How can you walk in those things?

Here’s a crazy thing.

I think high heels might be killing me.

Let me explain.

For the past month or so, I’ve been having some problems when running – stiff hips, niggling knee problems, and tight calves.

I couldn’t understand what the heck was going on with me, as I have never, ever had any issues with my body – no matter how hard I’ve been training.

You name it – I can withstand it. I have been competing at a high performance level (whether it be dance, track, badminton, or volleyball) since I was seven years old and I have never once suffered a major injury.

Tough Mudder may have cut and bruised the ever-loving crap out of my arms and legs, but other than a day or two of (very natural) muscle stiffness and soreness, I emerged both times completely unscathed.

So when these aches and pains began to creep up on me, it really gave me pause.

At first I just chalked it up to an over-zealous pre-race weekend (40+ kilometers over three days) coupled by an ill-advised high-heel dance party at the Jungle concert the next day.

But even after my win at Boundary Bay, these zings and pings have not given way.

So I spent some time today thinking about what, if anything, has changed in my life over the past month or two to cause such a substantial shift in the way my body reacts to something that I have been doing for years and years.

And that’s when it hit me: for the first time in my entire life, I have been wearing high heels almost every day.

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To work and for play.

And this gave me pause.

Is it really possible that changing my footwear for such a short period of time could be wrecking so much havoc with my hips and legs?

And the answer, I am truly apt to believe, is a resounding YES.

Which is actually crazy!

But listen to this:

On Friday I wore flats to work because I knew that I would be heading over to Marc’s high school to lead the improv club, and I tell you, spending just twenty-four hours with my feet firmly planted on the ground made a substantial difference in my run this morning.

My had absolutely no problems with my knees and only my right hip felt a little tight (and again, only at the tail end of a very fast eight kilometer run.)

I am curious to see what tomorrow will bring, as today I again shunned my heels, and opted instead to don a pair of flat boots instead.

Stay tuned!

But in the interim, I have to wax further on just how upset I am by this revelation.

Because I LOVE my heels!

I am enamoured by how pretty they all are, and how unbelievably tall I am in each pair, and how unstoppable and badass each pair makes me feel – like I could literally step over every obstacle that might have the audacity to get in my way.

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I like how they make my legs look (about fifty miles long), and how weirdly proud I am of how well I can walk in each pair, no matter how high, or how skinny a heel.

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I love my chunky black boots that I bought for forty dollars at Target, and wore so often the first week post-purchase that I had to re-glue the soles after only seven days.

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I love my five dollar wedges, and my beautiful burgundy suede stilettos, and my cute plaid kitten heels.

I like how my husband doesn’t care that I am taller than him when I wear heels.

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(I like how the only thing that concerns him about these shoes is how they may be impacting my health.)

I really do like (nay love!) everything about them.

But I am also so very wary about what exactly they may be doing long-term to my body, and when it comes down to it, I cherish my ability to run like the wind much, MUCH more than I do a sweet pair of shoes.

No matter how good my legs might look.

Because if I can’t run, they’re not going to look that good anyway.

Understanding the order of things

I, like most people, have some pretty weird day-to-day habits (that may or may not border on compulsions.)

Nothing too severe or debilitating of course – just silly things that sometimes throw a crank in my style, or cause me to write using awkwardly mixed metaphors.

For instance –

I cannot abide nails longer then the ends of my fingers. Even if they come close, I have to cut them down.

When I played piano, I could never start to practice if I hadn’t brushed my teeth.

I’ve written before about how I have to take the same shower every time I step into the bath. At night, I floss, then brush, then wash my face, then moisturize, then put in my mouth guard.

I also have routines for cleaning the bathroom, folding laundry, and making the bed.

I “chew” hot drinks to cool them down.

I had to cut and re-paint my nails to keep from going mad.
I had to cut and re-paint my nails to keep from going mad.

There are others, I’m sure, but these are the ones that immediately spring to mind when I think about the routines I employ within my life.

They are processes that make me happy, and that help order and becalm my days (and my nights.)

But!

You’ll never catch me trying to label them.

I just find that too many people (especially of late) like think it’s cool to claim they suffer from some kind of behavioral disorder or condition.

Words like ADHD or OCD are thrown around like baseballs or chakrams.

(Side note: I totally wish that I had a chakram.)

(OKAY FINE – I totally just wanted to use the word chakram.)

(Chakram.)

Enough!

For example, how many times have you ever heard someone say an iteration of the following:

“ZOMG. I’m so ADD!”

Or

“That’s just part of my OCD!”

Or what have you.

I mean, I really wish these people understood that these disorders aren’t sweaters one can casually model one day and then promptly shove to the back of their closets for the next six months.

These are legitimate conditions from which people suffer, and treating them like they’re accessories is a pretty solid way of stripping individuals – who actually spend their lives working through their symptoms (and as such, their consequences) – of the legitimacy they deserve.

And I understand that it’s hard, in particular when 1.) the individual doing the appropriation are likely doing so without malicious intent and therefore don’t fully recognize why what they’re doing could be harmful, because 2.) our society is pretty crap at educating people about these conditions (or really any illness in general.)

I mean, I’d wager a bet that if you typed in “why do I like to wash my hands?” into Google, you’d probably get a giant red banner screaming:

CONGRATULATIONS YOU ARE OUR 1,000,000 VISITOR TO HAVE OCD. CLICK HERE TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE.

The second search result would most likely be: BECAUSE YOU HAVE CANCER.

(Off topic, but never, ever use the internet as a tool for diagnosis. Stick to cat videos and ermagherd.)

Anywho, what I’m trying to say here is that this lack of knowledge and discussion hurts everybody, and sometimes making silly little statements about our silly little lives can (unwittingly) hurts others.

And goodness knows I’m by no means a perfect example of this – this awareness is something I work on every day.

However, I sure am I’m hoping that one day it will become routine.