The year was 2010 and the Christmas/New Year holidays had just ended. With a steadfast resolution to lose weight still fresh in my mind and the gift of new walking shoes, my thoughts were a frenzy of hysteria, eager to begin my “healthy” lifestyle. And that was about the extent of the excitement concerning these shoes. For their first three years of existence, these shoes sat mostly in my closet. I treated them more like a fashion accessory only to be worn with certain outfits, for specific occasions. And let’s be honest, they aren’t bad looking but you’re not going to find them at Paris fashion week. These shoes are meant to be worn, not admired. These shoes are meant to get dirty, not collect dust.
Fast forward three years. I was still overweight, still in need of exercise and these shoes had now been tucked away from memory. Life had remained the same ol’ same ol’ until after years of testing, imaging, and false diagnoses, doctors were finally able to determine the cause of my many ailments. Finding out my body had turned against me and was now threatening my very existence was a life altering moment that had me search for something, anything familiar. In an ocean of chaos, you seek the ordinary. Not out of denial, but from the need to have anything feel normal when your life is thrown into a terrifying reality. It’s how we cope as humans. For my own survival it was imperative I found a purpose, a reason to wake each morning and fight the good fight.
It was at this juncture when I found these shoes at the back of my closet, new and perfect. It seemed trivial at first to even consider struggling to physically better myself considering the battle I now faced. But the truth is, I was comfortable attempting to lose weight. I had been attempting this impossible feat the majority of my adult life! I was not only soothed in weight-loss mode, but dieting and exercise were the only familiar fragments of my life when everything else around me was foreign and scary.
Out of the closet, these shoes came in my pursuit of the usual. For four years these shoes have carried me through marshes, across fields, and up mountains. They’ve been devoured by mud, drowned in water and have pounded endless hours of pavement and never once were my feet sore or wet. And for the first time in my life, I actually lost some serious weight (and for the record, my weight loss was not a result of my illness)! But what left me the most surprised, was the invaluable gift these shoes gave to me. A gift so unexpected and rare, I could never have known its worth until it was received. Unbeknownst to me, as I walked, climbed and hiked, a flame within ignited and quickly grew to a roaring fire. A desire so strong to keep moving, keep living, that I absolutely refused to allow any circumstance keep me from my salvation. These shoes didn’t just deliver me from my weight-loss woes. They freed my mind to the possibility that through God, the Universe or whatever higher deity you exalt, that anything is possible.
After almost a decade it is time to retire a tried and true friend, these shoes. My journey is far from over in both weight-loss and life, but these shoes have earned their rest. So here’s to these shoes, Merrells to be exact, the 80 lbs they helped evaporate from body and limb but most importantly, to the candle of perseverance they lit within!
~ True North Nomad
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