foot, feeling my calluses and dry skin scratch against the fabric of the claw.
I jump up and jog onto the smooth wood-planked dance floor and head to the rear of the room. I always stand in the back of the formation because of my height, but I don’t mind because I get nervous being front and center. The music starts to blare as I take my first position and wait for my cue in the beat of the song. The rush of cool air from the AC hits the entire backside of my body and sends a chill up my spine.  I dance.
Twenty-three other bodies travel around me, moving in sync with me like a wave in the ocean. We have practiced over and over again and by now I know the choreography by heart. Being so aware of my teammates around me, I don’t need to see where I’m going. I close my eyes and I let go. I let go of everything; my fears, my hopes and dreams, my worries, and my insecurities. I forget about the past and don’t even think to worry about the future. I get lost in the music and feel the rhythm happening at this very moment pulsate throughout every muscle. Tightening, squeezing, and flowing, my hands pull forward and stretch until I feel that my skin will rip.
And my feet. My feet and the dance floor are like a married couple. So familiar with each other that they know where they both will be before they get there, supporting and strengthening each other along the way. I stomp, sneak, and slide them across their other half.
The music stops and I freeze, gasping for cool air, but all that enters is the warm and moist. It melts my muscles allowing them to relax as I slowly move back to a neutral position. My heart still beats with the music’s rhythm that plays in my memory. My hands and feet tingle, but it’s comfortable and satisfying.
“Good job everyone! That was so much better than last time. Megan, that is the best that I have ever seen you do! Beautiful! I’m so impressed! Now that I know what you can do, you better keep it up.” My intimidating coach tells me. She can be really harsh, but I know she is genuine.
A huge smile spreads across my wet face. Apparently the routine not only looked good, but it felt good.
Footsie: A common and flirtatious practice done by clandestinely touching someone's foot or leg. Generally the two people must feel comfortable around each other and comfortable enough with themselves to feel good in following this practice (Psychology Today).
I am a freshman in college at my boyfriend’s house. We sit on the oversize leather couch in his upstairs living room. On the wall right next to us a huge bay window shows the view of the hay field in front of his house. The sun is setting for the day and the light warms our faces and causes a rainbow of shadows within the room. I place my covered feet on the ottoman right next to his bare feet.
“How are you doing?” he asks me in that smooth, deep voice that I love so much.
Rather than just the immediate response, “I’m good” that one usually receives as an answer, I pause to truly evaluate how I’m feeling. The corners of my cheeks begin to rise as I turn to look in his eyes, “I’m really happy”. He puts his arm around me and I cuddle into his warm embrace.
His foot then reaches over to touch mine, and I don’t shudder.

Works Cited

"Become an Advocate for Sports Safety." Dance Injuries. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2013.
Brewer, Jennifer. "Developing Foot Strength | Dance Teacher Magazine | Practical. Nurturing. Motivating. The Voice of Dance Educators." Dance Teacher Magazine Developing Foot Strength Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2013.
"Flirting Fascination." Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness Find a Therapist. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2013.
Joanne. "History Of Measurement." History Of Measurement. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2013.
"Phobia and Fear of Feet." FEAR. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2013.

Please comment! I enjoy feedback:)

Sincerely, Meg

1 comment:

  1. Holy Crap Meg. You seriously deserved that 50 bucks! You have a beautiful gift for writing. :) LOVED IT! And we all know I hate my Feet too! :)