i have a friend going through a hard time because life sucks sometimes (cute bumper sticker idea, btw) and i'm always better with words on a page. so this is what i wrote to her, archived in this space for you, in case you also have a case of the owies.
have you ever been in someone's house and seen little tiny shoes that are bronzed and on display? i don't know why it happens and i don't know how, but i know that it does happen: people dip their children's baby shoes in bronze. i did find one explanation: parents do it to preserve the memories of when their kids were toddlers, taking their first uncertain tiny steps.
i guess this is because children are innocent, right? they are pure and unaffected by the world; they haven't made ethical mistakes yet, or broken any hearts; they haven't disappointed their families or been fired from their job. they haven't lost much, they haven't gone back on any promises. they're just tiny; taking tiny steps.
my research also produced this soundbite: "your baby's first steps only happen once; let us help you preserve that precious memory forever." is that where the memories are? in our shoes?
nostalgia is why people do crazy things like this (i mean have you ever been in a scrapbook store?)nostalgia reminds us that all humans start out the same: clean slates. we constantly find ways to keep our moments frozen in time to remember "the good ole' days" and "the way we were." i get it -- my brain drifts to yesteryear fairly often.
but here's the thing about those little bronzed shoes: they don't fit you anymore.
i am not against cherishing memories. but i am against romanticizing the way things were, to the point that we don't appreciate the growth that has happened since. the shoes i wore when i took my first steps would be impossible for me to fit back into; the steps i've taken since then have taken me millions of places -- heart aches and internships, classes and countries, mistakes and mistakes and mistakes. and they have shaped me in ways that are so different, my toes couldn't possibly know how to squeeze back down to that tiny size anymore...and i don't think i'd want to.
so i guess that's all i wanted to say tonight: the you that you used to be doesn't fit you anymore, and it's for good reason. we get new shoes because we grow, not because we're failures.
take up as much space in the world as you need to, honey. because that's where the gold is anyway.