Great things happen to me when I’m barefoot.
Earth shakin’, money makin’, habit breakin’ kind of things happen when I’m barefoot.
I made the decision to drop out of university and take a sabbatical in Paris while barefoot (I was in a yoga class). I met the man I am currently romantically entangled with whilst barefoot, and oddly enough, waiting to take a yoga class. And the recent vote to move to the west coast was unanimously decided upon while barefoot on a beach in Victoria.
My plan to start taking everything as a compliment also happened while I was barefoot. Naturally. This time I was walking in Sequim, Washington with my romantic entangler and two new friends. It was one of these friends who granted me this light bulb moment. A moment of ‘holy shit that makes SO MUCH SENSE’ (I hope he takes my use of caps as a compliment).
Here I am a few weeks later and it’s all a compliment. All of it. I ditched being offended and over-analyzing. Man, it took me long enough. Years ago, when barefoot realizations weren’t yet a thing, I had to grow up fast. Dealing with people’s drama became a task I was habituated to around the time I was learning to tie my shoes. And since I’ve never enjoyed multitasking, this is likely why I’m still barefoot (how’s that for a barefoot realization?). Anyways, I got pretty good at cleaning up bullshit and learning to toss it out of the way. But, being a wee child, sometimes it got a little messy. No matter how well I washed my hands, some shit would still get stuck under my fingernails. This left me with a few self-deprecating tendencies and an annoying penchant for approval. I took criticisms, put-downs, and critiques as instigators for change. Believing that what was being projected towards me, was in fact, the truth and I needed to adapt to the perceptions of others. Oh, and not to overlook my own alerted personal awareness.
Kafka said it best: “There is only one thing certain. That is one’s own inadequacy.”
These constant criticisms aren’t even creative. Especially the harmful thought-vomit that we regurgitate to ourselves. So here is my response. When I’m standing naked in front of the mirror looking at some flabby bits, or laying in bed doubting all of the decisions I made in grade 3. A quick riposte that has been profoundly impactful:
"I’ll take that as a compliment, thank you."
All of it.
Every snide remark, every creepy glance, every fault-finding in-law, every shitty driver, every mansplainer, all of it. There is no point in getting upset with all the stupid things people are going to say or do. Smile, give 'em a high-five, take off your shoes, and roll on.