Dissociation makes you less aware of your body and your surroundings. We all do it to some degree, some of the time — but when it’s severe and/or constant, it’s a problem.
While I was on my trip in Algonquin Park I had some major epiphanies that showed how dissociative I was in the past. The most surprising realization I had is that I actually take a size 11 woman’s running shoe, but had been wearing 8.5/9 runners all my adult life. There is no logical explanation for why I thought it was normal to wear shoes that consistently made my feet BLEED, to the point of scarring. This is how dissociation works: at the time, I knew my feet got a “little” blistered and I was somewhat aware that they bled. But I blocked out the pain and didn’t ever think that maybe I needed bigger shoes. I had no idea how shoes were supposed to fit. See, I was used to being grateful for the fact I had shoes at all (I usually only had one pair of shoes at a time). When I was growing up I couldn’t ask for clothes and I remember trying to hot-glue my only pair of shorts together for gym class when the zipper busted.
So when I was running after a moose in Algonquin and my feet got sore, Willow realized that something was wrong and I started wearing her runners instead (size 10 men’s). Today we got rid of all my old shoes and got me three pairs that actually fit: cute flats, nice boots, and runners (Value Village for the win!). I keep exclaiming in amazement how great they feel and how wonderful it is to be comfortable. I’ve never experienced this before and it’s blowing my mind.