My boots have been particularly heavy lately. I’ve always wanted to just take them off, stuff them in a closet, and be done with it. But that’s not really how it works. Heavy or light, our boots are always on.
Sometimes my boots get unbearably heavy like when I think about how unappreciative I’ve been to Mom and how she probably won’t be around to apologize to for much longer. Sometimes my boots get heavy when I think about all the people that I love who I know deep down don’t really love me. Sometimes my boots get heavy when I go to bed with someone and realize I never really much liked them, and that the only feeling between us was my pride. Sometimes my boots get heavy when I realize that most people won’t get it when I say, “my boots are heavy.”
It’s not always like this, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes my boots are light, like when the Christmas lights are strung and the family is together again. Sometimes my boots are light, like when old friends aren’t sad about the way their lives have turned out and I’m not guilty about the way I’m leading mine. Light boots are hard, too, though, because you realize they may never be this light again.
It’s a perverse thing really, but there’s no place that’s sadder than the apex, the top of the roller coaster of human experience, where you dangle your boots over the edge and see that everything is straight down. And it moves fast. I guess that’s a sort of consolation in a way: the ride will eventually end, things will plateau, and it doesn’t matter if our legs are hanging over the car’s edge because they’ll eventually touch the ground. We don’t really have a choice. I mean, our boots will come off some time or another, and yet, when I really think about it, when I really ask myself if I want them off now, I’m not so sure I do. As much as they weigh me down they keep me from running too fast, from breezing through days and months and years.
I suppose that’s a little odd, to not want to fly through life without a semblance of heaviness, but then again a day of floating blankly through encounters and emotions wouldn’t be very memorable, either. I guess memories of trudging through a day in heavy boots aren’t always beautiful, but they produce feelings and help us decide when we need to zip ourselves up in a sleeping bag of personal feelings and when we can let the blankets fall to the ground and be ourselves.
One of my greatest desires is to be able to make people feel like they’re in my pajamas around me, totally at ease, their boots light as feathers. In order to figure out how to make people feel like that, though, I have to wear my boots full-time. It’s my duty, you could say. So, I guess when it comes down to it, I’d rather have my boots on, heavy as they may be.
So whether your boots are heavy or if you’re unaware that you’re even wearing them at all, I wish you luck along your journey. Keep your boots on, tightly laced, for they will take you places — like through your thoughts as you make the decision to unzip your sleeping bag of emotions and step out into the world. After all, the heavier the boot, the deeper the mark. So whether you trudge or you float, your boots will be on. Don’t try to kick them off. Not now. Not quite yet.
**A big thank you to Jonathan Safran Foer and Manola Gonzalez for the inspiration.