Sneaker Story: Walk in the Rain Without An Umbrella

(Give in to the elements & embrace the stares)
Submitted by Lisa G.

“At 12 blocks away, I feel that first drop. 
It’s just a gently misty sprinkle at first, no big deal. 
Except that I left my umbrella at home.”


My friends and family used to joke that I thought I was the Wicked Witch. It wasn’t my evil cackle or my threats to Toto that earned me the nickname, it was my mad dash for the nearest indoor spot the second a drop of moisture fell from the sky. To this day, I always check the weather report before I leave the house just in case there is a chance of rain. If there is, I will take the time to shove my umbrella into my bag and make sure I have the appropriate rain-proof shoes and attire. I once read a quote by Roger Miller that said, “Some people walk in the rain…others just get wet.” I did neither. I either ran for cover under the temporary shelter of my umbrella, or I just didn’t go out. But secretly, I always envied the people I saw walking down the street who were drenched to the bone and smiling. I didn’t understand them, but I envied them. So here’s the deal: I will walk in the rain without an umbrella. 


I am walking back from meeting a friend 15 blocks away from my apartment when the wind picks up, the sky lights up, and the earth rumbles. I start walking a little faster. At 13 blocks away, I can barely keep my eyes open through the howling wind blowing the city’s dirt and grime in every direction. At 12 blocks away, I feel that first drop. It’s just a gentle misty sprinkle at first, no big deal. Except that I left my umbrella at home. So I walk a little faster. 11 blocks…a few more drops. 10 blocks…a few more. At eight blocks, it happens. The sky opens up and it starts to pour. People are scattering on all sides. Bus boys are rapidly trying to gather the outdoor seating tablecloths. People under umbrellas are desperately trying to hail passing cabs. And I have eight blocks to go, and no umbrella.


As the rain starts falling harder and harder, I have three choices:
1) Run inside one of the open corner bars or delis and attempt to wait it out
2) Pop into one of the drugstores and buy (yet another) umbrella
3) Walk in the rain.

I’m not sure what comes over me at that moment, but my feet seem to make the decision for me. They just keep walking. Every step I take brings me to another level of “drenched” that I never knew existed. My blue denim capris are now almost black and desperately clinging to my body, my hair is flat down against my head and sticking to my face. I don’t even want to guess what my non-waterproof make-up looks like, and I’m pretty certain my two layers of white tank tops are now giving the world a totally unintended show.

And yet, I don’t melt. In fact, something quite miraculous happens. As I walk by people huddled under awnings or sprinting through crosswalks and I see their expressions as this poor, soaked girl walks by, I start to laugh. I know I can’t get any wetter and since I’m not melting, I just break out into a smile…and walk in the rain. With this walk comes a freedom I have never felt before! I am no longer the girl who freaks out when her hair gets wet or screams like a teenager when a puddle splashes near her. Just by doing all of these seemingly simple (but until recently insurmountable) challenges, I have learned to let go. I may look like a crazy person with smudged make-up and a see-through outfit with a big smile on my face, but I just don’t care. In fact, I kind of like it.

When I get home and survey the damage, I look down and start to laugh even harder. Turns out, for the first time in many months, I am wearing sneakers. And for the first time in my life, they are truly dirty!

1 Comment

Filed under anxiety, community, goals, inspirational, lists, self-help, Sneaker, The Sneaker Experiment, to-do

One response to “Sneaker Story: Walk in the Rain Without An Umbrella

  1. >Thank you for sharing and bravo to you for stepping out of your comfort zone and taking the risk! That is a beautiful thing! I love this site and look forward to posting my sneaker story. I know that it isn't easy, but I'm trying to live by the "life in in fear is a life half lived" mantra.

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