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Comfortable In My Own Shoes

So, I’ve got this pair of boots... tan, leather, Justin ropers. One million years ago I, a liberal New Englander vegetarian, was dating a Texan whose family owned a cattle ranch (like for eating…). On a roadtrip out there to meet his family and watch his sister ride in the rodeo in town we stopped in Waco and I bought these boots. I was pretty broke and the almost $200 price tag blew my hair back but we were attending a real-live rodeo and I was determined to ‘not look like a tourist.’ I remembered choosing the roper variety because they didn’t have a thick heel. The Texan wasn’t much taller than me and back then I kinda gave a shit about being taller than a dude. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman hadn’t yet conquered the ‘tall woman/short man’ debacle. The only duos like that that I could rely on were Sonny and Cher or that couple from LA Law and though I loved Cher I just didn’t have the self-confidence yet to tower over a man and not give a crap. So, I wore them to the rodeo and after that to the square dance in the hollowed out barn nearby. These country folks were for real and it was super fun and authentic and I had a great time and despite my effort, with my brand new, nearly-neon boots on, I completely stood out like the six-foot, knucklehead tourist I was but what surprised me later was how much I didn’t care. I had gen-u-ine Texas cowboy boots on my feet and goshdarnit I was line dancing! Badly! It was a fun weekend but suffice to say, the best thing I got out of that relationship were the boots.

Well, since then, these boots have been through it all with me. I loved holes right into their original soles and I’m working my way through another set. I’ve worn them in rain, shine, snow, good, bad, ups, downs, first dates, casual hangouts, air travel, Europe, the beach, the winter streets of Chicago and Boston and beyond. These kickers are so in tune with my body that even though I bought them in my early twenties when my feet were size eights after pushing three babies out of my body in my thirties my feet have spread to size nines and these boots beautifully expanded with them. I’m grateful to the Texan because in the way we weren’t fated to go the distance together he introduced me to the magical boots that were. We found each other in Waco and we are literally walking this journey, through this life together. And when I leave it, rest assured I'll be wearing them. But for now, they are perfect in their ‘belonging’ in my life. I love these boots. They make me feel like me. I wouldn’t call them my ‘lucky boots,’ though. I don’t believe in ‘luck’ per se, beyond feeling like a lucky or better said grateful human being.

My son tried my boots on this week because he’s got great taste and as any mom knows basically nothing we own will ever be entirely ‘ours’ or off-limits in our kids' eyes. He is twelve, growing like a weed, eating everything in sight and is now almost my height. The boots were snug on him. Phew. I laughed with relief and promised him that I will get him his own pair when he graduates high school and he stops growing like a maniac. I can’t think of a better gift to give my child than a pair of boots to walk through and experience life in.

And so, here I sit in a coffee shop in Hollywood with my beautiful boots molded around my feet, about to go into a meeting and thinking how nice it feels in my forties to be so comfortable in my own shoes.

© 2016 by Marion McNabb Grace

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