On living barefoot

On living barefoot

I started walking barefoot almost three years ago, and have only put on shoes when forced or when the situation benefited from them since. That means, I am barefoot almost all of the time. Over the years, my calluses have grown, and my feet can withstand a lot. That means, the threshold to put on shoes is much higher for me.

Some of you call me irresponsible for choosing to work barefoot while restoring my neglected garden. I would disagree.

I cut myself all the time with my kitchen knives. Yet, none of you have suggested that I put on gloves. My feet haven’t gotten injured outside since I ditched shoes. We all take certain risks in life. Have you considered that going barefoot might just not be a risk you are used to seeing around?

Of course, there are shoes in the garden house. The sandals offer protection in areas with a lot of thorns or small shards. The rubber boots offer protection for areas that are not navigable without all-round protection. I put those on when I feel the benefits outweigh the risks of wearing them.

Risks? Yes, I struggle with proprioception (so knowing where things are in relation to me and each other), and I rely a lot on the input I get from my feet. In shoes, a lot of that input is lost. I also don’t know how to step properly when not barefoot, and often injure my joints when wearing shoes. And finally, I pay a lot less attention where I step in shoes.

That rusty nail you all are so worried about is most dangerous to me when I’m wearing rubber boots. In bare feet, I look where I step. I step slowly. If there was a nail, I’d feel it the moment it touches my skin, and I could adjust. In boots, I would step confidently into the nail that would go through my boot and into my foot all the same. It’s not as black and white as some of you might think.

Oh, and I am vaccinated against tetanus, of course.

In shoes, a lot of the roof project would not have been possible. I needed the full range of motion that only going barefoot gives me. I needed wrap my toes around the beams for stability. I could not have done that in shoes, and would have had to compensate. I would not have been able to feel each rung of the ladder, instead adding the risk of slipping. You see, it’s not that easy.

I live barefoot, so putting on shoes means adding a layer of “uncertainty” to everything. It means carelessness and lack of haptic feedback. It changes everything for me.

In addition, going barefoot calms me. I can feel the ground under my feet, the chill of a cold puddle of rain, or the soothing warm of a heated rock in winter sun. Every surface feels different, interacts differently with the soles of my feet. I feel the earth. I feel alive when I am barefoot.

In shoes, I stumble through the world, lost and disconnected. I wouldn’t go back to that lifestyle for anything.

So, while I absolutely appreciate all of your concern. Seriously, I do. Most of you were thoughtful and kind in your comments. However, that does not mean I have to agree with you. If me going barefoot bothers you, I will continue to bother you.

I am not like most people. I walk barefoot. I wear clothes that look like cleaning rags to some of you (thanks for that thoughtful comment, by the way :D). I don’t shave. I wear my hair in dreadlocks. I say what I mean. I don’t lie. I am chronically ill. I am autistic. None of that will change anytime soon (and most of it won’t ever change). You’ll have to accept that if you watch my videos or they will keep bothering you.

Thank you all! I appreciate every single one of you–even those who told me I’m a dandelion away from lala land, whatever that might mean.

So long, and thanks for being here.