Yep, you read that right. Me, the “wannabe cowgirl” does not own a single, solitary pair of cowboy (er cowgirl) boots. I don’t know why, really. I love the way they look on other people. I particularly admire those women who can wear long, flowy dresses with said boots, and look amazing. For me, though, not so much. #1, I am five feet one inches tall. Long, flowy dresses do nothing for me except make me look like I’m dressing up in my mother’s, or grandmother’s, clothes. #2, childhood cowgirl aspirations notwithstanding, I haven’t been to a rodeo since I was about twelve years old, and in my daily, suburban life, there just aren’t a whole lot of occasions to wear a pair of beauties like these:
Then again, maybe boots like these make their own occasions. Kind of like how those lifecoach types are always telling you how you should not wait for a special occasion to break out your fine china or your best crystal. Life is the occasion, those people are wont to say. Who cares if the only thing you’re serving on those plates is reheated takeout pad Thai and the only wine in those crystal glasses is screw top Pinot Grigio. Carpe diem. Reheat the takeout. Pour the (screw top) Pinot. Wear the damn boots already. And I know they’re right. (I do, I promise!)
But still … however much I might admire a pair of fancy CG boots on the feet of another gal, there is something in me that holds back from wearing them myself. I don’t really know why, but it occurs to me more and more that, pretty much all my life, I have been far guiltier of holding back than of opting in, far more likely to rein myself in (hey, an unwitting cowgirl-related pun!) than to let it all hang out. I recall that in seventh grade my then best friend wrote in my yearbook something to the effect of “and next year you better dance at the dance!” I never could get that friend to understand why, probably because I couldn’t really understand why myself, then, why I could, and would, and did, shake my groove thing like a madwoman at the little impromptu dance parties we had at my house, or hers, but that doing anything beyond moving my feet three inches to the right or left more or less in time to the music at an actual DANCE would have been as unthinkable to me as stripping down to my training bra in front of the entire gymnasium. It just wasn’t gonna happen. No way.
This is just one example. There are more that I can think of off the top of my head, and probably many more still that I can’t, or won’t allow myself to, recall. Introspection is rarely a particularly pleasant or comfortable business. Which is probably why it’s not high up on anyone’s list of favorite things to do, least of all mine. And yet … sometimes the seeds of introspection can lead to the eventual harvest of some pretty incredible fruit, or so I’ve been led to believe. I guess we’ll see.
It’s weird, but given that I had pretty darn near to a full on (albeit quiet and mostly internal) breakdown at 25, sometimes, I feel like my life really only began at 30. Or, more like that was about when I finally started to know myself, or at least to make my own introduction. And I have made some progress these last thirteen years. These days, generally speaking, if I want to do something, I do it. I am more apt to participate, rather than observing from the sidelines, to opt in instead of out. Sure, this is not always the case, but it is truer more often now than it ever used to be, and at least that’s something. I still don’t like to dance in public, much, but maybe someday. Or maybe not. It’s up to me, I guess is the thing.
Shyness, I was once told, by my mother, can be the height of narcissism. She didn’t use exactly those words, but that was the gist of it. I think what she actually said, in the most loving way possible, was something to the effect of “who do you think you are that you think everyone is watching you?” And you know, she was right.
In some ways, I suppose, I’m a 43 year old moth, struggling to emerge from a drab cocoon largely of my own making, but when I finally do burst forth, I plan to be wearing some mighty fancy boots! Those orange ones are nice, don’t you think?