Tuesday, June 27, 2017

No Shame: by Amy Deacon MSW, RSW

On February 22, 2017 - my world was forever changed by the birth of our daughter, Audriana. No university degree, graduate program or certification course has taught me as much as this little girl. While I already have a running list of lessons to be learned, I wanted to share this one, as it so deeply resonated with me.

As a therapist, I would estimate that 80% of my work is focused on working through the shame we have accumulated over the years. And let me tell you, as both a participant and facilitator of this process, learning to accept oneself as inherently worthy can be gruelling work. However, it’s important work, as many of our less than desirable behaviours are symptomatic of our shame, fear and insecurity.

As such, shame has always been a big topic of conversation in my world. And now - enter Audriana. Thanks to my daughter, every day when I get home, I get to witness what life is like without shame. Given, she’s 4-months old. But I don’t care - I want to emphasize this. The girl has no shame, and I love it. She will pee on her uncle, spit up on her Dad, use her mother’s chin and lips as her teething soother, and baby girl does not doubt herself for a second. She does not fear her tears, she does not minimize her laugh. She owns who she is; she owns her present reality without hesitation. Good or bad; she accepts herself just as she is. After all, she is a baby and still in touch with a sacred truth so many of us have lost along our way, she is inherently worthy. ​

All of this lead me to wonder - where, when and why did I lose my sense of self-worth? Like most, the shame that tainted me was not of my choosing. It was due to people and circumstances outside my realm of control. However, it was my choice to believe the shame was true and adopt a position of unworthiness. As a result, I spent a good chunk of my life trying to earn back my worthiness - by trying very hard to be liked, smart, thin, successful, beautiful - and most notably, trying to make it look effortless. ​

When I look at Audrey - I observe curiosity - not judgement. I immediately realize how differently I treat myself, and am so thankful for the teachings of this little girl. I am also encouraged to protect my sense of worth, as fiercely as I hope to protect hers. Therefore, I share with everyone the same gentle reminder I’ve been blessed with - we are all inherently worthy and need to treat ourselves and others as such. You, dear reader, are worthy - don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Down with both Flipping and Flopping

Today is National Flip Flop day, according to Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Florida.  And while I'm all for made up holidays to raise money for good causes, I cannot shake the feeling that this is a ploy by the flip flop industry to distract us from the damage being done by their flimsy products.  It's big flip flop pulling the wool over our eyes and the plastic over our toe, and I'm not falling for it.

In these heated times, I believe strongly in freedom for all, specifically all the toes.  Let them feel the wind in their...er.. nails, let the sun shine down on them.  However, I simply cannot accept the flip flop as a respectable shoe option.  I support a full flip flop ban.  Here's why:

1) They don't provide enough of a barrier between your feet and the world.

Suffice to say, a quarter inch of plastic between your toesies and the street is not enough.  The grime accumulates and it is gross.  I've seen fancy ladies in New York City with a $75 flip flop dangling off of a filthy but manicured big toe and just... noe.

2) They cause your toes to GRIP for dear life.

With no arch support and no strappage securing the flip flop to your foot, your toes have to grip the pathetic excuse for a shoe just to hang on to the illusion that you are in fact wearing shoes.  Toe gripping causes the bottom of your feet, the plantar muscles and fascia, to work overtime, and this in turn can turn off other muscles in the kinetic chain, like your calves and glutes.  If you don't already have plantar fasciitis you just might by fall, and I'll have to say "i told you so".  Nobody wants to hear that, so get a (proper) grip.

3) The are ugly!

Full disclosure, I've been known to sacrafice proper support for a pretty sandal.  Sometimes you gotta rock a stiletto and deal with the consequences.  But flip flops?  Are these even worth the trouble they cause?  You can bejewel them all you want, to me it is just lipstick on a pig.

4) They provide no support!

No arch support at all, no ankle stability, no protection.  Flip flops are just begging you to sprain your ankle, develop plantar fasciitis or stub your toe.  I cannot support a shoe without any support!

So what's a girl to wear?  I'm a fan of a moulded foot bed sandal for every day use.  Birkenstocks are great, though I find them to be too flat for my body, and I suspect other disc herniation sufferers would agree.  Naot has many styles with a bit of a lift, though lately I find their styles too... 'fapitzed' for my liking.  My recent sandal purchase were Mephistos, and I find them to have just enough of a heel lift to save my back, great arch support and fuller coverage on the straps, meaning there is actually something holding the shoe to my foot!

Have fun this summer, but please leave the flip flops for the trek from pool deck to shower!