Do you have any bodily oddities?
There comes a time when you realise there is something odd about you. You know everyone is different but our body can have some definite oddities.
A few years ago I had to have a barium enema. I will skim over the details to protect those of a sensitive disposition but suffice to say, it really wasn’t pleasant. Fortunately it transpired that I had nothing wrong with me. What I did have was a particularly long intestine. The doctors were thrilled. I have a feeling that an unusual bodily feature brings a bit of excitement to the drudgery of multiple barium enema patients. I was gleefully told that my intestine was so long that food was likely to take 24 hours longer to pass through my intestine than it did for most people. I was unmoved since all I really cared about was the fact that my body worked and there was nothing wrong. My intestine is not really something I give much thought to.
My second bodily oddity isn’t internal and concealed from all, although I can’t claim it is something many people get to see. By now you may be imagining something deeply personal. Please don’t worry. This is to do with my toes.
On my left foot my middle toe is the longest. I probably have to show you what I mean.
I have to admit that I have known my feet were strange for a long time. I still remember my parents debating whose fault my feet were when I was about ten. Luckily it was all very jocular so I never felt scarred by the experience. And, to be fair, neither parent had feet like mine. I am not entirely sure that I gave my feet much thought for many years after that. It is true that I could never wear pointy toed shoes but luckily it wasn’t a look I favoured. Open toe sandals were ruled out too but as I seldom feel the need for Summer clothes this wasn’t really a problem either.
So, you may be wondering, what made me think about my toes again? Well, in a very middle aged way I headed off to see a chiropodist earlier in the year. Don’t worry, I am not going to regale you with foot horror stories. I can still reach my toe nails to cut them too. I just had a sore bit on the sole of my foot that I feared may be a verruca. It wasn’t, but it did still need treatment. The chiropodist commented that I had an unusual footprint but I didn’t ask what she meant by that and didn’t actually give it any further thought.
My foot did need further treatment so at appointment two I was told that my long middle toe was unusual. By appointment three I was discovering that my chiropodist had been in practice for twenty years but had never seen anyone with a longest middle toe before.
Hang on. This really did mean I was weirder than I had realised. My toe really was a bodily oddity. Inevitably I rushed home to look at Google images. This really was odd. I fed in ‘longest middle toe’ and most images showed a longest second toe instead. Humph. There was one picture of a male foot with a longest middle toe. Beside it was a sandal and the words: ‘Manufacturers of toe shoes, barefoot shoes discriminate against minorities’. Let’s face it, I was starting to realise that a longest middle toe puts you in a pretty small minority. I have no idea about percentages of people with this bodily oddity but I would guess at under 1% of the population. I can cope with being a bit discriminated against. I do sometimes forget though.
I am starting to realise I shouldn’t have been sitting down to take the photographs to avoid the elephantine ankle look I seem to have achieved there. But you can see why shoes can be a problem. In case you are concerned, I can curl my toes slightly and make the shoes look much better.
You may be trying to work out if you have any bodily oddities of your own. Do you? Talking about mine, and I very seldom do as they really don’t matter, normally just makes me laugh. Especially my toes. And the fact that toe shoe manufacturers, whatever they are, are discriminating against me really is quite funny. Surely no one finds every pair of shoes they try on is comfortable anyway.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all just learn to appreciate our bodies as they are as long as they work. Have you ever read anything Melanie Reid has written since her accident? She is tetraplegic as a result of a riding accident in 2010 and sometimes she does write about what is going on with her body. She writes a column in The Times magazine every Saturday and one column in particular has stuck with me long after she wrote it. I wondered if I could link to it without using The Times where, annoyingly, you can’t read it without a subscription. Sadly, if you look for ‘Melanie Reid – a challenge’ you should be able to get it as a PDF document but I can’t give you a link.
She writes about the Caledonian Challenge, which I definitely won’t be doing. But do look, in case you are a braver soul than me.
But I do want to walk up more mountains and I was, and still am, truly inspired by one paragraph in the article in particular. Let me show you:
“Why should you do it? Because you can. That is the message for anyone reading this column, feeling January-sluggish and seeking inspiration for getting fit. Don’t waste what you have. Because, take it from me, you can lose everything in the blink of an eye. Your body is an amazing, beautiful, irreplaceable thing. Please don’t take it for granted. Use it.”
So, please don’t mind about any bodily oddities you may have. Just think of all the things you can do. Our bodies really are amazing and wonderful.