Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wrapping It Up. ODWS.

After a full week of BUSY, let's wrap up ONE DAY WITHOUT SHOES.  I'd love to hear, not only how you participated, but also your thoughts on the effectiveness of the day, and the overall impressions of the outside world as you've heard.  If you share how you participated and a picture, via my blog and/or link on facebook, you will be entered into a drawing for your choice of a free pair of TOMS shoes.  Okay, since I asked, I'll go first.

Initially, I met with 3 other friends for a morning run as I do every Tuesday and Thursday.  We decided this Tuesday would follow the same schedule as the norm.

Swim Team Moms Meeting for a Run

Reluctantly I will admit, the run morphed into more of a jog as running barefooted outdoors in 40 degrees while pushing 45 lbs of babies in the jogger proved more uncomfortable than we anticipated.   However, we did persevere for an hour...with a few stares and much wonderment, I might add.  The end results were cold, sore feet boasting a reasonable amount of dirt.

Because our children attend swim team practice at the local junior college, we meandered onto the campus and into their gym.  Interestingly enough, college students appeared far less concerned with the dissidence of barefooted, middle-aged women trapezing around their campus.  

Next, I hosted a barefoot coffee at my favorite local cafe.  Some of my favorite people joined me for free caffeinated beverages.  Not a bad deal if I do say so myself.  Truth be told, I asked the manager/owner prior to arrival.  This seemed the best route to ensure or feral group would avoid ejection.  The cafe graciously welcomed us, and I believe they quite liked the attention it brought.  The gazes of on-lookers at the cafe proved this venue was less aware of ONE DAY WITHOUT SHOES.  I was grateful for my comrades  and the safety of numbers. 

Barefooted Comrades at the Cafe

After school and our normal commitments, all completed without shoes, my youngest two children and I visited a local park with a friend.  Many people pointed and stared.  Many whispered.  No one asked why we didn't have shoes.  I believe most people formed their own assumptions.  I wished for a sign saying, "I'm raising awareness, people.  Why don't you take your shoes off and join me?"

The most difficult point of my day occurred late afternoon.  I dropped Preston off with Daddy for their barefooted t-ball practice; then, Ann headed to gymnastics.  Mez and I braved Hunter's multi-school track meet all alone.  You see, there's something about a group and commonality that gave me confidence.  Once in a crowd of strangers, I realized I was being watched and judged, avoided and scrutinized (being a trans-racial family only adds to the mystique).  In that moment, as I reached into my purse to get my spare pair of TOMS, I envisaged the million, who go shoeless without choice.  I appreciated this  IS what it must feel like to not own shoes.  They couldn't grab a spare set of shoes from their purse.  There is no tomorrow for them to return to, no "norm" void of gawking and filled with ease and comfort of shoes.  I was embarrassed; but I was glad.

Tuesday evening, I worked barefooted at the Children's Clothing Consignment Sale...what an experience.  I went home feeling filthy from head to feet; but that's not the end of it.  Wednesday, our classical school, Classical Conversations, participated in ODWS.  What fun!  Over 65 children/families tossed off their tinnies.  

Naked Tootsies at Classical Conversations

Now, for my thoughts on ODWS:  I have quite a few friends that never intend to participate.  I have friends, who find the idea ridiculous.  I had friends commenting it wasn't 'very smart' to go without shoes because it could cause injury and/or infection.  A few thought I threw caution to the wind as I allowed my children to experience it alongside me.  Then, there were those, who recklessly kicked off their shoes and proudly pronounced the predicament of the poor around the globe.  No one lacked opinion.  GOOD!  All of these people, each one, were part of raising awareness.  That was the point of the day.  Regardless of our persuasion, when we lend an ear, share a story of the 'crazies' around us, join a cause, or reason ourselves out of or into participating, we create a ripple or a even a wave that produces change.  I liked ODWS.  I liked it so much, I'm making one last effort... giving away 2 pairs of TOMS...one to a person, who enters the drawing...the other pair is TOMS gift to a person in need (buy one, give one).


  1. This was my first year doing ODWS. I decided at the very last minute to participate. I chronicled my day on fb but because I hadn't talked about it beforehand most people had no idea what I was doing until after the fact. I didn't see very many people that day. I was babysitting for a friend and I was at her house for about 12 hours. I made a very quick run (limp - my feet are babies) into Aldi but only about 5 people were there. I don't think I raised much awareness outside of fb.

    Next year I'm thinking of a t-shirt or something that will get my message out. How about "Go ahead and ask" or "I know you wanna know" or "You'll never know unless you ask." I will also be plan ahead and try to get out and about. I'm a nurse so I'm pretty sure it won't be able to go without shoes at work.

    Here is a link to a picture on fb but I'm not sure if you can see it since we are not friends.

    I may not have impacted a lot of other people but going two days without shoes (I invited people to go shoeless the next day) really impacted me. I already have a heart for the needy but now my feet feel for them too.

    Hmm..."My feet feel for them." Just thinking out loud here but I should probably just see what other people have done.

  2. @Faith- Thank you for sharing. TOMS does a great t-shirt. I wore mine. People still didn't get it. I love that you were willing to go it alone. That's harder. I've entered you into the drawing. Good luck!

  3. Lori, ODWS opened my eyes to what people go through that don't have shoes. I think we take for granted what we have. I normaly go without shoes at the house but have slip-ons to go out side. To feel the hot pavement and hard objects under my feet really made feel blessed that we have shoes and they are so easy to attain.

  4. The materialism that has set her hooks into America will be part of her undoing. So many are so needy. So many Americans confuse their wants with their needs. Thank you for not being afraid to stand up against the Tylerite crowd! They can be quite vicious if you don't conform.... "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate"