To be fair, I know I’m a clutz – I always have been. It’s what happens when you grow too tall too fast, and your momentum can’t keep up with the size. At my tallest (at 46 I’ve noticed I’m starting to shrink a bit – or “settle,” as my Great Aunt Bev would say) I was an even 6’0″ – and I hit that at age 12. My feet grew pretty quickly, too – from the time I was 5 to the time I was 12 my age and my shoe size were the same number. I used to worry as a child what my feet would look like when I turned 30.
When I was a teenager my mom thought she could help by sending me to modeling classes. I could re-learn how to walk, she thought, and pick up some other tips along the way. It worked, sort of. I did learn to walk with my head up, shoulders back, and with confidence. I learned to appreciate the natural look rather than the over-makeup’ed look. And I got to do a few runway shows and photo shoots.
But I still ran into things. I still fell. I still got bruises and scratches and cuts and scrapes.
I was still me.
Which brings me to this week, and my discovery that some things I thought were normal just … aren’t.
Things like broken toes.
I broke my pinky toe Friday night. It wasn’t the first time, so I didn’t think too much of it. I mean, it hurt – a lot – but there’s really nothing you can do for a broken pinky toe other than tape it up and let it heal on its own. So that’s what I did.
Before you jump to conclusions – you know who you are – I was completely sober. OK, I had one beer with dinner, but that was a few hours earlier. I was changing into my pajamas and was uber tired and you know when you get so darned tired and you just can’t get your foot out of your yoga pants (OK, maybe those of you with normal-sized feet don’t have this problem) and the more it won’t come out the more frustrated you get, so you just shake it harder and harder, and it keeps not coming out? Finally I’m shaking and kicking really hard and I kick my bed – and my pinky toe got stuck between the box springs and the bed frame. The toe instantly turned several shades of pink, red and purple, swelled to double the size and hurt. like. hell.
I cried and yelled and laughed and cried and my daughter, who was home from college, came running in to see what happened. When I showed her my toe she stopped, looked at it, and simply said, “Again?”
So, yeah. This wasn’t the first time.
And I thought everybody broke their little toes. My now-ex-husband did it a few times, once shortly after we were married when he was trying to lift the garage door at the old farmhouse we rented, and it was frozen to the ground. He thought – wrongly – that getting mad and kicking it would solve the problem. The door didn’t budge, but his toe swelled and turned all sorts of great holiday colors.
My brother has had broken pinky toes. Both of my parents have, at various times, had broken pinky toes. It’s just a thing. It happens. The little toes are tiny, they’re fragile. And they’re down on the ground where anything can happen to them.
Because I’d broken my toe so many times before, I was actually getting around pretty well by Saturday night and Sunday, and started getting ready for work on Monday morning. Then, in the shower, I went to put my foot up on the ledge so I could shave my leg, and – you guessed it – I slammed that toe right into the tub wall.
I collapsed. I cried – no laughter this time, just tears. The dogs came running in – I swear they looked at my toe and thought, “Again?” and left – and I sent a note to work letting them know I was incapacitated and would be working from home.
The next day my concerned coworkers asked about my foot. I started to explain and I said, “You know, it’s a broken toe. It happens all the time!”
They all just looked at me. Then at each other. Then back at me.
Apparently none of them have ever broken a toe. So I went about on a mission to see who around me had never broken a toe. I couldn’t find anyone all day who had ever broken a toe.
I could have sworn it was normal.