I’ll admit it: I’m a clutz, and as a clutz I have spent my fair share of time in casts, boots, slings, and braces. Each time I am prescribed a supportive device I consider decorating it in some way. I’ve thought about doodling all over casts, sewing bits of colorful fabric to slings, and adding embroidered touches to braces. Each time, however, something stops me. I’m afraid it will look silly, or I’m afraid it won’t match the clothes I want to wear next week, or I’m afraid people will make fun of me. You get the picture.
Yesterday I learned that I have a nasty diagonal break in one of my toes (Did I mention that I’m not very graceful?) and I’ll have to wear a small post-op boot for two to four weeks. Even though I requested something in pink camo or leopard print, the nurse returned with basic bulky blah black. Immediately, I told the doctor I might have to “bling it out,” to which he replied, “I wouldn’t expect anything less from you, Jenny.” Well, that did it. It was practically a challenge, after all. So after my Lochinvar picked up some supplies and took me home, I set about doing something fun to my new fashion accessory.
I considered scraps of lace but decided they were too light and airy for such a big shoe. Then I looked at braided sequin trim, but it was black and just too subtle. Finally, I settled on some big blingy rhinestones. “That’s the ticket,” I told myself (with Lochinvar’s encouragement) as I arranged them on the top of the boot. But, just as I was about to apply the first drop of glue, I almost stopped. Those same nagging questions of how others would perceive me (and my obnoxious boot) popped into my head. Only this time, something else popped in, too.
I remembered a television show called “Pushing Daisies” (2007-2009) that had a couple of “crazy aunt” characters, one of whom wore an eye patch. Every time she was on the screen, that eye patch matched her outfit. Those patches had jewels, rickrack, flowers, brocade – you name it, it was fair game as an embellishment. At the time, I admired how the writers had the character own that “disability” in a humorous way. I liked that there were never excuses about having a whacky eye patch because she was crazy, just acceptance that it was an extension of herself.
As I thought about that character, I started gluing on the rhinestones. After all, if the boot is going to be an extension of me for any length of time, I might as well own it, too. Today, when I wore it to school, I even wore a dress so everyone could get a good look at my handiwork! To my surprise, people didn’t laugh at the boot. They laughed with me about the silliness of the whole thing, and many of them admired my glitzy shoe and my chutzpah for wearing it. My students thought it was fun, and several of them (who had been in such devices before) said they wish they had decorated theirs. Even my boss liked it and said I should sell them!
So, even though I have to wear this clunky boot, I have proven a primary fashion rule about confidence being the biggest part of any look. If you’re going to wear it, rock it! This idea holds true for pretty much everything we do in life as evidenced by such tried and true wisdom as “Go big or go home,” “If you’ve got it, flaunt it,” and (my personal favorite) “No guts, no glory.” Sometimes, I just need to remember who I am. Now, I wonder what I can do to dress up those arthritis gloves I’m always wearing.