Fear of Big Feet

Cinderella, DisneyCan you think back to the first book you ever read?

Here I am, my 4-year-old self, on the green-carpeted floor, the sun pouring over me like water over a flower. I coo with pleasure as the sunlight highlights the pictures on my skinny “Golden” book with pages ruffled from turning them so many times.

The spine is broken, but I don’t care. I caress the cover of a beautiful lady with golden hair, a pink bow-shaped mouth, and a soft blue dress that fits tightly on her body until it opens wide and flows down to her toes.

I squeal the title out loud.

CINDERELLA!

Like a cat with cream, I lap up the pictures of the pretty girl with ashes on her face. My mom reads this book to me so many times that I’ve memorized the words and repeat them loudly and emotionally.Cinderella, step-mother, Disney

The evil stepmother scares me, with her pointy chin, thin wavy lips, and puffy hair. She doesn’t like me – I mean, Cinderella – and I’ve never met anyone before who doesn’t like me.

Cinderella, Cinderella's mouse, fairytaleBut the little mouse is cuddly and cute with his soft brown fur and big pink ears. I search the corners of my house for a mouse, but so far, no luck.

The prince? Huh, what’s the big deal? He has flat hair and a flat face and I pass by his page quickly.

But I do worry.

I peer down at my tiny 4-year-old feet. My dad says I’m going to grow up to be a big girl.

But I don’t want my feet to grow up, too.

Because then, the glass slipper won’t fit. And I’ll never be invited back to the ball.Cinderella, glass slipper

Years later, my fear of big feet grows as the rest of my body lengthens and widens and curves. Throughout high school I wear shoes a size smaller than comfortable.

I want a boyfriend by the age of 15, but my feet are too big!

Heels come next, because beautiful ladies wear tiny shoes with spiky tall heels. Those women are always invited to the ball.

Cinderella, beauty pagaent

On my way to a disappointing ball.

I become Cinderella (in a way) at a pageant and wear my hair up like hers, although I can’t find any glass slippers.

But the ball (re disco dance) doesn’t quite match my expectations.

I begin to wear bigger shoes that allow my toes to breathe a sigh of relief. I begin to grow into myself.

Years later, I hear my tall statuesque daughter brag about her size 9 shoes, unafraid to stand in sturdy heels that bring her almost even with her 6-foot-plus husband.

And I realize something astounding.

I never read Cinderella to her when she was a child.fairy tales. Each Peach Pear Plum

And with relief, I celebrate the fact that my daughter ‘s first book was . . .

Each Peach Pear Plum.

 

Most images thanks to Google and Disney.

 

 

 

 

 

51 thoughts on “Fear of Big Feet

  1. …what a terrific post… it occurs to me you may wanna do a neat get-together with your daughter and your granddaughter… you read the story to your daughter, and she in turn reads it again to her daughter, two readings in one sitting… be a great evening I bet,m’Lady, Pamela…Bucket List stuff :):)

  2. Reblogged this on Seumas Gallacher and commented:
    …just HAD to reblog this wunnerful post from my pal, Pamela Wight… …what a terrific post… it occurs to me she may wanna do a neat get-together with her daughter and her granddaughter… she reads the story to her daughter, and her daughter in turn reads it again to her own daughter, two readings in one sitting… be a great evening I bet…B ucket List stuff :):)

  3. It’s funny some of the things that make an impression in childhood Pamela. I was forever wanting to be one of the Princes that kissed, sleeping beauty, danced with Cinderella or climbed up Rapunzel’s hair. Who knew I’d turn out to be the ugly duckling that never grew into a swan. lol
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    • You are witty but not wise on this one, my friend. You ended up with a princess, so in that way, you became a prince, yes? In my eyes (and your followers) you are a most magnificent swan indeed. xoxoxspringhugxoxoxo

    • Or, perhaps, you wanted a spider? 🙂 I only discovered Charlotte’s Web as an adult. A most wonderful book that makes me cry every time I read it. And when you think about it, spiders really have tiny feet….

