First Boyfriends and Sweaty Soles


I was sitting at my desk, mid-summer, with the heals of my feet tucked up onto the chair, leaving my well worn moccasins limp and exposed for all to see. They house the sweaty imprints of my soles, and tell a very disgusting story of the places I’ve been. 

My friend walked by my desk, did a double take and said “Krisi! Those shoes are disgusting! Why do you keep them?

I didn’t have an answer, other than the fact they had seen me through so much, it was hard to let go.

Rewind five or so years.

We sat in the entry way to my parents house, on a tiled floor with fake mistletoe hanging from the light fixture above us. It was Christmas Eve and we were clinging to each others hands like the moments before a solider boarded a train for war.

It was the end of my high school relationship.

An odd eight months of teenage consumption mixed with youthful religious guilt and self-righteousness.

We ended our “relationship” and carried on a brother/sister style friendship for a while, college moved us a little farther apart, and then jobs and graduations a little farther until there was nothing much left but the occasional pop-up status on Facebook.

There were these silly little moments in my post-grad life where I would get a little single-lonely and wonder what he was up to, or what a fun story it would be to reconnect and end up living out the lives of an eighties teenage romcom.

Once, a year or so ago, I heard he was visiting my city and suggested we grab a beer, an innocent reconnect I justified to myself.

His response was simple, “I don’t think that would be appropriate, given I am meeting my girlfriend’s parents.”

Outwardly, I scoffed at his presumption, but I think he has been able to accomplish a life skill with which I still struggle: letting go.

Letting go of old worn out moccasins, sets of expectations or even boyfriends can be difficult.

For me, the first steps have been pretending, to let go, internally and also outwardly. Noncommittally shopping around for new shoes and relationships or pasting SINGLE to my shirt sleeve.

Interacting with cute boys at bars, saying “Yeah, I was in a relationship, but it ended well, i’m great!” Knowing somewhere buried beneath a flirty smile, it’s not totally true. Not because I am intentionally lying, but because I want to believe I am just fine without the expectations I had set for my future. 

Then there is the actual process, the glacially slow process of removing what I thought my life should have been with those ruby red moccasins, and/or first boyfriend, from my daily routine. 

I will always be a planner, but a part of growing up is knowing when to remove a scuffed smelly expectation from the plans. Knowing when to scrub out those future pictures and start from scratch.

To genuinely let go, I will need to confront the sneaking little daily moments where my unmet expectations seep back into my thoughts, tricking me into a reality to which I cannot reattach.

I must ask myself why? Why do I insistently hold on?

Does holding on make me feel more valued? Perhaps.

Does it validated my worth to have been wanted, to have wanted? Perhaps.

If so, I must find a way to let go of limp relationships and broken shoes in order to see my worth. If I cannot, then the burden of my insecurities will hold me back and harm others. 

If I cannot face myself, Krisi to Krisi  — I will continue to leave messes wherever I wonder too, and with whomever I happen to date, live with, work with, you get the idea.

I will gather up boxes of smelly, limp shoes that have no business taking up space in my life.

I have to let them go.


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