My 'one' day without shoes : From M.E. to you
By Megan Howe | Back in April, people worldwide took off their shoes to spread awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life. One full day to walk around with bare feet? I instantly wanted to participate and when informing my friends of this plan, the most common response I received was “I can totally do that, I go barefoot all the time”, so obviously they were up for the challenge too!
Going without shoes for one day does sound easy, right?
Yeah, that’s what I thought too… Until I stepped outside my house, before the sun had risen, on a chilly Tuesday morning in April. My toes hit the brick steps, I looked out into my yard, and the first thought that popped into my head was, “Holy crow, why didn’t I remind myself that my entire backyard is covered in pine mulch… That will NOT feel good on my freezing cold, bare feet.”
I’ll be honest, I contemplated giving up, grabbing my flip flops, and skipping out on the shoeless day.
Feeling guilty for even thinking of giving up before I had put forth any effort, I chose to continue with the day as I had planned, which began with a barefoot pack walk with my good friend and fellow yogi, Brittney Gosselin-Hiller.
(Yes, this too sounded easy as a cake walk, when discussed on Monday…)
With bare feet, I stepped off the porch, leashed up my pack, and off we went. The mulch was not nearly as bad as I had imagined and, as expected, the grass felt soft and comforting. The pack and I arrived at the gravel road and I immediately felt another mini attack of panic come over me. I stopped, took a few deep breaths, and walked on. My first few steps felt so uncomfortable, I actually laughed out loud at how awkward I must have looked slowly walking away from my house.
With each step I took, I could feel myself literally walking out of my comfort zone into a new territory. I quickly learned my way of the road. Ironically, I found myself walking the yellow painted lines and laughed at where my newfound freedom had lead me. Here I was, free to walk wherever I desired and I chose to walk the painted line, out of a desire to protect my feet. I couldn’t help but think about the millions of children whose reality includes bare foot walks, every single day. With a new awareness, I kept walking.
About 20 minutes later, my pack and I arrived at the studio to meet up with Brittney. We walked for almost 2 hours, around the downtown Beaufort area. Though we could feel every single thing we stepped on, each step felt easier than the first, I assume because at this point our feet were very close to being numb.
Our pack walk was such a humbling experience and it lead to an even more rewarding day. I experienced both physical and psychological discomfort during this one day with no shoes. While walking I couldn’t help but think about all the places I wouldn’t be allowed to enter without wearing shoes. I wondered what would happen if I were to walk in a government building or a grocery store with no shoes on? How would people react? There were moments when I felt insecure about having no shoes on, but out of the insecurity I found comfort. Comfort in knowing we were helping spread awareness about an issue that is bigger than each of us. Together, as we walked, Brittney and I were being the change we want to see in the world and knowing we were making a difference with our actions, and it left us feeling very empowered.
There was at least one store that Brittney and I knew we could enter without issue, Higher Ground Outfitters.
With this much local support, look for next year’s One Day Without Shoes to be even better, and even bigger.