  4. Hmm, very interesting 😉 To be quite honest, I don’t remember what my very first book was – I might need to ask mom and dad about that. Perhaps it would shed some light on my life 🙂 You know, each year we donate a book around Christmas time from our Barnes & Noble for local kids who have no new books to read. Next year, I know which one I’m picking – for sure – Peter Pan. Second star to the right and straight on til morning. A bit of pixie dust and a happy thought – never grow up 🙂

    • Peter Pan is a perfect children’s book to read or be read to. In some ways, though, I think adults appreciate the idea of staying young forever, better than the kids! 🙂 Ha. As a child, I wanted to be Tinkerbell, but I knew I was really Wendy. !!

  5. What a wonderful story, Pam! I can’t say I ever worried about big feet, but our daughter could read Cinderella by herself at age 4 and she wears a size 10! It shouldn’t surprise you to know the first book I remember was my Dad’s Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds of North America! Ellen Williams (my partner in crime growing up) and I would pour over the book booing at the turkey vultures and blowing kisses at the robins. Snowing here this morning with temps not supposed to get to freezing…truly hope this is NOT headed your way! No more ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

    • I’m laughing out loud at your first book – a birder since a baby, of course! That explains your most glorious bird photographs. The birds outside our feeder send me looks of love for refilling it every day – their feathers were blowing with the snow yesterday. 😦
      Here’s to birds, spring (soon?) and BIG FEET. xoxo

  6. I love this post! My first book I recall was The Three bears and I was afraid of bears growing up. Even though we lived on the prairie and there were no bears around! As for feet I had the opposite problem. My feet were a size 4.5 and there were never any stylish shoes for such small feet. I had to wear children´s shoes well into my teens and was mortified. As a young adult I had to special order shoes which was not cheap. I love shoes and would search high and low for a pair to fit me. I think my foot would have been to small for the glass slipper. 🙂

    • Amazing, and another example of the ‘grass being greener on the other side,’ yes? (But I think the glass slipper would have fit you perfectly.) The Three Bears terrified me, also. I couldn’t understand how Goldie could be so crass to them, you know? I love hearing from you and others and realizing that a book read to a child can stay with him or her forever.

  7. Your sweet story just shows how women have changed in their view of themselves and become more confident. and accepting of their differences. What a boring world it would be if we were all the same. 🙂

    • Tis true, before the feminist movement in the ’70s, women were supposed to be small, quiet and dainty. Thus, Cinderella’s tiny feet (that’s my quick philosophical theory, anyway). Here’s to diversity – in shoe size and everything else.

  8. Lovely post, Pam. My favorite book at that age was Peter Pan. And seeing Mary Martin as Peter on our little TV sealed our relationship for life. But it wasn’t until I read this thought-provoking post that I decided I could probably connect this with my passion for adventure/travel. Thanks for the “aha” moment!

    • Aha! Yes, I bet you’re absolutely correct. Or, you had a love for travel/adventure already in your soul as a child, thus you related immediately to Peter Pan. Either way, books ‘speak’ to us as children and affect us for the rest of our lives, I believe. xoxo

  9. This is too cute for words. At least your daughter did/does not have a complex about her feet. But you had a great mom who indulged your passion for a good story and perhaps that seed for your love of books and writing was planted early.

    I never bought Cinderella to read to my daughter. The books I read to them were about trains, nature, birds and, animals. I still have some of those books that I managed to save.

    • Birds and animals never seem to worry about how big their feet (paws?) are, do they? (Nor can I think of a fairy tale with an animal needing to fit into a glass slipper.) Actually, the most important thing of all is READING to our kids, whether about trains, birds, or fairy princesses!

  10. Oh, how I wish I had big feet. I’m always stumbling about, falling over, hurting myself. Fortunately my wife and son both have ’em; they can jump around like mountain goats.

    Greta Garbo had huge flipper feet, too, and I would argue that she was far more alluring than that bland old Cinderella.

      • Apparently it was common knowledge at the time. Garbo was always caricatured with enormous feet. Warner Bros cartoons made her feet the butt of many jokes.

        Personally, I never noticed Garbo’s feet. I was too busy looking at the rest of her.

      • Perhaps they should, and will, update that on the kindle; make it so each time you read a book, the pages become more visually “used”. It could be a feature you could turn on/off if you didn’t like it or found it to be distracting. I’m sure some people would like it!

