And then I was four
Small girl with blonde hair. Dimple on the left hand side, pinafore dress. A thin red headband with yellow flowers. Holding: A yoghurt pot with a pipe cleaner and some tissue paper, in front of her, very proudly. It is a flower in a flowerpot, and she made it. She wears those white tights with the tiny holes in that only little girls wear, and red shoes.
See, I don’t remember my first day of school, but I remember the picture that my mother took of me when she came to pick me up.
I just don’t have it, so you can’t see it. But it looks like that. Oh – apart from one thing.
If you look carefully at her sandals, you’ll see that they’re pointing inward, the left one a little more than the right, perhaps, but very noticably her feet are pointing inward.
It’s one of my favourite pictures of myself now.
Because it’s the first one in which you can really see my little signature crookedness. I’m wonky, you see. And this picture reminds me of it.
There are other pictures that make me smile in the same way. Sometimes my mother would take pictures of the shoes of her three children, carelessly abandoned on the beach with the incumbent feet run off paddlewards. You’ll always find two pairs of shoes facing forward and then one pair (the smallest pair) appearing to rub noses. Or toses.
It’s only in the last ten years I’ve started to think of my feet fondly; even though they wear down shoes in half the time they should; even though they were an easy excuse for bullying all the way through school; even though, comedically, I’ll trip over them sometimes if I’m in a panic – (because although they’re a lot better now, they can still get worse in that kind of state) – I don’t really care. They’re mine.
And I like their wonkiness.
During secondary school, as growing pains came and made walking a bit painful and the bullying carried on and made everything a bit painful, we went to a specialist who spouted long words like ‘femoral anteversion’, and said that it might correct itself or it might not, but if we didn’t want to take that chance, he was quite happy to smash both my hips and put me in traction for a couple of months.
I think it was at this point that I decided to love my wonkiness. Because although it wasn’t a big thing – it’s not like they face backwards (although I can make them do that if you like, it’s a good party trick), the only thing it really stops me doing is jogging (boo hoo) and it isn’t a disability, but it’s my little crookedness.
And it’s preferable to someone smashing both your hips. Especially if he sounds like he’d enjoy it.
Standing at the bus stop, I look down at my feet and smile.
No one is perfect. And there are lots of other ways I’m not perfect, but I like this one. I am wonky. And anyone that wants to bully me about it now can simply fuck off.
Because aren’t we all wonky in some way or other? And isn’t that nice?
(What is this ’28/28′ thing? What the hell is going on? Confused? Ah, well then, you should read this. It will inform you. Also, it has important birthday information)