“You can do whatever you want to do – you simply need to decide you want to. If you decide you want to, then you can walk through walls.”
These exact sentences (well, sort of exact – close enough) were spoken to me just the other day, in the midst of what I perceived to be a rather ridiculous conversation about my “skill set”, or lack thereof. It seemed the suggestion was that in order to do anything at all – fly a plane, say – one needed to do nothing more than want it. Just want it! I knew the speaker was grossly oversimplifying; I knew he was purposely glossing over all the other time-consuming things one must do in order to, say, fly a plane. Years of school, for instance. Flight training. Eye exams. And that annoyed me, because I don’t believe in glossing over things just to make yourself seem right. I also don’t believe that you can make something out of nothing via pure want.
That is, I guess I should say I didn’t believe it. Because as I grouched around for the rest of the day, dwelling on that stupid conversation, I suddenly remembered the boots I created back in 1985. Out of thin air. Using nothing but the power of my own mind.
This is the truth.
Back then I was a freshman in high school, and usually decked out in pink eye shadow, purple lipstick, and way too much Cover Girl pressed powder. I also had a very pressing boot situation, meaning I needed some, but couldn’t find them anywhere.
I mean, okay, I could find boots. But not the particular boots I wanted.
Even though I’d never seen them before, I knew exactly what my new boots would look like. And I didn’t think I was asking too much: mid-calf in height, winter white in color, not white-white and not gray and not cream. And certainly not fake leather. I wanted them to be slouchy but also able to stand up straight when I wanted them to, and I would have liked, but didn’t require, the option to fold them over at the top when I felt like it. I wanted a pointy toe, not round, and the leather could not be shiny. This was important. The fact that it appeared no footwear manufacturer had produced these boots yet made no difference to me whatsoever.
“That’s it, Mis,” my mother told me one day, after yet another apparently pointless search. Over the past several weeks, we’d been everywhere: every mall, every Butler’s, and every Baker’s. We’d been to local stores like Little’s in Squirrel Hill; we may have even hit a Buster Brown or two. Looking back, I can hardly blame my mom for getting disgusted. “You need to pick some other boots, or you’re not getting any boots at all.”
“I can’t pick some other boots,” I told her truthfully. Because as far as I was concerned, there weren’t any other boots. There was no alternative; or nothing was not an option. I knew I would get those boots, I just didn’t know how.
And where was my father in all of this, you might be wondering. Or actually, you’re probably not. Either way, the answer is obvious: he was nowhere. My dad was completely ignorant of the nagging boot situation, and why wouldn’t he be? We were a house full of girls; my dad’s primary contribution on the fashion front were statements such as “That skirt is too goddamned short,” and “I wouldn’t wear that to the fucking dog show.” What this last one meant is anyone’s guess; I’ve never been to an actual dog show but it’s my understanding that at least at Westminster, they don’t go dressed in rags.
So imagine my surprise, imagine my total unadulterated bewilderment, when my dad came home from work one day carrying a shopping bag, and within that shopping bag, the exact pair of mid-calf, winter white, slouchy-or-not, pointed-toe, not-shiny leather boots that I had invented in my head.
My mother and I were speechless. Because this could very simply not be happening.
The fact is, my father was not the type of man to listen unobtrusively to the desires of the females in his house, and even less the type of man to then launch a campaign to fulfill those desires. No. Negative. My dad was more the type to come home with heart-shaped boxes of candy on February 15, because they were cheaper. As a special treat, he might bring one of us a plastic comb/mirror combo from Keystone, his favorite plumbing-supply-slash-hardware-slash-cheap-junk-store. Furthermore, he knew nothing about clothes; even less about where one might go to purchase them.
What I am saying here is this:
It was not possible, not in any way even remotely possible, for my father to just casually show up after work with these boots.
It was not possible, and yet that’s how it went, and that is how I know I created those boots with the power of my unwaveringly focused mind. It happened. Don’t hate. Just believe.
As for that “skill set” that I seem to be lacking (and by the way, I know “skill set” doesn’t need to be in quotes, but I hate that phrase so I’m quoting it anyway) – well, whether or not I develop it remains to be seen. I kind of want to save my 3D-printer brainpower for this bookshelf I need, the particular size and design of which don’t seem to be available anywhere. True, my dad is nearly eighty and so a bookshelf might be a bit tricky for him to deliver. Also, he has no internet (nor, in fact, even the vaguest notion of what an “internet” might be), so ordering online is out. Plus, the Alzheimer’s pretty much rules out his driving. Or makes it illegal and deadly. However you want to look at it.
Be that as it may, I still believe. My bookshelf is coming. Fingers crossed.