  11. It’s scary that a childhood book can have such long-lasting effects. I’m sure it’s not that common as the Thought Police would be prescribing the ‘right’ sort of books for our kids.
    I must have been neglected – I can only remember reading books once I started school (though it was long ago).

    • Well, for sure, fairytales are not P.C., and yet they’ve lasted for hundreds of years. And believe it or not (ha ha) I had quite an imagination as a child. I’m so sorry if you weren’t read to as a child. I think you must have been, considering your love of writing and reading now…

  12. Reading lap books with my children are some of the most deluxe memories I have. When my 20 month old granddaughter takes a break from dancing around the place, then selecting a book from her special book row behind the sofa is in order😊.

    • You are SO right. My happiest memories are getting comfy in a chair with my kids on my lap and reading to them. And now, every five minutes when I’m with the grandkiddies, I say, ‘ready for me to read a book?’ so many times they finally agree. I’m sure your grandbaby will be ready soon. 🙂

  13. Loved the weaving of Cinderella’s story with your own and now that of your daughter. I too used to worry about the size of my feet- until I started going to yoga class and realized that my feet, like every one else’s is imperfectly unique. That ‘s why it’s so important to share reflections like these with each other- so thank you.

    • The foot – another body part that girls (and women) worry about, thanks to Cinderella! 🙂 But yes, I expected dainty feet when I first began going to yoga classes, but instead found all kinds of ‘kinks’ and bumps and imperfections, which didn’t matter a whit in taking part in the poses.

  14. I’m on vacation but just HAD to read your blog with its mesmerizing title and smiled with total understanding and compassion and empathy because a fourth grade popular girl called me “Clodhopper” and it took until age 55 to get over it. I swear!! Now we’re Facebook friends and she’s sweet and my feet are just the right size. Thank goodness we have a lifetime available to us to resolve things! Happy weekend and feet!

    • I am HONORED that you hopped on over even while you’re on your (warm!) vacation. But really, clodhopper? It takes a special kind of woman (you!) to forgive another for using that word to describe our feet. Seriously, reading it gave me the shivers. (Well, particularly since I’m not in warm FL right now…) I hope you’re sinking your beautiful feet in some sun-warmed sand right now! xo

  15. I absolutely loved this post! Ah, we tall girls with big feet! Take heart, though: one of the loveliest women of the 20th century was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis – and she wore size 10 shoes. I bet she never read Cinderella, either. She was very self-assured! 😀

  16. Your post made me wish I had my copy of the “Velveteen Rabbit” with me now. I used to read “The Little Mermaid” to my daughter over and over again. Until she discovered the movie; then we watched it over and over again. She is an avid reader today, consuming at least a book a week. When we’d go backpacking in the Sierras she would bring three or four hardcover books to read. That’s an obsession beyond my comprehension. “Good Night Moon” was another of her favorites that I would read to her. The fabric of books is woven through my life, as well as my daughter’s life. Wonderful weaving you have given with this post. It put a smile on my face sorting through the memories of stories I have read and shared. Thanks Pam!

    • I bet C. is a huge reader because of those years you spent with her with the mermaid and the rabbit, yes? I sometimes have the problem of intermixing my memory of the books that were read to me and the books I read to my children. For instance, I swear I can remember Goodnight Moon as a little girl, yet it wasn’t written yet. But it sure was one of my favorites to read as my little ones’ eyes grew heavier and heavier. Either way, as you so beautifully say, ‘the fabric of books is woven’ throughout all of our memories.

  17. Some of my first were The Tiger That Came To Tea, and The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark…among many others, it’s very hard to remember – I was blessed to have been inundated, surrounded and basically well and truly saturated in books from a young age. Sweet post – its incredible to reflect on how influential stories can be, from a very young age, definitely something to be aware of when choosing and reading a story for impressionable young minds. That said, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to give up your love affair with the story of Cinderella, to escape a few squashed toes in your early years…Hugs, H xxx

    • You have a most blessed way with words, and maybe one of the reasons is because of that book saturation that enveloped you as a child!
      You’re also astute. Cinderella’s story will always be in my heart –despite her tiny feet.

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