Open Letter: Damaged.

 
 

I debated on whether or not to share this. It’s always on my mind. Sometimes, I wonder if others can see it. I wonder if they know and just don’t want to say. I feel like I’m constantly hiding. Hiding myself, from myself. I try to push it away, but it’ll always be there. The other day while lying down meditating, a thought came to me out of the blue. I let it flow freely through my mind without hesitation. It told me everything I needed to hear and needed to believe. “You are not damaged.”

I was born with a condition called clubfoot. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Clubfoot describes a range of foot abnormalities usually present at birth in which your baby's foot is twisted out of shape or position.” For me, clubfoot affected both feet. From a baby up until about second grade, I was in and out of the hospital for surgeries, doctors appointments, and physical therapy. I remember the surgery I had in second grade vividly: the doctors putting me under to start, X-rays, the pain of having the cast taken off and metal rods being pulled from my foot, having to bare through the pain of walking with open wounds, dreading having to get the bandages changed because I knew it would hurt…though at some point my mom did master it. The pain. Something that carried with me through life.

 
 
 
 

It was always the little things that I wish I could do now and growing up such as being able to walk barefoot without stares or questions or going over to a non-relative’s house and hoping that I don’t have to take my shoes off.  I always feared what others would think, but none of the things that anyone could have possibly said could be worse than those I would tell myself. 

 
 

Swimming. I feared taking swimming in high school because I was forced to be around my peers barefoot. I was more afraid of this than swimming itself. Buying shoes. I dreaded shoe shopping because none of the shoes ever fit. We were always excited when we finally found that one and hoped that it would never be discontinued. I’ve finally accepted that I will never be able to wear high heels, sandals, or any other dainty shoes that many women wear on a daily. It’s sounds small to some, but it’s a daily reminder for me.

In the summer, I wear pants to helps cover the scars and my ankles and socks to cover the ones the cover my feet. I wear Crocs because sometimes, it’s the only shoe that fits. Would I change any of this? No. Thinking where my life is thus far, I’m forever thankful to my parents for their love, support, and diligence to making sure that this condition didn’t affect my quality of life. I realize that because I’ve dealt with clubfoot my entire life, it doesn’t mean that I am damaged. It doesn’t mean that I’m unworthy of anything. It means that I’ve been through some tough shit and got the scars to prove it! ;)

 

xo, 

Ryan