An ode to my steel-toed boots

Who are you, really?

This question always grounds me back to the present. It brings me back to my power. It brings me greater awareness to the big picture. It allows me to recognize who we all are, too.

Part of my belief system includes that we are infinite beings, souls, having a human experience. This makes sense to me. It comforts me. It allows me to look at mistakes I've made and choices I've made and think "oh gosh, look how cute this human is just trying to experience life." I truly believe we are all doing the best we can.

Who are you, really?

One of my defining moments in my life was when I made the decision to join AmeriCorps NCCC, live in Iowa and travel the mid-west for 10 months. I didn't know a soul. I had no conscious desire to go to the mid-west but I desperately wanted to be a part of something greater and to serve more communities. This was that opportunity.

I did things that terrified me. I worked with tools I was unfamiliar with. I learned how to use a chainsaw. I applied to be a part of the Wildland firefighting team. There were only 2 of them.

Part of this application process was a physical test. We had to walk 3 miles with 45 pounds on our backs in 45 minutes. The "pack test." The first time I did the pack-test, I was about 3 minutes over. I thought I wouldn't make it. Thankfully, the powers at be saw something in my essay and I was put on the team! This made all the difference. This was a group of people that were all committed to bettering themselves, the communities we would be serving, and putting forth the effort to do so. It was an intentional team and I will be forever grateful to have been a part of it.

Who are you, really?

I had these doubts and limiting beliefs around who I was at this point. I had a fall out from my father and was drowning in self-doubt. Doing the things that scared me, that pushed me, that were challenging, forced me to gain confidence and strength in myself. I was brave.

To be able to participate on active prescribed burns, I had to pass an official pack test. It had been a month of forming connections with my team, working out, fear and determination. I built a playlist that kept me on beat, and set-out to be a wildland firefighter.

I was one of the smallest people on the team, short, too. People would circle me, I was nervous. As people finished, one by one, they were back with me, by my side, cheering me on, walking with me. I ended up finishing second to last with 15 seconds to spare!! 44 minutes and 45 seconds! I PASSED.

It was an incredible year of stepping out of my comfort zone, believing in myself, and helping communities in a greater way.

Who are you, really?

This chapter of my life impacted me so greatly that I held onto my rugged old steel toed boots. Just in case, I thought, I decide to find more yard work, or be a roofer, I'll have them ready!

But I never did any more of those things. I dove into yoga and that's more of a barefoot profession ;)

Recently I moved. I had to go through years of stuff that just accumulated. Years of old photos, letters, cards, notes, college t-shirts. I got rid of so much of my early adult-hood, things that meant so much to me I kept them.

But these things don't matter to me anymore. I'm happy for the memories and the life I've lead, but who am I, really?

I don't want to carry the past with me everywhere I go. I want to live lightly and have intentional places for my things that serve a greater purpose than sitting in the basement.

I didn't really cry until the very last night of packing up the house. My steel-toed boots were coming with me as they have been for the past 5 years, without being worn again.

I took a long, hard look at them. Noticing the stains, caked dirt, worn and torn and missing shoe laces. Size 5. Sturdy, bad-ass boots that made me believe I could do anything, that I was powerful.

I couldn't take them with me anymore. I was shedding. I had to let this physical item go. And so, I put them in the dumpster. I kissed them. I said thank-you. I tossed them.

Who are you, really?

I'm a brave, powerful, confident, sweet, sturdy, force of nature.

Thank you, steel-toed boots, for reminding me.

#Healing #Selfcare #AmeriCorps #ComfortZone

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