alt=woman dressed in short dresses and high heels take a selfie on the subway while another woman looks on wistfully.

RA, Shoe Envy, and Mini Skirts

Last updated: June 2022

The other day I was walking down the street and saw a woman with great knees. I know, knees, really? But I have a feeling some of you will understand.

My swollen RA knees

Living with swollen knees for most of my life has felt like the bane of my existence at times, especially when I was a young woman and REALLY wanted to look good in a mini skirt. In college, my roommate once asked, “Do fat knees run in your family?” I had to think about it, and, not really understanding the concept of “fat knees,” as opposed to swollen knees, had no answer. Needless to say, the next time I was with my family I did try to figure it out, but came to the sad conclusion that I was the only one with “fat knees.”

Should I buy a mini skirt?

These days, my knees look pretty darn good if I say so myself, and it is almost embarrassing to admit how good that makes me feel and how much more confident I am wearing shorts. I don’t stare at the length of my shorts, wondering if they will hit me just where the swelling starts, making my legs look like tree trunks. The fact is, the only reason my knees look so good is the medication I take that finally got me to a steady state after years of struggling, but I still like to take a little bit of credit. I’m thinking about getting a short skirt, but I don’t want to push my luck….

Living with shoe envy

Besides my knee envy, I have shoe envy. Specifically, girly shoes with heels. These shoes have never been in my closet because if they were, they would be torturing me every time I look at them, let alone if I ever attempted to put one on. I used to love clogs, the closest thing I could ever stand wearing to a cute shoe. I’ve never admitted that I didn’t even attempt to get a date for my prom because I was worried about shoes. I knew I would be limping badly by the end of the night in any cute shoe, so I just didn’t go.

Saying "no" to late nights out

My last big envy is late-night fun. As a kid at sleepover parties, I would be exhausted to the point of seeing double by the time the other kids started to decide to go to bed. In college, I had my late-night heyday, mostly because I was living in NYC and there is no way I was going to miss out on all the fun, but I still had to say no to things and leave early more times than I wanted to. In my daydreams, I am visiting a big city, going out dancing in my miniskirt and high heels, and closing the place down.

I know that in the grand scheme of things, high heels and mini-skirts aren’t important, and maybe that’s why it’s easy to have shoe and knee envy instead of focusing on all of the other, more important things I’ve lost out on over the years.

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