“Best Of”…2017-a

From: J.P.W.

Date: 4-23-2017

Subject: Why I go Barefoot (Statement Social media)

I started going barefoot in the rural backwoods I grew up in. It didn’t cause much of a fuss there. There was no one around to even notice. It wasn’t until I started going to the mall and such as a teen that I started getting that tap on my shoulder “Excuse me, sir, you need to have shoes…”

Being impudent, I asked why. The answers were never satisfying. My feet have no impact on anyone else’s health or safety. All these dangers that have been cited are either completely false or grossly overblown. It is obvious to me what the real problem is. I am a walking violation of Western social mores. Bare feet are for many people, a form of nudity. Feet are the most sexually charged part of the body that you can expose without getting arrested. Some people are really bothered when they see them.

I do not intend to convert anyone else into throwing out their shoes. It isn’t all good. Though a far cry from having a different color skin tone in this culture, I have, to some extent, voluntarily surrendered some of my so-called “white male privilege”. I have made myself a painted bird. I have weathered plenty of hostility, ridicule, and sometimes surprisingly violent anger. I am sure there has been a real cost in terms of lost opportunities. Perhaps some good jobs were lost after HR personnel searched through my social media and discovered all manner of un-corporate behavior including my going barefoot everywhere. I am sure some people I might have enjoyed having a relationship with in some form or another were turned off before we got a chance to talk.

Of course, I thought about this deeply when I entered into the adult world. It seemed obvious that I should have quit this. I should grow up, dress like a “man”. It seemed obvious that I should fall in line… be practical… productive…

Then I fell into a dark depression. Not for this reason but because of many others. I emerged after having more fully penetrated all the phoniness of the adult world… all the b––––––– we accept for no good reason. I decided then that I would not be “practical”. I decided that I would be an artist instead. I decided to conduct my life consistent with my own values rather than society’s. As an artist, I feel it is important to have a unique perspective of this world. I can say, without a doubt, going barefoot all my life has changed me physiologically. It has changed me psychologically. If it offends you, I am not sorry. My feet have nothing to do with you. Your problem with it is your own.

I find much in this culture that is far more offensive… our narcissism… our greed… our materialism. We got bigger problems than having a barefoot weirdo walking around. As much trouble as it causes me, I think my stubborn refusal to conform has a lot to do with the fact that I like that I bring a little color to the world. I am for people misbehaving in harmless ways. I am for the people who seek to set the world free to become larger and more beautiful. I am against those who wish to control it… make it smaller and darker… so… yeah… going barefoot is the least I can do for this world.