“My Big Feet,” New Era, Nov. 2006, 24–25
I learned early in life that some things are just out of your control. Take my feet, for example. By the time I was 14 years old, they had become a whopping size 12—that’s in inches. Each foot was literally a foot long! For some reason, probably because I was insecure, I was terribly embarrassed about them.
Try as I might, there wasn’t a single thing I could do to change the matter. There were plenty of diet and exercise programs to help people lose inches off their waists but none designed to take inches off their feet. So I was stuck with large feet. I felt my only option was to wait, watch, and hope they didn’t keep growing.
What’s so bad about big feet? Well, for boys, I think they’re normal and pretty much expected. For girls, it’s a little different. Most girls I know borrow shoes from their mom or their sisters. All I could do was borrow my dad’s, and they never did match any of my outfits.
Also, the world wasn’t designed for big-footed women. I felt awkward when I went bowling or skating with my friends because I had to get men’s shoes or skates. I didn’t want my friends to notice, so I would usually wait until they were putting their shoes or skates on before I got my own.
I sometimes wondered why I was destined to have such large feet. Then one day when I was having shoes “specially” ordered for my high school musical, a costume designer told me that my foot wasn’t really all that long; I just had really long, slender toes. I played the piano with my long, slender fingers. Maybe having long, slender toes wasn’t such a bad thing.
That comment was my big turnaround. I decided to take the designer’s observation as a compliment. I stopped seeing my feet as a huge, gargantuan, never-fitting-into-anything embarrassment. I began to see my feet in a whole new light—as something unique to me.
My grandma told me I inherited my feet from my tall ancestors. That made sense to me because I was pretty tall. Maybe my feet had to be longer to give me balance. The size of my feet was imbedded in my own personal genetic code, along with other traits like my skin, hair, and eye color.
As I began to move past embarrassment, I learned to love my feet. I figured I might as well because they would be mine for the rest of my life. They were my wonderful feet. Once I took ownership of that fact, things started to change. I no longer whispered my size when asking for rental shoes but boldly stated, “I need a size 10 in men’s, please”—even when I was on a date! If I received a questioning glance, I would simply add, “Oh, I have big feet.”
I can hardly call this a huge trial, for it pales in comparison to many other struggles in life. But I have learned a bit of a lesson from my feet. Everything in life is not in my control. Oh, I can plan and work hard to reach worthy goals and achieve personal dreams, but some things are pretty much out of my control. But there are two things I have complete and total control over in my life: my attitude and my behavior.
Now I try not to focus on all the things I can’t control. When something happens I can’t control, I instead focus on how I’m going to think and act. I’m not alone, either, because the Savior is always there. He knows me; He loves me; and He wants to help me!
So, when life takes a different road, remember you have control over what you’re going to do about it, even if it’s a little thing—or big thing—like feet.