My old pair of pink Jelly shoes will always remind me of 4th grade and recess and my mother’s hair spray as she styled my bangs before school.
My first Jansport backpack brings me back to the confused days of junior high; a time in which I realized I needed to pluck my eyebrows if I wanted to distinguish myself from a pack of racoons.
The blue jean jacket from the Gap I wore through three years of high school reminds me of boy crushes and Dashboard Confessional sing – a- longs in my first car when I was 17. Back when I thought life was just about getting a boyfriend and being popular.
Over-sized hoop earrings and Forever 21 party dresses make me feel 20 years old again, going out with my girlfriends on a Thursday night in college.
Often writers search for “the” story to tell to their readers when they sit down to write if they do not already have one. They may think over their day, think of what exciting, trendy, weird or funny thing happened and if they can’t find a story they don’t write.
I am one of those writers.
And last night at midnight as I stared at the ceiling thinking about ‘stories,’ Jesus spoke to me.
Jesus: “Now Jamie…let’s talk about your peanut butter addiction.”
Me: “I’m not addicted to peanut butter, Jesus…”
Okay. I repent.
That’s not really what Jesus spoke to me. Actually I’m not sure it was Jesus but here’s the truth of it:
Stories are everywhere. They are there, wherever we are.
They aren’t always in the ‘who, what, when, why.’ or what happened when you told your God and Country Grandmother you were a Liberal Democrat, for example.
The stories are in the setting.
The objects or “props” of life capture our stories. The clothes we wear, the things buried in our purses, or the apple you find Copper the Dog eating on the kitchen floor….
They are the objects that hold our story because they were there with us when they happened.
I wore my bright yellow flats today. These shoes have many stories to tell.
They know all my dirty secrets.
They came from a thrift store down the street from the University of Florida where I went to school. It was my 21st birthday and my boyfriend (now husband) and I walked into a hip thrift store and he picked out these bright yellow shoes and bought them for me. He told me I’d love them.
I’ve worn them for two and a half years now. They’ve ran through rain puddles on my college campus when it has poured on my walks home from class. They’ve walked the streets of Hollywood and San Francisco. They’ve stayed on my feet when I’ve cried alone in my car and when I’ve lost all sensibility after two glasses of wine.
They tell my story.
The story of the life I’ve lived when I’ve worn them.
And just like my old pink jelly shoes will always remind me of being a kid in elementary school, these bright yellow thrift store shoes will someday be something I’ll think back upon and think “hey that reminds me of…”
They will help me remember specific moments and feelings. And they will help me tell the stories of my life as I know it, now.
My next story should probably address those three empty peanut butter jars but I already spoke with Jesus and I’ve been delivered.