Grieving the Old Me, Pt 1

I have always been full of energy and growing up my mom was smart to put me in all sorts of activities. One of my favorite activities was dancing. I was required to dance in heels and I learned how to dance, walk and do flips in heels. As long as I can remember, I've been in high heels and I had a huge collection like Imelda Marcos. 

When my rheumatoid arthritis advanced in my knees and feet, I was forced to take off my heels and look for alternative footwear. There was an awkward stage in my life with fashion choices because I was getting use to wearing flats. I had only one pair of flat shoes that was work appropriate so everything revolved around this one pair of shoes. Limited on funds for fun things, I had to hold out on buying new shoes because all my money was going to doctor appointments, acupuncture treatments, healthy food choices and vitamins.

It was hard to let go of wearing heels-for a long time, I felt that was part of my identity and that was being taken away from me. Vain as it may sound, but I felt less attractive, small and lost. Who was I now? How would I dress myself to express the person I really am? Am I really that vain that shoes are what define me and make me feel good?

Clearing out my closet of my heels was a mourning period for me; I was mourning the old me and preparing for a new me. I had a good cry fest over shoes, but with everything that comes with this disease, I wiped my tears and changed my perspective on the situation. I can sit here and feel sorry for myself or I can go online and shop for the cutest shoes for the best deal.

Now I have a safe amount of flat shoes where I can express myself while still having comfort and I feel cute. What have been things that you had to give up since your diagnosis? What has helped you mourn the old you? What’s the new you like? 

Aimee Matsumoto