Boots at Home; the Raw Truth

Sometimes healthy eating involves vegetables in their raw form, with no additives that make them go down better but are meant to change your life for the better. In reality, sometimes a healthy dose of reality, in its raw form can do the same for our hearts. Today’s blog is a heartfelt short-story of one Special Ops wife, Vivian Holden, who reveals the raw truth about what living with combat boots is like, and her new healthy view of their power! – Myra

Can a pair of BOOTS change your life?

We’ve got combat boots! Tons of boots, more boots than a warrior probably needs! If they were high heels, I’d be in heaven. Instead they are just stinky, dirty, worn out combat boots scattered all over my home. For me it’s a sore spot in our marriage. My kids and I trip over them. The dogs foam at the mouth, so desperately wanting to chew them up, yet fear the consequences. At any given time at least 6 pairs are left out. You will find them by the doors, under the table, coffee table, bathroom floor, by the bed and of all places the kitchen counter!

Now why on earth would my husband have so many? Being active duty in the special ops community means you need combat boots for any situation. The man has boots for the desert, jungle, water, skydiving, driving, hiking, skiing, running and snow boots! They are the latest and greatest, best of the best, kinds of boots. With the amount of training and lengthy deployments he does all over the world, the boots get worn out. Before I know it he has a new pair issued to him. He is truly a gear hoarded, so he refuses to get rid of the old ones. Which is why they pile up!

I am the nagging wife I’ve never wanted to be. Shouts of “put your boots away” can be heard daily. The threats, “If you don’t put your boots away I will throw them away!” These boots have inconvenienced my life in so many ways. Just to give you a few examples: the airport! I’m that girl with 3 kids in tow, getting patted down on the verge of a full body strip search. Why? Because somewhere on my body I have tested EXTREMELY high for explosives! After a full day of blowing stuff up for work, my husband tosses his boots on my clothes, shoes and bags in our closet. At the doctors: My poor kids get subjected to having blood drawn, due to the risk of lead poisoning. Apparently they are at risk, since they play and hide things in them. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to hold a 2 year old down so they can have blood taken? Not fun!

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A friend of mine called me, (not knowing my objection over the boots ) and said, “check out the Boot Campaign, I think you should get involved, you’d love it!” I learned very quickly on the website that I could purchase a pair of combat boots. My first thought was “great! I love shoes and now I will have my own pair!”  My second thought was…..revenge! “Pay back time”, I will leave my boots in the most annoying places for him! His work bench, car, tool box, shed and in front of the tv. “Maybe he’ll get the point?” That’s not what happened. My boots arrived in the mail and completely changed me that day. I was utterly unprepared for what took place or how much it would impact me.

I put my boots on to make sure they fit and see how cute I looked in them, of course! As I strolled to look in the mirror I tripped over a pair of my husbands combat boots. His “lucky” boots he wears on every deployment. I straight kick his boot, in my boots, across the room! As his boot cartwheeled through the air it dawned on me, “I’m an asshole! A total asshole.” I realized in that very moment that my boots are new and will always be new. My boots will never see the things his have. They will never step foot in some of the most horrible places in this world. My boots will never kick in the doors on the worst people in the world. I will never be shot at in my boots. I will never bleed or shed blood in my boots. I will never have to watch where I walk in fear of stepping on an IED in my boots. I will never put my life on the line in my boots. My boots will never be my “lucky” boots.

It was an awakening, a very humbling experience that I was not prepared for. I broke down and just cried. I suddenly felt bad for yelling at him about his boots, not taking the time to realize what they meant to him. How he might just still be with us because……. maybe his boots really are lucky. I hadn’t thought about where they’ve been and what he’s experienced in them. The sweat, blood, adrenaline, fear, strength, bravery in each step he’s taken in them. I had not appreciated how truly symbolic they are on their own. They are a symbol of patriotism, no doubt, but they are above all a symbol of hope and freedom for our country.

I have always been supportive of my husband and his career and I am very proud of him. But it’s the detail of his gear that I appreciate as well now. His boots and body armor protect him in the face of the enemy. I’m not so bothered by it all scattered around my house now. It all services a reason and a purpose. For months at a time it’s a part of him and that has brought him home to me every time. I’m sad I’ve spent years over looking his boots. This awareness had ultimately made me a better wife. I’m able to support him more graciously than I ever could imagine just by understanding. I thank the Boot Campaign for giving me that.

So now I GIVE back. I volunteer for events on the west coast. I helped create events in my town locally to help raise money. I encourage everyone I know to go online, purchase the boots and sign up to volunteer at local events. The process to get involved is so simple. Go the website and sign up! Purchasing boots gives back! The money goes back to the programs and charities that the Boot Campaign supports. When you want to help but don’t know how or where to start the Boot Campaign makes it easy. Our service members and vets need support beyond yellow ribbons and flags. They need help coming home, help with being injured both physically and mental, help with homes, finance, jobs and learning to deal with a new normal. The Boot Campaign looks at where there is a need for our service members/vets and they do everything they can to fill it.  The more involved I have been, the more astonished I am by these 5 women in Texas who created this. Their compassion and love for what our military does is truly inspiring on so many levels. It’s a sense of comfort knowing there is genuine, wonderful people who just want to give back for the selfless service our military does. It makes it a little easier to watch him leave.

So can a pair of boots change your life? Yes THEY can! Purchasing a pair alone is guaranteed to make a difference in someone’s life, you never know who you might inspire.

……. and for the record, I just nag him about his socks now!

To get your BOOTS on and make a difference with me – visit the Boot Campaign STORE today!