Wednesday, 27 May 2009

A Visit from Elizabeth Walker

Nice Boots!
by Elizabeth Walker

So, I had this pair of boots when I was a kid. They were tall – really tall, and they were ugly – really ugly. Certainly not a pair that you would be proud to wear with a skirt. Not at first anyway. I call them my muckin’ boots. Boots that were made especially for wading through s%#t. I am a firm believer that we were all born with a pair. It’s just that some of us get them out of the closet more often than others.

When I was a young girl my dad died a long and painful death. I was six when his illness began, I was eight when his illness took him. That is when I first discovered that I owned a pair, but I resented having to put them on.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even have time to take the ugly things off before I was handed a new pile to muck through. I became the object of my stepfather’s affections – I’m certain you know what I mean. Only a few more miles down the road, those boots stomped with me to the place where my mother left, with my abuser, to a different country and left me in this one. Those boots grew with me and when I first took them off at around 18, I swore that if I never saw those stinkin’ boots again it would be too soon. I stashed them away in the back of my closet and moved swiftly on with my life, pretending – for a time - that I had never needed them at all.

When I was 28 years old with four children and 10 years of marriage under my belt, I found myself face to face with another steaming heap. This one threatened to swallow my children whole, as my husband was four years and head over heels into a cocaine addiction that was devouring every hope that I had for a future for my sons. I had to make a decision. Was I willing to sacrifice their safety, their childhood, the way that mine had been, in order to continue my futile attempt to save my husband? No! I reluctantly but purposefully reached into that old closet (my heart) and pulled out those ugly old boots (my will to fight circumstance) and slid them back on to my trembling feet. Thing is, once I got those boots back on me I felt strong! Like in them, remained the strength that I had earned during my own childhood. I picked up my babies, told them to hang on tight, and I began my second march in those stinkin’ boots. Funny thing is (if there is anything funny about it) I hadn’t realized until the second journey that those boots were the most comfortable pair I had ever put on.

That last march began almost 7 years ago. Oh my sons and I have been through it, believe me – but that’s the point isn’t it? We’ve been through it! We aren’t in it anymore, and we are together.

So, things are different for them then they were for me. Things are different for me. And, I have this pair of boots. I’m a boots kind of girl. I wear them all the time – even when I wear a skirt. I earned the honor to show them off. Most people don’t notice right away because they’ve been modified slightly and the 3” heel tends to throw them off, but make no mistake, they’re muckin’ boots alright. These boots and I have been through it before, likely we’ll be through it again. But for those of you that have seen them, now you understand why I giggle when you tell me, “nice boots”. If only you could see where they’ve been!

Elizabeth Walker is the author of the memoir, The Tablet of My Heart. You can visit her website at To read an extended bio, click here!


Adelle Laudan said...

What an inspiring tale. Thank you for sharing your story of strength, and hope. Kudo's to you!

Tess MacKall said...

Oh God, brought tears to my eyes. We women have a sisterhood of boots don't we?

Love the title of the book. So poignant.

Maurya said...

I love those boots! Got a pair myself and they hold up through anything*smiles* I'm so glad you found yours and decided to wear them!

Thank you for reminding me to be proud of mine.

Debra Kayn said...

Yep, I got the boots too. Great post...a real thinker!

laura said...

You are such an inspiration! I'm sure your kids are proud of the hard decisions you had to make. You are a STRONG woman!

Lisa Griffin said...

Sometimes I think my boots have turned in to thigh highs, there's been so much crap to wade through. Like Tess said, we have a sisterhood. :)

I like your style, lady!! Where would our children be without strong women to guide them, keep them safe.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the invitation to share! And, thanks for your comments ladies. doubt, there is a sisterhood! We just keep on "walkin'" And we get better and better at it as we go!
Here's to all of us girls in our muckin' boots! Cheers ladies!
Elizabeth Walker

Faith said...

I had a pair of those boots too. Only thing is it took me wearing them four times before I shucked them and got a pair I really liked, lol.

M.E Ellis said...

I picked up my babies, told them to hang on tight, and I began my second march in those stinkin’ boots.:'(

I'm going to have to buy your book.