pandora_parrot: (feet)
I've now been barefoot for 100 days. As time has gone on, this has become less and less of an big deal to me. I simply go barefoot a lot of the time. When I'm not going barefoot, I'm in flip flops or in my awesome moccasins.

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Jun. 14th, 2010 10:11 am
pandora_parrot: (adventure)
This weekend was a bit... intense.

Friday, I went on a very short hike with [ profile] nodesignation, [ profile] the_local_echo, and [ profile] auntysarah over at Russian Ridge open space preserve to do a sunset picnic. We found a nice place in the tall grasses, sat down, and watched the sun set behind the horizon, which may or may not have been ocean, we're not entirely certain.

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pandora_parrot: (Default)
Barefoot day 52.
I've been barefoot for nearly two months now, and things are getting more and more amazing in the way things are working.

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pandora_parrot: (feet)
Day 38 of my barefoot experiences.

A few interesting things have happened since the last time I wrote in. This weekend, in particular, has been rather event filled. Let's start with that.

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pandora_parrot: (feet)
An entry on ashtma, and an entry on barefootedness.

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pandora_parrot: (feet)
Day 22: I had my first encounter with glass while walking barefoot last night. I was out for a night time walk with [ profile] viesti, and I ran into a bunch of broken glass on the side walk. I didn't notice it until I was in the middle of it. Surprisingly, I only noticed it by the reflection of the street lights onto it. I didn't actually feel any pain. I immediately started to dodge around it and avoid the larger pieces of it. Once we were clear of it, I brushed my feet off of any spare bits of glass that had found their way onto my soles, and we continued on. I think we did almost a mile or two of walking that night. There didn't appear to be any pain or further damage to my feet from walking in the glass. Later that night, I did notice that my left foot had a small cut near the ball of the foot where one of the pieces of glass had managed to cut my skin. But it barely affected me, otherwise.

So there you go: My encounter with broken glass right in the middle of the sidewalk. I came away with a small slice taken out of the thick skin at the bottom of my feet, and no further damage or exposed raw flesh. All good. :)

I did have to throw on shoes today while I was painting over at my new place. The ridges of the aluminum ladder were digging into my feet and starting to hurt after a while. What I found really annoying about wearing the shoes while working was the amount of sweating I did into them! My feet were all icky and moist in there. It was quite a relief to take them off when I was all done and let them air out. Ahhh.. Happy bare feet.

It seems my experience of being barefoot is alternating between comfortable and painful. I'm really happy and enjoying my environment to a near ecstatic degree, and then I run into some obstacles that I'm not totally ready for yet, and it becomes a challenge and work again. I only have a certain level of stamina on certain types of rough gravel. After I exhaust that, my feet feel lots of pain and need TLC before they'll be happy and comfortable again. The cool part is that the more I do this, the more comfortable I get on such things. I can handle rough ground now that I couldn't handle at the beginning of my experiment, quite easily. Very nice.
pandora_parrot: (feet)
So, I'm on, what, day 19 of my barefoot experiment? I've got to say that this is one of the more interesting experiences that I've ever had. Whenever I walk outdoors now, I feel connected to my ground. It's like a whole other dimension has opened up for me. Offices aren't just corridors with textures and colors, but lush carpets and cool wood floors as well. Warm asphalt is a dream to walk on, and just fills me with a comfortable pleasure the likes of which I only experience when I've got a warm towel freshly pulled from the dryer.

It's actually really hard to describe. Being without shoes and feeling the ground underneath me unleashes within a sense of freedom, comfort, and enjoyment that I didn't realize was possible from such a simple and silly action.

It's certainly not without its challenges, though. First of all, proper barefoot walking requires a different style of walking than normal walking. Toe to heel instead of heel to toe. This actually requires different muscles in the legs to work, and I can definitely feel it. Additionally, the ground can be rough in places. Parking lots tend to be the worst, as they are often filled with gravel and pebbles, which are quite challenging on my feet.

