These Boots Are Made for Walking

When I moved from Arizona to Washington, D.C., my grandma bought me a pair of LL bean winter boots, with the classic duck rubber shoe and a fleece-lined, calf-height upper. In The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the author has you pick up each item you own to see if it sparks joy (if not, you toss it). I was surprised by the visceral memory that flooded me when I picked up these boots.

I remembered waking up before the sun and putting on my all black Starbucks uniform, layering on my winter coat, scarf, hat, and gloves. Last, I stuffed my feet, protected by two layers of socks and a pair of leg warmers, into my winter boots. I tucked my pants into the boots too, and trudged the very short 2 blocks to work. At the height of my eating disorder, my atrophied legs struggled to lift the weight of the boot, with it’s thick rubber sole and heel, high enough to clear the foot of snow on my front steps and sidewalk, too early to have been salted or melted. I could feel my heart skip a beat as it attempted to keep up with the exertion. 

These boots made me unspeakably sad. Had I been carrying this memory around with me, figuratively and literally, every time I wore them? Being my only winter shoes for 7 years, that’s a very long time, yet it felt extravagant to replace them.

In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to keep wearing them, embodying this old me I have worked so hard to repair. The only Black Friday purchase I made this year was these absolutely beautiful handmade boots from Manitoba Mukluks. They had everything I was looking for: minimalist (flexible sole without a heel- with the bonus of being an actual piece of art! see photo below), waterproof, and they are an indigenously owned company in Canada with gorgeous products designed by local artists. 

I’m hoping this investment will help me walk with a lighter and brighter step this Winter. The holidays can be a hard time for people, myself included. This year, I am making a conscious decision to get rid of the negative experiences and memories (where  I can), and to cultivate and invite a little more joy into my life. Is there something from your past you’ve been holding onto that you need to let go, physically or emotionally? I'd love to hear similar feelings or stories in the comments!

Val OliphantComment