For as long as I can remember I have hated wearing shoes. When I was in elementary school, I lived next door to my great grandparents so naturally I visited often. The driveway separating our houses was gravel – most definitely not the most comfortable thing to walk across barefoot. My tiny feet (I’m nineteen now and I’d say they’ve upgraded from tiny to small) became accustomed to the rocks I had to traverse and it no longer bothered me. I climbed trees barefoot. I ran across pavement in the middle of July barefoot. None of it mattered to me, because if I didn’t have to wear shoes, I wasn’t going to.

I still hate wearing shoes.

Now, from what I can tell, the sense of touch is the most overlooked of the five senses until something happens that causes your brain to react – like when you touch a hot stove. Personally, I believe that touch is the most essential sense. If I can feel something, it immediately becomes more real. I suppose that’s why I prefer to receive love in the form of physical touch – a hug lets me know that the person I’m embracing loves me. It’s tangible. You can’t deny feeling a hug the way that you can deny hearing the words “I love you.”

So I like being barefoot. I like feeling the ground on the bottom of my feet. So I run through fields or across pavement and each step pulses through me saying, “You’re alive. This is real. You have a life to live. Live it.”

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