Dangerous Compassions

how my Tevas got me through homelessness

how my Tevas got me through homelessness

Hello, I started a post called how my Tevas got me through homelessness.  What do you think?  Great topic, huh.

Unfortunately, my housing remains insecure.  I am not super homed, right now.  Ming and I are address-free.  We are vacationing without a homebase.  It’s stressful and difficult, but we continue to learn soooooooooo much.

We spent a month on a “permaculture farm” in Ojai, California.  Then almost a month on a small farm in Oregon.  We’re in process with three housing co-ops in two different states, and in conversation with a farmer in yet another state about visiting then living with her.  Many things are possible, but nothing is settled.


Some years ago, I wanted a pair of Tevas.  They looked trustworthy somehow.  I flirted with the idea of embodying a Teva trope.  They were popular in Santa Barbara, and I did my undergrad at UC Santa Barbara.  I associated Tevas with beach hikes and chill dogs.  Some mythical easy life with moderate temperatures, where real shoes are not necessary.

Many years later I started researching Tevas.  This was about two years ago, when Ming and I lived in Las Vegas.  Wow, Tevas cost more than I thought they did.  They looked simple like they would not be hard to make.

But I wanted something more substantial and possibly supportive than malwart flip flops.  That seemed a kindness to my whole body.  Would I wear my Tevas with socks or without?  Probably without.



I found a pair in colors I liked on ebay.  They were still expensive.  But I hoped I would love them and wear them for many years.  They arrived, and I was excited.  Yay, new shoes!

But they were not all that comfortable.  There’s a spot where a strap comes together and joins the plastic footbed, and it rubbed me weird.  It slightly hurt.  Ugh, not so great.  Sometimes it really bothered me, and I was like–I guess Tevas are not for me.

But I had a health issue with my toes.  My toe tips were tender and sore.  Wearing real shoes was ouchie, so I wanted to wear sandals all the time.  I started wearing my Tevas again on the daily.

Then I developed a different toe issue where my toes became photosensitive.  Sitting in the sun, which is part of my wellness–to sun for 20 minutes a day–started to be a difficulty.  Afterward my toes would burn like crazy.

I wished I had little umbrellas for my toes.  It was confusing, to know how to take care of my body.  Like almost always, a doctor’s visit was pointless.  They never figured out what the issue was.  It wasn’t a fungal thing of being too wet–the issue wasn’t between my toes or on the bottom.  It was with the skin on the tops of my toes.

One doctor thought it might be herpes on my toes.  Then maybe a staph infection.  They shamed me for my fatness and prescribed medications I never used.  Yep–like usual.  It resolved on its own.


How is it, hearing a saga of foot health?  Luckily, I could walk through all of this, and I was riding trike a lot.  Definitely I could still ride trike.

Okay, so then fast forward a year and a half.  Ming and I were moving to the Bay Area.  But oops–we did not feel safe where we were supposed to land.  We felt unsafe to the point of “no housing is better than unsafe housing.”  We’d put all our stuff in storage, and suddenly we became homeless unexpectedly.

I only had one pair of shoes with me–these Tevas.  As I wore them more and more, that place where they rubbed me wrong resolved.  Did the sandals change, or did I?  Maybe it was collaborative.  Pretty weird how something as seemingly insignificant as a pair of shoes could affect my life that much.


Ming and I were caring for chickens in Ojai.  Man, I loved those chickens.  But I realized that as I walked in the coop to gather eggs, refill their water, and move around compost buckets, my feet were contacting materials that had a lot of chicken action.  There were flies, bugs, poop, and I knew there were microscopic things going on with bacteria.  I was afraid a small scratch on my foot might get infected from bumping these dirty things, on a twice daily basis.

Yes, I took a shower every day, but it was in a shared shower in this community.  I wanted to be kind to my feet, so I decided to get some shoes.  That led to me asking on a freecycle type social media group for shoes and pillow fill, which was an adventure of its own.

I got three pairs of shoes and gave away two pairs.  The ugliest pair fit me best.  That’s why you might see me in some butt ugly supportive senior shoes.  I wish I could cover them in glitter or put some wings on them.  But I hate how glitter gets everywhere.  Still thinking how to pretty them up.

how my Tevas got me through homelessness

I wear my Tevas almost every day.  Today Ming and I are traveling to stay with a friend in her apartment, then elsewhere to stay in a friend’s warehouse for three nights.  Then back to the Bay Area to stay at the house of other friends for almost a week.

My Tevas are sturdy, and I like how the adjustable velcro straps accommodate my feet, which are larger and wider and plumper than your average feet.  I keep the ankle straps loose and slip in and out of them like slippers.  They do me well.  I don’t have to think about them too much, and life is easier when socks are optional.

If you are ever homeless, I would suggest this type of shoes, depending on the climate and season, how ruggedly you hike, and what you find comfortable.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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