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Your Boots Tell Your Story. What's your story?

Kari Niemann Fuss Don't walk in Fear Your boots tell your story

Your boots tell your story. They tell where you've been.

I know I can look down at my boots, and there is always a memory attached to them.

My very 1st pair of cowboy boots, I got 'em at a thrift store, paid $20 bucks for them. I don't even think they have a brand name. I was 42 years old. We had just gotten ourselves some horses.

3 months later, I came off my horse, and while I was laying on the ground, screaming, with my leg pointing in the wrong direction, I cringed not only because of the pain, but also because the paramedics had to cut those boots off of my leg. They were going to throw them away at the hospital, and looked at me like I was a little crazy when I said "NO!" I think my husband thought I was a little crazy too. (They were, and still are both right.)

Those boots sat in the back of my closet for MONTHS. I could not bring myself to throw them away. I was still in a wheelchair and crutches, and didn't know if I was ever going to be even be able to get on a horse again. But, throwing those boots away would have represented quitting. Failure. That wasn't gonna happen.

When I was finally able to drive a car, one of the 1st places I drove myself was to a cobbler to see if he could fix my boots. I was still on crutches. I wouldn't even have been able to put those boots on, even if he could fix them.

That man sewed those boots back together, like a wizard. He matched the thread perfectly, and matched the zig-zag pattern of the thread on the rest of the boot. No one but he and I would even know those boots had ever been cut from the top of the shaft all the way down to the heel. As I "walked" out of there, I felt a like he had helped sew me back together a little bit too. I wore those boots just the other day while doing chores. My scars from the accident are getting harder to see too.

Earlier this year, which was a very dark time for me, I waded knee deep in the Atlantic ocean while wearing my a pair of my favorite boots, I pretended that every time a wave reached my feet, it grabbed some of the hurt, and when it receded, it took a little bit of some of the broken parts of me with it. They still have "salt lines" on them from where the salt water dried. 

A couple months later, on a beautiful glorious spring day, I wore those same boots while watching my 19 year old son, smiled from ear to ear as he drove his 1st pick up truck through a big ol' mud hole, with a bunch of his friends doing the same. Later that same day, the 20 year younger version of me hopped on a 4 wheeler, and drove knee deep into that same mud hole, while still wearing those boots. It was a good day.

Earlier this month I decided to wear the most expensive pair of boots I owned, to a barn dance with a dirt floor, and on a trail ride the next day. I had never even worn those boots outside before, other than to walk to and from my car.

They got beer spilled on them while I danced, like I hadn't danced in years. The next day on the trail ride, they got run through some pickers, and rubbed up against a few trees, got some horse crap on them, and my horse even stepped on them a bit, when I wasn't keeping track of our feet.......But, I made some new friends while wearing those boots. Because of those boots, perfect strangers came up and talked to me. The conversation started out with them asking about my boots. Soon, we were talking about "life" and parted ways as new friends.
This past spring, I came across a used pair of boots on FB that I had wanted since the very 1st time I laid eyes on them. (Problem was, they were no longer made, and the only ones that I could find were $500.) Fast forward to July.  It was 1 o'clock in the morning, and I was scrolling through FB.  I was 1/2 drunk from a day spent at a country music festival, when I saw a pair for sale on a boot page.  When I saw the price, (way less than $500) I typed "sold" in the comments, and left my e-mail address for the Paypal invoice to be sent.  The next day when I got the request to pay, I was a little confused (for just a second.)  I totally had forgotten that I had bought them the night before.  
They had the words  "Don't walk in Fear" embroidered on them.  As I mentioned earlier, I've had a rough time of things these last few years, and have spent quite a long time doing just that.  "Walking in Fear"  However, I have decided I am done with that.  
Well, I got the boots, and they just didn't fit right.  I tried a couple times to wear them, because I wanted them so bad.  But, they just weren't right.  I think if I spent the time, I could have broken them in, but I don't have the patience for that.  
I have made a lot of new friends since I started my little boot business. Most of them, I have never met.  One of them, messaged me and asked me.  "If you ever decide you want to sell those boots, will you let me know?"  She too, wanted a pair, but couldn't find any, and when she finally did, they were not her size.  
A while later, I tried again to wear the boots around the house to work on breaking them in. And once again, they just were not right.  I took them off and set them on the counter in my kitchen.  I was going to message Andrea and ask her if she wanted them.  They sat there, probably for 2 weeks.  The "Don't Walk in Fear" kept staring at me.  I couldn't bring myself to message her, even though I couldn't comfortably wear them.  
Then, I got an idea!  I messaged her and asked her if she wanted to have them for a while.  We joked that she could break them in for me. She could have the pleasure of having them for a bit, and said she'd be happy to "walk a mile in my boots."   I explained to her why I was so reluctant to sell them.  Those boots represented my decision not to continue to go through my life, walking in fear.  I told her the abbreviated version of my "story."  She could not believe how much we had in common.  She shared a bit of her story with me, and she was right.  We had a lot in common!  
Still, I drug my feet.  I didn't send the boots.  Then, one day after trying to wear them again, I messaged her and offered to just sell them to her.  It didn't make any sense for me to keep a pair of boots that someone else wanted as badly as I had. She was ecstatic!  I even included a note that said "Don't walk in fear my friend, It's no way to live." 
She got them last week.  She is in love.  After I had agreed to sell them to her....Guess what?  I came across another pair on FB, that were 1/2 size bigger.  I snatched them up as fast as my little hands could type.  Now, both of us will always be reminded not to "Walk in Fear." I know that every time I put those boots on, I will think of my "boot sister" and friend Andrea, (who I've never met) and I will smile.  

I am now 45 years old. All my boots have stories. They don't get that way because I saved them for a special occasion. My boots help make all my occasions special. My story isn't over yet. 10/24/16

Wear the damn boots........ Everyday is special.

  • Rhonda Collins on

    Kari,I read your article.So much truth to it.Yes,every pair of boots tell a story.If only ,we could know what paths they have traveled

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