This title wasn’t meant to reference the fact that I’ve not posted on this blog in, oh, A THOUSAND YEARS, but a topic I’ve been mulling today while packing boxes for our upcoming move from Bristol to Edinbrrrrrr. (Edinburgh, for those not aware of how much colder it gets there than here, a mere 360 miles away). To pack, I need to first unpack, and that included the box at the very back of the bedroom closet, under the pile of everything else.
In it, I found these:
And of course, I did what any sane person would do. TRY THEM ON. I also went searching for photos of these babies in action. It’s actually quite hilarious that I thought I’d need to take these not only from Nashville to Sacramento with me when I moved there, but then from Sacramento to England. I wore these on stage playing bass in my old band Cashmere Love Crash, and other various bands. And possibly I bought the leopard ones hoping someday I’d get a complete Mimi Marquez from RENT costume together (my style guru circa 2003) but it never happened. Life can be rough.
In any case, I clomped down two sets of stairs to show my husband who had a chuckle and pointed to the rubbish pile by the door, but something in my heart twinged. These boots are so representative of who I was at the time. Someone who lived in Nashville with a close friend, out playing gigs around town at night or seeing other gigs, sometimes multiple (ooh la la) in one night, working as a barista at the fabulous Fido in Hillsboro Village, and just generally having what seemed a very exciting twenties. These trigger so many memories of the time I felt more free and life seemed a wider path than ever before or since.
Revisiting the memories is a blessing. I’m grateful for memory. It’s one of those bazillion things so easily taken for granted, but when I think of any who struggle with hateful disease that steals their memory from them, my heart aches unconsolably. Memories remind us of the fun, amazing, beautiful times, but also the embarrassing, the painful, the challenging — the times that are maybe more likely to shape us. Who we were “back then” is not bad, even if it’s more of the latter than the former list. It’s still part of who we are, or at least, I choose to see it that way.
Even if I’ll never get on stage and rock out on a Zeppelin- or Radiohead-inspired tune again, I am so grateful for that time of my life. And as a writer, all of it feeds into my stories. Every experience. It might seem so far from who I am today, but it’s not. She’s still inside — and so is the me at 5, playing with my sisters in the backyard; and at 15, painfully shy and passing notes to one of my few friends in a school I felt certain was designed to tear me down; and me in my late twenties, living in California and working 3 jobs without a clue where my life was going; and me turning 30, back at university, this time in Falmouth, Cornwall, falling in love with the sea and the wind in my hair and not yet realising that place would leave an indelible mark on me (and my novels).
My birthday this year felt like a big one. It could’ve been scary, and yes, I had some tears, which is stupid because I should just be grateful I’m here still, right? But I’m a kid at heart. I will always feel like a kid. My amazing husband and friends and sisters threw me two massive surprises and I had a blast, so I can be nothing less than grateful.
They say you shouldn’t look back because that’s not where your future is, but I don’t think it’s wrong to do so. It’s a reminder of all the people you were, and while you might not be that person every day anymore (or any day!), they made you who you are, and that’s worth considering, and celebrating. And just before a massive transition like moving 360 miles away from the friends and normal we’ve known here, with other significant changes no doubt on the horizon, I think it’s helpful to look back as a reminder, a starting point to figure out where to go next.
I’m still the girl with the leopard print boots. They might just need a fancy dress party to come out again.