My parents tell me I was a special little girl when I appeared, crying and slimy in my first moments of birth. And whose parents don’t say that? Each child born to a loving home has parents or guardians who believe their child is incredible, beautiful and of course, slightly above average. But not every parent can brag that their child was born with twelve toes.
In actuality, it was eleven and a half. My pinkie toe on my right foot was a full formed functional toe, healthy and fit as toes are concerned. My toe on my left foot however branched out in a peace sign shape; a physical representation of the proverbial “fork in the road” which may explain my chronic indecisiveness. Polydactyly, the condition of being born with additional fingers or toes, was not dangerous to my health in any way unless one includes the inability to find shoes in the mall. As is custom, my additional digits were removed when I was about 6 months old and I sat about in my baby foot casts until my scars had healed.
I have no memory of having extra toes or of the surgery though I know it was painful for my mother to watch her small baby girl go through such an extensive procedure. My scars on either side run about halfway down my foot and have grown smooth with age. At pool parties when I wore flipflops or in taking off my pointe shoes after ballet, friends would ask me about my feet. I was shy, at first, in revealing the reason for my scars: 2 pinkie toes for the price of 1. But I started to enjoy the strangeness of my feet and at 21 years old, I don’t think about my phantom digits much, if at all.
So why name a blog the Twelve-toed Traveler? As some of you may have noticed, the titles of my blog have changed over the last couple of days. I didn’t want Tsukada Travel Time indicating all I wrote about was traveling. The name had to represent me in my life–yesterday, today, and the hazy, bright future of tomorrow. With help from my good friend Mikaela, we decided on Twelve-toed Traveler as an expression of who I am and where I want to go.
Many people, upon hearing my toes explanation, ask me why I never kept them. This question is followed by what happened to them, to my little baby toes. I didn’t keep my toes because 1) I could not yet speak and had no say 2) I love shoes too much to wear Crocs or flip flops for the rest of my life and 3) I think my baby self already had dreams of dancing. Did I keep my toes in a jar to remind me of my slightly more eccentric self? Of course not. Unlike the tooth fairy, no one comes to give you money when you leave toes under your pillow at night. Although it does conjure an interesting mental image…
So there you have it, the reason for my blog and the little known fact about my feet. Wherever I go in life, I know I’ll bring my feet along. Sure, for practical reason, but also because my feet are a story about the time I was born with just a little something extra.