Death In Heels
Another area that wakes my anxiety is shoe shopping. I hate shopping in general. I always manage to get a headache when I go shopping so I keep this to a bare minimum. It may also have to do with the fact that I do not like places that have a lot of people. I hate crowds. I like to be in open space by myself. A store with 10 people is crowded for me. I cannot wait to leave and almost do this as soon as I realize how many people are in the store. I don’t go to malls for this very reason. They are always so crowded and I cannot stand being in such an environment especially voluntarily.
Anyway, I digress. Back to the topic at hand, shoe shopping. I don’t wear heels. Not in the true sense of heels anyway. The highest I can wear is a 2 inch heel and it has to be a closed shoe. I can never wear stilettos. I have witnessed my death in stilettos and will not ever wear them. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to. I would love to wear a 6 inch pair of stilettos and walk in them without the fear of sweaty feet getting in the way, causing the fall that ends my life. I have always had a recurring nightmare of wearing heels and falling flat on my face, and somehow ending up dead all because my feet were sweating and couldn’t balance in the shoes as they were slipping.
And as you can imagine, this nightmare occurred a lot when I was awake. I never participated in wedding line ups because of the same thing. Just the thought of being the center of attention would have the familiar tingly sensation start that sometimes precedes the sweating. And both my hands and feet start to sweat at the same time, kind of like it is synchronized to do so. I kind of find this cool, how they start to sweat at exactly the same time, with the same tingly feeling experienced in both hands and feet.
The actual sweating is not as cool though. I tend to be the person in the room in a sweater when everyone else is in t-shirts because I am almost always cold. There is a long standing joke about me in my family of me being a cold-blooded person unlike everyone else. This is because my hands and feet are almost always cold, freezing cold at times despite being in-doors. None of my family members ever question why I feel the need to wear a sweater on a day that they all find warm enough to wear plain tees anymore.
They have come to understand that I get cold, that I am cold more than half the time and that I can be spotted wearing something warm in humid 90 degree weather. The part I hate though is sweating through the armpits because I am warm yet cold at the same time. In this case, there is no win for me. Removing the sweater means I feel cold, keeping it on means I am sweating because part of me is warm. But I would rather be warm than cold so chances are the sweater stays on.
Suffering from hyperhidrosis comes with more negatives than one. Through my fourth grade teacher, I had my first experience of some form of stigma though I did not know that’s what it was at the time. According to Arboleda-Florez, stigma is a social construction whereby a distinguishing mark of social disgrace is attached to others in order to identify and to devalue them. From that day, that teacher was somewhat aloof towards me, never really having any physical contact with me.
It bothered me until I realized I could pretty much get away with a few minor things like making noise when she was out, submitting homework later than everyone else and generally getting out of punishment when she decided the whole class deserved to be punished for one reason or the other. I was always the exception to any form of punishment. My peers wondered why I was not punished but never really voiced their concerns or opinions, preferring instead to keep quiet about it. None of them really knew I had a sweating condition despite the “little incident” with the teacher.
To be continued…