My Bunion and what it taught me.
First of all…was the bunion named after Paul Bunion? Does anyone know the answer to that?
I am an expert in what it feels like to have a bunion as I have had one for 15 years.
I never knew I had a bunion until a friend of mine who happens to be a plastic surgeon looked at my foot one day and said, “Oh MY! How long have you had that?” “What?” I asked…
When he pointed out my “deformed” foot I was in shock. How could I not have noticed my problem? Then my yoga teacher noticed it and focused on teaching me exercises on how to help my bunion. Frankly I had no desire to do this as I had no sympathy for my bunion. Apparently it was unsightly and it was causing all of my very expensive Christian Louboutin’s to be uncomfortable. I spent a bit of time each night trying to straighten it out along with trying to flatten my hammer toe.
None of these attempts were very successful and in the long run I grew accustomed to my bunion. Until the other day, that is.
I was at a friend’s house and it was a “take your shoes off “house which, thank God, only happens in California. I had taken off my right shoe and was working on my left when the child of the house who was standing next to me asked, “What is the matter with your foot?”
I swear, until that time I had been willing to overlook my bunion. It rarely caused me pain, it seemed fairly normal to me, and I just assumed the yoga teacher and the plastic surgeon were focused on symmetry and perfection.
Coming from the mouth of a child, however, I knew my foot must look weird.
All at once my world has changed. I am reluctant to wear sandals or go barefoot. I don’t wear the shoes I used to that I think now show my “deformity” too much. I am now really angry with my foot. You see, it is my second deformity. I also have scoliosis and never and I mean never walk away from anyone wearing a swimsuit. If I did I know they would also know about my major curve.
Basically for the past few weeks I have been whining to myself about my bunion. This whining has lead me to other imperfections in life that some of us have. Like cancer, for example. Imperfections, you may ask? Why use that word?
I use it because I think that’s how we secretly look at any human being with any type of disability at all. From bunions to cancer, we want to be perfect and if we find we are less than perfect there is a bit of embarrassment , an almost shame, that we feel. It is so interesting to me how I came to this point.
I have a friend who has just had bunion surgery and has enormous pain right now. She had to have the surgery as she could barely walk. Sometimes at night I think of the doctor performing the surgery, wielding a giant hammer on that hammer toe, smashing it down, placing a pin in it, believing it will all grow back perfectly and be symmetrical again. This frightens me. I also feel frightened if I imagine getting sick with cancer and how I know I would feel as if I didn’t want anyone to know. I can’t be less than symmetrical, myself.
Life is so fragile: the constant unfolding of layers and the dropping of disguises. The process of understanding where you fit and what you stand for. Many of us have bunions. Many of us get cancer. Many of us have other issues that also make us fragile in life.
Loneliness, for one. I don’t really have a conclusion here. Just a commentary on bunions, an ordinary part of life and a wish that we could allow ourselves and everyone else to be less than perfect.