I walked a few feet and stopped to pull up my left boot. A few yards later I stopped again, tugged it up, and retied the laces. The right boot stayed in place with no problems, but for the entire day, the left boot refused to cooperate, and I gave up on trying to force it to conform. These were slouchy, suede knee high boots, and I certainly could have solved the problem by slouching the right boot down to the level of the left, but I refused. Instead, I walked around with one boot firmly in place, and the other drifting towards my ankle.
I would rather have half of my footwear the way I want them than to have both boots in a mediocre half-alert state. This way, one side of my profile will satisfy me. I have learned that perfection is unobtainable in things like boots, housekeeping, or writing. In all areas of life, “I’m trying” is the look I can achieve with any degree of regularity. “Put-together” is for other people with more skills than I.
At some point, I have to leave the house and accept that I am enough as I am—wonky and wild-haired. I am told that personality is key to success, and I can’t worry about my boots and be funny and engaging at the same time. I have to let it go. It’s the same thing with mirrors in public restrooms—if I feel happy and attractive, there is absolutely no reason to muck that up by looking at myself in a bathroom mirror while I am out and about and can’t do anything about my chin pimple or fly-away frizz. (The exception to this, of course, is checking for nostril cookies or friends between my teeth.)
I know some people manage to look polished and sophisticated on a regular basis. There are people whose houses are immaculate. I will even venture that these people could potentially be interesting and amusing conversationalists. I’m not out to bash people with a higher skill-set, I just know my limitations.
And yet, when I look at boot with many buckles that are guaranteed not to slouch, they hold no appeal. I’m not a buttoned-up kind of person. I’m always going to aspire to something just out of reach. Sometimes I pull it off, sometimes not, but always, I have this vision, whether it is about an essay, a birthday party for the kids, or something as mundane as footwear. The secret is in accepting that it will never be exactly like how I imagined it, and being OK with walking around with one boot up, one boot down.
Copyright © 2023 Lara Lillibridge
Public domain imagery courtesy of Snappygoat.com