Recently, I purged a tiny section of my closet. It’s just a half dozen pairs of shoes, but already it feels like I’ve cracked open a whole new world. A world where I let go of things. As in really let go. Where I no longer imagine that the broken can be fixed, the stains removed, the soulless re-souled.
To be honest every one of these shoes is a wreck. Their faux leather is cracking, the toes of one has a tear, one pair is so uncomfortable that when I look at them my heel instantly breaks out in a blister. One of the pairs is perfectly lovely but when you walk in them they make a noise somewhere between a love sick rodent and a gaseous restaurant patron.
Yet I’ve held on to them, every last one, because they weren’t all bad. They fit. They could work in a pinch (or with a pinch). And even the really ugly brown ones — the ones that look like any self-respecting wardrobe manager of a production of Oliver Twist would say “Oh dear lord, just throw those out” — even those would keep your feet dry on a rainy day.
Don’t worry about the fate of these shoes. You won’t find them at the thrift store or goodwill because I refuse to pass on the curse of the “almost sorta okay” shoes. I also am tossing the too itchy sweater and the weird jacket that has the lining that always peeks out from the hem and sleeves like it’s outgrown its outer casing.
Maybe we all get to the place where we’re done imagining being able to fix things that are not quite right. Maybe we finally stop reading the book everyone says was amazing because we’re so bored we can’t turn another dense page. Maybe we give up trying to add seasoning to the ground beef and noodle surprise recipe because the only surprise is how awful it continues to taste. Maybe we finally admit that we aren’t all that interested in Russian literature or particle physics or French cuisine or interpretive dance or whatever thing we think we should be interested in but just aren’t, not even a tiny bit, and hope that it is possible that people will still think we are decent human beings who are worth knowing when we finally say enough is enough.
Or maybe we just get rid of half dozen shoes, but keep reading the book because we feel like any page now it’s going to get better, or we finally find something to wear under the itchy sweater, or we break out some fresh basil and Parmesan to try in the hamburger surprise.
They say letting go is a process. For me it’s a very long process. But at least as of today, I won’t be walking down the hall with shoes that sound like I’m wearing a pair of a hamsters that ate way too many burritos.