life as i know it

"...everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." -Sylvia Plath

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday Scribblings - "My Shoes"

The thing about shoes is that each pair carries a story, or multiple stories in some cases. Every pair of shoes is much more than just two matching pieces of footwear. They carry memories and adventures, heartaches and joyous celebrations. Maybe that is why it is so hard to give away our old pairs of shoes. Even after multiple moves and countless attempts at “simplifying”, my closet still holds an array of shoes. And each pair has its own story.

The dingy white Converse sneakers purchased when I was 11 years old (and yes, they still fit) have walked many miles across varied paths. The faded remnants of inked doodles are still faintly visible if you look at the inside soles. The word “Texas” was once carefully written there in my youthful innocence, fueled by my fantasy of one day moving to the state of great open spaces and marrying a cowboy. Over the years, many boys’ names were also imprinted on the soles in black ink…hopeful markings of where I wanted my feet to lead me…namely, into the arms of those various boys.

Then there were the wooden sandal clogs…quite impractical shoes but perfectly fitting for the bohemian sundresses of my early adolescence. Despite the pain my feet endured, I wore those sandals on many adventures, down sandy paths that led to the midnight shore and across cobblestone streets in historic cities of the South. With my hand gingerly clasped in the hand of my first true love, we walked by the Savannah River smoking clove cigarettes and dreaming of a freedom that we could not fathom at the age of fourteen.

My black combat boots, now nestled in the back of my closet, a tribute to my days of adolescent rebellion. They were THE shoes, the shoes I was known for and remembered for. At the ages of 16 and 17, I wore those boots everywhere. Inspired by Drew Barrymore in the movie “Mad Love”, I put on long flowing dresses and my combat boots and imagined that the craziness in my head would somehow imbue me with the romantic beauty she so courageously portrayed in the movie. Even on Sunday mornings, as my parents nagged me to get out of bed and get ready for church, I insisted on wearing those boots. In a time when I struggled to establish my own identity, my black combat boots gave me one I could borrow until I could find myself on my own.

My old brown leather clogs, weathered by years and trials, still sit at the forefront of my closet. These are the shoes I wear when my pager goes off at 3 a.m. and I hurriedly jump into my dark green scrubs and head to one of 14 emergency rooms. These shoes walk the stark white hospital floors, sometimes stepping over puddles of blood or other bodily fluids. These shoes carry me into rooms of heartache and despair, rooms that have lost all sense of hope or basis of reality. These are the shoes that keep me strong when someone’s life is hanging by a thread. They are the shoes that guide me as I talk to doctors and police and families and patients. They are the shoes that help me save lives.

And perhaps most central to the past 10 years of my life are my black Reef flip-flops. These are my “everyday” shoes, the ones that walk through puddles of rain and then dance in the park just because the urge strikes. These are the ones I wear when I’m driving to the beach or to school or to the mall. They have walked on mountain trails, on sandy beaches, in the open desert, and in foreign lands. They’ve protected my tender soles (and soul) from hot pavement and burning fears. With speckles of white and blue and green paint barely visible after years of daily life, they hold a thousand stories and a million memories. These black flip-flops carry a piece of me and my life.

So there you have it…the stories of my shoes. Holding innocence and dreams, rebellion and uncertainty, romance and hope, death and fear…holding life, these shoes have walked many paths and will walk many more.


At 2:16 PM, Blogger megg said...

this was wonderful! I had completely forgotten about my own shoe-doodles! I had a pair of similar converse & I think they have been sent away by my Mom. Your shoes and their stories show your open, wonderful, sweet heart for it's beauty. You are a very strong, gentle soul. I even admire your shoes!! Sending huge love to you, my friend!

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Love this... especially the "everyday" shoes!

At 3:04 PM, Blogger paris parfait said...

Great story of all your shoes and how difficult it is to discard them!

At 4:16 PM, Anonymous JavaCurls said...

Isn't it amazing how something as simple as shoes have so many memories. I can completely relate! Especially with your Converse sneaks!

At 6:19 AM, Blogger Jessie said...

I love this post. I read it last night and then found myself thinking about it several times later on. I especially liked the part about the boots. I had an pair back in my grunge days too! Actually, I think they are the pair I want to write about--as soon as I have time!

Meanwhile, your writing is wonderful. So many sides of your personality came out in this...and that's the thing with shoes--each pair holds a piece of who we are.

One of these days I'm gonna send you a nice long e-mail. Life has been too busy. I miss you! I wish we could put on our big black boots and go for a walk right about now.

lots of love to you!

At 7:57 AM, Blogger baylor said...

I had a pair of converse in every single color in elementary school. (ironically, my office currently smells of that very distinct rubber converse smell and it is making me sick)

I also love Reef sandals. I want some in black. But live in my pink pair and just got a blue pair! xoxo


At 8:47 AM, Blogger GoGo said...

Love it! You said the words I wanted to say with concise feeling. I haven't been to your page in a minute, too busy wrapping up school stuff. I have missed it to say the least. Look for back post comments coming soon!

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Tammy said...

Only my Tara can make music out of shoes. I loved it! I hope you are having some fun!


At 11:29 AM, Blogger la vie en rose said...

beautiful shoe stories!

At 1:48 PM, Blogger V said...

A neat way to Reminisce.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Loralee Choate said...

I just did a post that had a pair of my favorite shoes in them. Red thongs with white strips that look kind of like tennis shoes.

I've worn them to death. The lining is worn through at the toes and the soles are coming off. I should throw them away, but I am so reluctant to.

Shoes are somewhat like old friends to me and they are not easily discarded.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Susannah said...

This was beautiful Tara, i love the way you weave your words

At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was great...we have similar shoe stories (and taste in shoes). :)

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I came across this post while searching online for something entirely unrelated. Your comment about walking in Savannah, smoking cloves, and dreaming of freedom, caught my eye--could have been written about me! I'm from southeast GA too, and when I was a teenager, Savannah was always where we'd sneak out to, to hang around the coffeehouses and try to be older than we were. We used dream about getting far away from our little hometown. We talked about just getting on hwy 80 and taking it all the way to LA. Now I have gotten far away (really far away, Hawaii) but reading this post brought me back home again! Thanks for writing this blog.


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