Combined, these two factors inhibit the range and speed of my walking. If I do anything approaching a reasonable walk, more than a half mile or so, I have to wear moccasins the next day to avoid further damage to my feet. Also: My leg muscles get really tired after that, more tired than they should, really. But after doing something like that, my feet toughen up and my muscles get stronger, and when I come back to barefoot walking, I'm faster and can walk longer distances than before. And gravel and pebbles bother me less.

I've been fascinated by some of the reactions people have had to my bare feet. Many people bring up myths about laws and health issues that are completely false. Like the whole thing about there being health laws about being barefoot. Completely false. Some people have told me that you can't drive while barefoot. False EVERYWHERE in the US except Kentucky. My father told me that barefeet would put me at risk for fungal issues and infections. Turns out that those problems are often caused and exacerbated by *wearing shoes.* Being barefoot all the time makes them unlikely to occur, and can even *cure* them in some cases!

When I start to explain the numerous benefits of being barefoot, I can see that twinkle in people's eyes indicating that they would love to do it, too. They talk about how they used to be barefoot all the time as kids and stuff. I imagine that more people would do it if it were more culturally appropriate to do so. And as more publicity shines on barefoot runners, I think we're going to be seeing a cultural turn towards barefoot lifestyles and barefoot-like shoes. At least a stronger segment of the population will be interested in such things.

I'll continue to keep you updated and keep talking about my experiences being barefoot, but on a more irregular basis, as I've less to report on on a day to day basis.
pandora_parrot: (feet)
[ profile] parmonster took a picture of my feet after she tried washing one of them. The difference is surprising:
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pandora_parrot: (feet)
Day 11: 3/16/2010
I had a really interesting experience with being barefoot today.

Up until now, I've been quite self-conscious about my bare feet as I've walked around restaurants and stores. Will someone see me? Will they give me a hassle? Ack! All the glares! But then I got my lovely "soleless sandals" that [ profile] chirik came up with. Suddenly, I'm finding my level of self-consciousness dropping considerably to the point where I forget that I'm barefoot. It works in two ways: 1) Because other people look at my feet and think they see sandals, I feel less worried about their reaction. 2) My feet have that comfortable feeling of being wrapped up in something, convincing my subconscious mind that I'm wearing shoes. All in all, it makes barefoot walking start to drift into just another way of walking for me. Although it still has some *lovely* benefits!

I was walking through a Walgreens the other day and suddenly my feet felt very cold! I looked around in surprise to find that I was walking next to the freezer section. It was like having a sixth sense. Instead of just using smell, sight, sound, etc. to determine my surroundings, I received information about my surroundings from my *feet!* How interesting and awesome! That's *exactly* what I've been looking for from this experience. Very cool stuff.
pandora_parrot: (feet)
I got my new "soleless sandals" today! I also got my Soft Sole moccasins! And just for good measure, my collar as well.

So let's take a look at the pics!

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pandora_parrot: (feet)
Day 8: (3/13/2010)
Spent most of the day at a friend's party, and so it wasn't really that interesting to be barefoot indoors. However, at the movie and dinner afterwards, I was barefoot. Got a few looks while at the movie theater, but nothing really significant. I had a really good time walking on the bare pavement. My speed feels like it is still increasing, and I'm still getting smoother on my walking. I'm now able to take the ground strike on the ball of my foot and drop my heel all in one smooth motion now. It's amazing how easy this is to learn.

Day 9: (3/14/2010)
Today, I went hiking and climbing. Since my feet and muscles aren't ready for intense hiking and climbing yet, I decided to wear my hiking shoes. Very different experience. I noticed that I really loved the grip that my hiking shoes have on the ground. I walk easily over rocks, boulders, and other things without having to think about them much. Went barefoot once the hike was over. Nothing interesting to report from that, except that it felt like freedom again.

