I never find shoes my exact size. They are always either too small, too wide, or a bit bigger, but they never fit just right. Which has me thinking feet must live miserable lives. They are subjected to non-fitting shoes, raised to ridiculously large angles for days on end, or are forced into expensive leather shoes roaming the insides of banks hopping from one meeting to the other. Others even have to live through the horror of labeled socks from Monday to Monday. Can you imagine? The only life these feet will ever know, is the different colors of the days of the week. The only feet that are satisfied with their lives must be those that live by the beach. Those that get to be caressed by the sands of the coastal land and have salty water sweep over them frequently. Those feet must be happy, really. They most definitely have attained their true purpose in this our world.
Happiness is something I think about a lot. Probably because I don’t own it. Yet. I look at people in cafes, in class, in the streets of twitter fighting for causes they believe in (read feminism) and juicing humor out of grave subjects, and think is this what it looks like? Joy out of the paradoxes of life? Or is it just, perhaps, false felicities?
Back to our feet chronicles, there was that time God told Moses to remove his shoes, because he was standing on holy ground. Because something grandiose was about to happen. Or how we take off our shoes when we enter the mosque, because a connection is about to be made. Between a master and a slave. Heads will be put to rest on the ground, tears will be shed and The Lord will be worshiped. How did it all start? Shoes were taken off, feet were made happy. And from there, the great connection was built. Or what is happening right now, a future now, if accuracy is in order. Unless the time between writing and reading this is regarded as negligible. But I’m sending little, and grand, thoughts into your minds and it’s quite fulfilling. A connection is being made, some sort of intimate connection.
Stay with me, shall you?
I’m staring at this picture I have of my six year old self. A six year old behind a microphone reading ‘Goat Matata’ to my mother and the rest of the crowd. The picture was taken at Sarit Centre during a book fair. Before the age of the selfies. I don’t thrive in the selfie world, so this is definitely the best picture I have of myself. It feels intrepid, looks like heroism and has this tingling aroma of guts, and nerve.
Six years is a magical place to be. Your years on earth are still a single digit figure. At six years, you can not be anything else but who and what you are. You are not trying to look like anyone. You are beautiful because mom said so, and that’s all the assurance you need. Your fellow six-year-olds do not feel the need to make you feel ugly to add on to their own beauty. You are all happy six-year-olds, building sand houses and making juice out of pink flowers. At six, you are happy even if you don’t know it.
And then growing up happens. And growing up is ugly.
Your body is being shaped into different curves so you remain on the watch of whose curves are more curvy. You realize your eyebrows are too bushy. It will happen once that you find daddy’s shaving tools lying around. A voice will whisper, “Cut off those bushy eyebrows. You will look like the girls in the magazine.” You will listen, take that gilette razor and shave off the sides of your brows. This will eave you looking like a brow-less monkey. You fail to forget until today the day your science teacher was introducing the topic on adolescence because you believed your face is the perfect example of how pimples begin to develop. There is so much razzmatazz about how people’s looks going on that you fail to understand. There was only one rule that you knew of. Thou shall not be concerned with your beauty, child, just read, and you will be the fairest of them all.
Mothers words were golden, so you held on to them. Didn’t they know too? There was only one job that you were all supposed to be doing, getting smart. Reading books. That’s where all the beauty lay. But that wasn’t true for them, and it made you uncomfortable. Which will become a big part of the rest of your days as you continue to grow, the uncomfort. We can say that your esteem was in a pretty rocky place. You rarely use the mirrors, because the mirror fails to show your brains, which is all the beauty you were ever taught. You wonder if the mirror will learn how to look deeper when your older.
You become a social misfit with little to no friends. You feel rejected by your peers. You convince yourself that you hate your life, because you have no friends. You have a diary where you write all these things down, just like mother said to do. You don’t say much. You keep quiet a lot. Silence is your abode, you thrive in it. Anything involving that which contradicts silence in large doses is uncomfortable. And comfort is important. What happens when you don’t speak much usually, is that people can’t take silence. It’s a noisy world , largely. So people fill in your silences with their voices. It comes hailing at you in all directions. Shy. Sweet. Adorable. Introvert. Cute. Pretty. Weird. Awkward.
Don’t be shy! (Ah, that’s easy. A minute as I turn off my shy. Shy, could you go off please?)
Your so quiet! Why aren’t you talking? (I don’t feel the need to talk. I prefer to sit here and listen to the conversation and make judgments, all quietly. )
Gosh! (Don’t you just hate this word) You’re so weird! (I’m just trying to navigate my way towards a path of sanity and safety the best way I know how. )
You’re such an introvert. (Rolls eyes)
All these are rained upon you and before you know it you find yourself camouflaged in a cocktail of their perceptions until you begin to lose track of who you are, who you were before the noise, who you were in the silence. You make them believe who they say you are, it’s easier that way, after all.
You fail yourself. You fail the mother that got ripped at all her edges sharpening yours.
You were borne of a mother so strong and beautiful in perfect measure. Perfect in all her ways. She made sure you always went to bed with a book in hand, nourished you with rich literature from your early days. You hid this person beneath all these people’s comments. You stopped reading, which is very unhealthy for your brain, and the only beauty you once knew of.
You are reminded of how beautiful the you that read was. It wasn’t uncomfortable. You liked it there. It’s the only way the you that is knows how to live.
But now there’s something happening to you. It’s painful, like most good things are. Pleasurably painful. Like labor, or a revolution. Something is arising, something big like the word resplendent. You know for sure it will hurt before the magic breaks out. There will be blood, and tears, and more blood. Bones may break, minds shall be lost but sanity shall be chased. You embrace your ugly, and it looks beautiful. So now you wake up every other day hoping that it shall be, in the end. And when you read your book of life, you’ll turn the last page with tearful tears flowing onto the pages.
The grand baby is born. You discover happiness. You find your words! And with that, you are happy and satisfied, just like feet by the ocean.