What do clowns and I have in common? NO, not the frizzy hair. Jerks. No, not the nose. Just stop guessing. This isn’t healthy for our relationship. I’ll just tell you: It’s our feet. Clowns have huge feet, and so do I. I’m not going to tell you what size I am, because I maintain precious little dignity on social media and I’ll be darned if you all start checking out my shoes every time you see me. Let’s just say my feet are fearfully and wonderfully made, or FAWM for short.

I come by it honestly – there is a not a dainty-footed person in my family. My brother has to special-order his shoes because stores don’t sell them. You’d think we’d be taller, but…no. Just my brother is tall. My sister and I have to endure both large feet and not being able to reach the top shelf of our kitchen cabinets. Life is unfair sometimes.

The thing about having size FAWM feet is that you’re sort of limited in the kinds of shoes you can wear. And if your feet are also wide, like mine (thanks, gene pool), that makes your choices even slimmer. It’s not that shoes don’t come in size FAWM – many of them do. But when shoe designers make shoes, they are thinking of average people who have average feet, not average people who walk around with their legs attached to canoes. So they make all these cute designs and add the stripes and make everything reflective and shiny, which is all really cute in, like, a size 7. But when you add a few more inches to that shiny little stripe on the side, suddenly it turns into a giant flashing sign that says, “HEY. HEY, YOU GUYS. LOOK OVER HERE. MY FEET ARE BIG. COME OVER HERE SO YOU CAN BE PROPERLY HORRIFIED.” Not a sexy look.

But the worst part of wearing size FAWM is that I almost never find my size out on the floor. Like I said, companies make my size. But I don’t know a ton of people who wear size FAWM, and those sizes are understandably kept in the back so that people who don’t have freak-of-nature feet can enjoy shopping without having to witness the horror of the giant box that contains the size FAWMs.

My usual MO is to find a few pairs that I like, bring a box of each to the store clerk, and ask him to bring me the shoes in my size. I do it that way so I don’t have to ask for my gigantor shoes more than once. Because, inevitably, asking for my shoe size involves a much lengthier conversation than I would like. Well, I would like no conversation, but I would settle for a two-sentence maximum.

Instead, I usually have some variation of the following conversation:

Me: Hi, can you see if you have these in a FAWM? (Don’t worry; I give the real size to them)
Store Clerk: A size what?
Me: *shuffling feet, clearing throat* A size FAWM.
SC: Oh. *raises eyebrows* Really? But you’re so short!
Me: Yeah, I know.
SC: Are you sure that’s your size? We could measure you.
Me: I’m sure. I’ve been wearing the same size for a while.
SC: Not many women wear that size.
Me: I’m special.
SC: Okay, well, if you’re sure, I’ll go get these for you. *pauses expectantly*
Me: Yes, please.

It’s exhausting. I only buy new shoes once every million years so I don’t have to have the conversation a lot, but I think we can all agree that once is enough.

Don’t even get me started on the shoes I’ve worn as a bridesmaid. I have zero complaints about the fashion choices my friends and family have made for their bridesmaids. Cute dresses, cute theme, cute shoes. But nothing looks quite as dainty on a size FAWM foot. During my sister’s wedding, you can see me walking down the aisle, a smile frozen on my face, and you start to wonder why I haven’t changed my expression at all. But if you listen closely, you can hear a clop, clop, clop, clop in the background. Those would be my super-sized tootsies, stomping their way through an otherwise very quiet church. I was trying to concentrate on walking more quietly while also continuing to smile while also using my Panic Eyes to convey to someone, anyone, that I was aware of the noise and would hopefully be down the aisle in a timely fashion.

The struggle is real. Two kids later, the struggle has become even realer. But I did get new shoes recently, and, wonder of wonders, they had size FAWM on the shelf! I found my people. And my new shoes are black – it’s so slimming!

These are not the shoes I bought recently. I ordered these from I think they bring out the sturdiness of my ankles!

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