Day 10: (3/15/2010)
I got my Soft Star Ramblers today. Very odd sort of shoe. Very odd look to it as well. Still deciding whether or not I like the look, but the feel is really nice. It's a soft-soled moccasin, so it lets me do barefoot-style walking without being completely barefoot. This is really good for situations where being barefoot is not allowed, as well as for situations where it is really cold and you want to be barefoot-ish, but warm. The only drawback is that I can't feel the ground in them.
pandora_parrot: (feet)
Day 5 (end): (3/10/2010)
I tried going out running while barefoot. The experience was surprisingly enjoyable and not as painful or as uncomfortable as I had expected. I did get what I think might have been one of my asthma attacks (We'll find out more about this from the doctor in a few weeks), but my feet were just fine and quite comfy.

I did some exercising later at Planet Granite while barefoot as well! Very enjoyable! I felt great about being able to feel my feet while exercising. Afterwards, we went out to Coco's for dinner. I was a bit anxious about going in there barefoot, but they didn't seem to mind at all.

Day 6: (3/11/2010)
Today was mostly fine. I started the day feeling more or less normal about walking barefoot.

But then I went for a half mile walk to a restaurant. By the end of the walk, my achilles tendon was hurting, and it felt like I was getting a blister in the bottoms of my feet.

I did get dinner at an Italian place in downtown Sunnyvale, and that was really enjoyable. The ground inside had some really nice textures. Went to Target afterwards to do some shopping, and I found that the variety of textures there was quite interesting.

Day 7: (3/12/2010)
Given the possible issue with a blister, I'm going to wear soled sandals today. I'll probably go barefoot again tomorrow. I must be careful, as I often do have issues with my skin being too weak or thin in other places. Probably not surprising that it happens here, too.
pandora_parrot: (feet)
Day 4 (3/9/2010) ended wonderfully for the barefoot Joyce. I went to the grocery store, and I found walking through the parking lot and store to be absolutely wonderful. I got a few strange looks, but otherwise, it was really nice. It felt like I was walking on pillows in there. The ground was just... delicious!

Day 5 (3/10/2010)
My comfort level with being barefoot is continuing to increase. However, today, I was asked by my employer to put my shoes back on, as being barefoot is prohibited by our worker's comp provider. Apparently, the justification is that we might step on a staple.

I'm not going to go down without a fight, although I'm not going to jeopardize my job over this.

Stage 1 of Operation: Barefoot-At-Work will be to get Bare Bottoms like [ profile] chirik has and see if those slip me under the radar. I've already ordered them and they should arrive next week some time.

Stage 2 will be to write a paper on the health benefits of being barefoot and present it to the individual that asked me to put my shoes back on. I'll make the argument that by requiring me to wear shoes, they are actively requiring me to damage my body, since barefoot walking contributes to improved posture, better muscle development, reduced joint stress, etc.

If they persist in their assertion that I have to do this, I'll drop the issue, as I don't want to rock the boat too much.
Stage 3 will be buying a pair of barefoot-like shoes to wear while I'm in the office. Like a soft-soled pair of moccasins or something. Hell, I'll get them anyway for cold days.

Of course, this all assumes that I continue to do this barefoot thing. At this point, this is all still an experiment.
pandora_parrot: (feet)
[ profile] chirik has been doing the barefoot thing lately, which has rekindled my desire to do so myself.
There are a lot of reasons to go barefoot, but for me, it's a matter of experience. Unshod, I can actually feel the ground with all those wonderful nerve endings that are in my feet.

So, on Saturday, I began my barefoot experiment. I'll record my experiences of this here.

Day 1 (March 6, 2010):
Barefoot for the night only. Ground was cold and hard. Uncomfortable in spots, but nice in others.

Day 2: (3/7/2010)
Did a bunch of climbing and went shopping at Fry's. It was neat to feel the differences in textures in the different places at Fry's. I also noticed that I feel a lot more sure of my step when doing minor hopping around while barefoot.

Day 3: (3/8/2010)
First day at work barefoot. A few coworkers asked about my lack of shoes, and I explained the benefits of being barefoot. A little girl at REI asked me why I was barefoot, and I didn't know how to respond right away.

