Crohn's Disease In Your 20s: Why I Hate Shoe Shopping and Other Complaints

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I've decided to start a blog based off the recommendation of a friend. One day we were talking about shoes and I mentioned how much I hate shoe shopping. You can imagine that she was pretty taken aback. How does a 23-year-old woman not love shoe shopping? I was hesitant to tell her why -- going into this part of my life always dampens any conversation -- but she was insistent. So here it is.

I cannot stand shoe shopping because I can rarely find a pair of fashionable shoes that will fit me in the morning and at night. What does this even mean?

I have arthritis. And the real problem isn't even the fact that it's difficult finding comfortable shoes that I am not embarrassed to wear in public -- although, let me tell you, that is definitely beyond difficult. But I'll cover that later. No, the real problem is that my feet swell up during the day to where I might be a completely different shoe size at night than I was that morning. Shoes don't grow at the rate my feet do, and therein lies the problem.

Yes, I could always switch into different shoes in the afternoon, but I never know when this is going to happen. If it's humid? 10 a.m. and it's already happening. Then 15 minutes in air conditioning? Back to my original, right-out-of-bed feet. I could be switching shoes every hour or less.

I also have to find shoes that are either comfortable and supportive in their own right or that will fit my shoe inserts. I actually buy my boots and tennis shoes a size up so there's enough room for these inserts. But even then, sometimes a size up is just too big. So I try a half size down. Yet the half size down cuts off the circulation in my feet once afternoon hits. It's a pretty frustrating process that none of my friends seem to understand, so I go shoe shopping alone.

And don't even get me started on finding fashionable shoes for people with arthritis. I'll let you take a look at the Walking Company or Comfort One's catalogs and let you figure that one out on your own.

So, in the end, I spend months -- yes, months -- looking for one pair of shoes. I started looking for black boots in September. I didn't find a pair until two to three months later. And since I only had brown boots during that off period, a lot of my black ensembles stayed in the back of my closet for a while.

I want to be one of those girls obsessed with shoes. I love fashion and I love experimenting, but I can never experiment with shoes. I just have to hope I find ones that look decent and fit me at the end of the night.

And with that cheerful ending note, I am back to my original statement. I've decided to start a blog because my friend had no idea what it's like to live with arthritis, and what it's like to live with the Crohn's disease that's caused my arthritis. I don't like to tell people about what I go through every day because I don't want to burden them with it and always be the downer of the group. And I don't want them to think I want their sympathy, because I don't. I just want them to understand. My friend was able to accept this unfortunate little issue about my life, and we were able to talk about something else. She probably won't bring it up again, which is a relief to me.

I am tired of having to explain over and over again why I can't do the normal activities that are the staples in the lives of my young professional peers. I can't go to Zumba, because my elbow will hurt for a week. I can't go out two nights in a row, because my nausea will last for days, not hours. I'm not making excuses; I'm trying to get through life with a health problem that affects me every moment of the day. And I'm trying to make it a normal, if not fabulous, life. So from now on, if anyone gives me crap about how I'm five feet tall and not taking advantage of it by wearing the tallest heels possible, I'm just going to point them to my blog. And then proudly wear the same black flats that I've been wearing to bars for months now. Guys don't seem to mind the fact that I'm short and sans heels. Imagine that.

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