As usual, everyone else always has the good ideas. This one comes from CableGirl. Go check her out and add your name to the list. I love Flashback Friday!
Three years ago I bought a pair of red boots. Cowboy boots. It took me two years after actually seeing the boots before I bought them. My justification-and what I tell everyone in my real life-was that it took me that long to be able to save up the money to buy them, and that is partly true, but an even larger part of my reluctance to purchase the red boots was rooted in fear. I know, I know, afraid to buy red boots? What a freak! Still, strange or not, it was very real, very there.
See, I am not in any way a “country girl,” nor am I a “cowgirl.” I love horses, true, and would love to own one again someday, but I have no desire to suddenly become a barrel racer and wear Wranglers. I don’t live on or near a farm, and though I used to work on a ranch and loved it, it was also just a job that put food on the table, not a calling by any means. In my mind, the wearing of red boots put me in this category of being a hick, of walking around with a straw in my mouth, spitting tobacco and scratching my ass in public and listening to, god, Willie fucking Nelson. So that was one reason I was afraid to buy the red boots, because I was afraid that overnight I would turn into the poor equivalent of, I don’t know, Dolly Parton.
But in case any of you are particularly observant today, you will notice that the word red is continually highlighted, because that is the biggest reason it took me so long to actually buy the boots. Not just because they were cowboy boots, but because they were, you got it, RED. I am not the kind of person to wear red. In fact, until The Boots, I never actually owned anything red. Not a shirt, pair of socks, underwear, nothing. Not because I don’t like red, but because it is such a bright color. It so…well, red.
I have spent the majority of my adult life simply trying to blend in. Not do or say anything that might be noticed, not to wear clothes that might make me stand out in any way. All of the clothes in my closet were brown, white, green, and blue-and not bright shades of those colors, but the most bland, soft permutations of them. Khakis for work, Levi’s for home. That’s it. I loved getting an office job because then I could pretty much wear the same thing every day and get away with it. I used to live my whole LIFE this way, just going along and trying to escape notice. There are a lot of reasons for this, which some of you know, and it is funny how things just stay with you as being a safe thing to do.
So these boots called to me, for two long years. Every time we were at the store in which I found them, I would stand there and look at them. Try them on. Carry them around the store with me just in case, you know, I might actually buy them. And then I would trudge back to the shelf and put them back, thinking, “Nope, not this time.” This went on for, like I said, two years, until one day I just thought “Fuck it” and took them to the cash register with me. And paid. And took them home.
And then I didn’t have anything to match the boots, so I had to get a red shirt. I wore them on a Friday Casual day, and I felt loud and conspicuous and just-not like me. But people noticed, and they complimented me, and I got through the day. So then I had to get a red sweater, because it was starting to get chilly, and I wore them to the grocery store. Nobody said anything, but I noticed I felt better. More alive. Almost, well, I’ll go right ahead and say it, sexy. Which, like the whole cowgirl image, is not a feeling I would ever have ascribed to myself.
In the last three years, I have totally branched out. I wear orange now, and of course the red, and even some lime green and light blue. Not pastel blue, and you will still find that the only pink thing I own or will wear is a ratty old t-shirt that I used when I clean house, but my wardrobe has changed. Because I have changed. It isn’t about being noticed or NOT being noticed, but about feeling comfortable with who I am, and wearing what I like. What I want to wear. I don’t buy clothes very often, but when I do, I make sure I will not just wear it, but love it. I buy them because I like the way they make me feel, and it really doesn’t matter so much how they look. And I know that the change wasn’t brought about by the red boots; I know that the change is internal, that it is about finally deciding that life is too shirt to spend it shrinking into the background and trying to escape unnoticed. The red boots were simply an external manifestation of the major internal housecleaning I had been doing.
Today? Yep, wearing the boots. And a red sweater and some hip-huggers that are NOT, in fact, Levi’s. I am also wearing all four earrings (two in each ear), and a silver ring. None of them are flashy-simple silver hoops, simple silver ring, but they are jewelry. They look good with the clothes, and with the slight tan I got last weekend. I am listening to the play list I created yesterday (and you can check out what I like by clicking on the little icon down at the bottom of the page), because it is music I LIKE. I ate oatmeal for breakfast again, not because it is healthy or filling or any of that crap, but because, again, I like it. And I am finding myself grateful again for the red boots. For me.