It was really nice to walk around barefoot and feel the ground, especially at work and in the gym. It really sucked when I was walking through the gravelly parking lot at Planet Granite, though. Not because of the gravel, which normally wouldn't be that big of a deal, but because of the rain, all of the gravel was sticking to my feet and making it impossible *NOT* to walk on it constantly.

I'm hoping that as I do this, my feet will become more resistant to this sort of thing.

Day 4: (3/9/2010)
Walking around today has been really nice! The ground is more comfortable, and I'm really starting to enjoy the feel of it in places. There were several moments today were I was really just enjoying feeling the ground as I stood. The different textures can be rather interesting and enjoyable.

I'm starting to get the feel for how to walk barefoot. It actually takes a bit of relearning to learn how to take shorter strides and land with fore-strikes or mid-strikes instead of heel-strikes.

A few more questions from coworkers. My explanations seemed to make them think I'm completely sane and rational for doing this. Fascinating. :)
pandora_parrot: (adventure)
Last night, I had an absolutely incredible adventure. I was meeting a friend that was in town from Oregon up at Thornton Beach. I was going to meet him and his friends up in Berkeley for a nice dinner, but plans got changed at the last minute. Of course they decided to take the *interesting* route to the beach, and scaled a 200-400 foot tall cliff to get down to it. When I arrived, the moon hadn't risen yet, so I was very confused about where everything was at. I could barely see, and all around me were very very steep cliffs descending down to the beach. I wandered around for probably a good half hour before giving up and asking my friend to meet me at the top of the cliffs. He showed up and brought me down the cliff.

Now, I've been starting to do this barefoot hiking thing lately. I'm really enjoying the feel of actually feeling the ground underneath my feet when I walk places. I mean, this is what your feet were made for! So when I arrived at the beach, I thought briefly about going barefoot, but when I saw all the terrain I had to cross, I decided against it. There were plants all over the place that I had to step on, sharp rocks, and tons of sand.

But while I was climbing down the cliff, I realized that I was having a lot of trouble with my shoes. I finally just said, "Fuck it." and took them off.

Suddenly, my climbing became a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable. I could actually feel the soft sand beneath my feet, as well as the cool rocks and the warm plants that I was stepping on. It was beautiful.

We arrived on the beach and made a huge bonfire in this awesome canyon and talked for a while. It was excellent. After a while, we got up and started walking back to the parking lot. Unfortunately, it was very dark and the moon had not yet risen high enough to provide us with any light, so we wound up walking far past the place where the ropes were laid out to help people climb down the cliff. We decided to find a spot that looked decent and ascend there.

We found the spot and began climbing. I still had my shoes off, and it felt great! We climbed the entire cliff, on sharp rocks and everything, and I never put my shoes on. Everyone else was wearing shoes and were surprised to hear that I wasn't, especially considering the terrain we were on. I loved it. I could feel my grip on the rocks beneath my feet and could more easily maneuver myself from foothold to foothold by not wearing shoes. While everyone else was slipping and sliding, I was pretty stable on my feet, except for my usual clumsiness with such things.

When we got to the top of the first bluff and I took a look at my feet. A few weeks ago, I had done a barefoot hike on an VERY hot day and got heat blisters all over my feet. Last night, all the wandering on the rocks basically tore those blisters from my feet. When I sat down, everyone started freaking out when they saw the chunks of flesh that were hanging off of my feet. But really, I was fine! My blisters had just worn off!

We continued the next ascent after we rested and hung out for a bit, and I felt a lot more sure of myself. I was even helping some of the others with their climb, because they were slipping and falling and having trouble finding their footing.

Although I had a an incredible time hiking last night, I did slip and scrape my foot on some rocks at one point, as well as my arm, so I do have a few cuts and scrapes to carry away from the experience, but nothing serious. Honestly, I like having a few battle scars. :)


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Pandora Parrot

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