19 : Feet First


You’re an ornate appendage
So whichever apparel
     shoes
     boots
     flip-flops
     heels
You should choose to wear
Will always suite you well
Because you are
     stylish graceful sassy
     smart creative strong
Made up of all things real
     goodness kindness happiness
     love joy honesty

It’s the real stuff that you’re made of
That shines so bright inside and out
     when you do what you do
     which you do so well

Please don’t ever forget
To walk tall and proud
Please don’t ever allow
Anyone to ever tell you
Which footwear’s right for you
Because no matter how
You should choose to strut your stuff
Your choice of foot apparel
     will always be
     just right for you


Why I wrote Feet First


Written just before your graduation, soon after having been let go from work and forced to leave the apartment I hoped would become our home, I went about it as I always had while you were growing up by dismissing the angst, fear, and worry that flooded me to avoid affecting you in a negative way.

You were excited and eager about your upcoming graduation and looked forward to traveling to Europe. I shared your excitement while silently wishing to be traveling with you and simultaneously focusing on other things, such as downsizing my personal belongings to fit into storage since I had no place to move to. I was also decided to work towards publishing the very first poems I had written for you – but was sidetracked and never got around to finish what I’d set out to do.

Feet First was influenced by various themes, one of which had to do with the whimsical shoe ornaments I had collected for your Christmas tree and another had to do with what I thought could become an annual birthday theme. Ultimately, it was a message I was unable to convey as a mother due to our distancing – for you to always be true to yourself, wherever you may go or whichever direction you may take, through a whimsical shoe tale.


How I wrote Feet First:


You’re an ornate appendage
So whichever apparel
     shoes
     boots
     flip-flops
     heels
You should choose to wear
Will always suite you well
Because you are
     stylish graceful sassy
     smart creative strong
Made up of all things real
     goodness kindness happiness
     love joy honesty


The choice to kick-off the poem by introducing an ornate appendage was very calculated and intentional. The word appendage, like many English words, has several different meanings. When writing Feet First, in order to tie-in with the shoe theme, I meant for it to refer to the foot. But more importantly, it’s meant as a metaphor for the subject of the poem. Although not entirely true to the word’s description, I related the meaning of appendage in a way to describe how you were once so closely linked to your father and I, but now that you were graduating and becoming independent, I thought of it as how you were somewhat of an apprentice heading into the adult world.

Apparel, another word I had been focusing on, easily tied into the shoe theme with which the foot (or appendage) can be covered and protected by.

While the variety of shoes listed in the poem might conjure images of style or appearance, they’re meant as a metaphor for the choices, decisions, and directions you should choose to take. I also wanted to emphasize your personality traits, which I listed in groups of three, and although commas should be included, I sometimes prefer to avoid punctuation as much as possible when writing poetry. It seems to distract from the poem’s rhythm.


More on how I wrote Feet First:


It’s the real stuff that you’re made of
That shines so bright inside and out
     when you do what you do
     which you do so well


This stanza implies that when being true to yourself while following through with choices, decisions, and directions that are meant for you and that are right for you – everything should fall into place, and this is when the natural essence of your being will shine the brightest.


Please don’t ever forget
To walk tall and proud
Please don’t ever allow
Anyone to ever tell you
Which footwear’s right for you
Because no matter how
You should choose to strut your stuff
Your choice of foot apparel
     will always be
     just right for you


The closing stanza sways back and forth between literal and figurative writing, and the first few lines are advice coming from myself. Having been excluded from your everyday life, with little knowledge or input into any of the choices or decision that were made for you throughout most of your teen-aged years, there’s much more I would’ve like to say. To this day, I don’t understand how or why this ever took place, and I can’t remember when I stopped trying to figure it out. Too much had taken place and too much kept on coming. I honestly don’t recall anymore, and it’s too painful to go back and search for the logic or understanding of what took place.

I continue to hope that our lives might reconnect somehow – through a shared interest, a recreational activity, or a hobby. There was a time when I thought it would have been exciting for us to venture into business together. I once thought a dance studio could have been a great environment for you and I, or possibly a gift shop or coffee shop. But having rediscovered writing as a creative outlet, I don’t know that I’d want to crowd my days with anything other than that. Unless of course, it meant spending some time with you.

No matter what I wished for or worked towards in the past and whatever unfolds in the future, all I want is for you to be happy, safe, successful, and proud of yourself for the choices and decisions you make throughout your lifetime. And that’s what Feet First is all about.


Drawing from the poem:


When I first considered including images to accompany each poem, the initial and obvious thought was that of a shoe theme for Feet First. But after completing the page layout and selecting the color theme for Becoming a Poem, I sifted through some photos and came across this one.

It was impossible to pass up. Not only does the background of the photo match the color theme for this page, but the bare feet are more fitting by reiterating what’s true and real – not covered up by any sort of apparel and glowing naturally – just as you have whenever I’ve had the pleasure to see you.


Thank you for inspiring me to create Feet First


Feet First

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