After concluding a fun hiking trip with some of my best friends, I slip off my muddy shoes and realize the obvious but strangely mind-blowing fact that these shoes have been places.
Once upon a time, my shoes were manufactured with an intent and a purpose. When it gets down to it, I place my shoes on my feet to do what they’re ultimately intended to do: protect. They defend my vulnerable extremities from the unfriendly earth, from the mud and the rocks and the dirt. They absorb the impact created when I walk down gravel pathways or across paved streets.
In fulfilling this purpose, my shoes become not only a means of protection, but also an agency of narrative. Take my Nike running shoes for example. Once gleaming white with vibrant colors, they are now scuffed, tattered, and mud-stained. These marks represent a multitude of both careless stumbles and intentional steps derived from past experiences and excursions. They are a medium through which my stories may be told.
I’m not saying that these marks are necessarily attractive. In fact, they are almost the exact opposite. (I sneakily cropped my Nikes out of my most recent Instagram post if that tells you anything.) But if I have learned anything in the past few days, it is that life, and shoes for that matter, can and will get ugly. You get scuffed up. You stumble and fall and have no other option except to pick yourself up and persist and push through the grime and the rough patches.
But the scratches and imperfections you obtain are tangible evidence that you have experienced something. They tell of an imperfect yet beautiful story, and that means substantially more than you think.