A year ago, my sister bought me a pair of shoes.
They were bright red, knock-off high tops and little did I know they would end up having a special meaning to me. You see, these red shoes told me something I didn’t really know about myself until it was pointed out to me. That person said,
For someone who doesn’t like attention or doesn’t go out of their way to get it, those shoes sure say otherwise. You know, I think you want to be noticed, you’re just too afraid.
Very bold of her to say, like okay, way to make my shoes all mysterious, but can you chill? Back then, I didn’t think about what they had said a lot. After some time, I started to agree with that statement. I tend to feel guilty when I know I worked hard on something but then I push back any kind of attention. Don’t get me wrong, those shoes mean more to me than simply wanting attention, as selfish as it may sound.
Overtime, those shoes became a reminder. They are a reminder of the times when I had to wait two weeks for my mother to get paid so I could do my laundry. Those shoes are a reminder of the times I’ve had to say no when my friends want to hang out because I can’t afford to go where they want to and I refuse to let them pay. They’re a reminder of the texts saying, “don’t worry, I’ll pay”, even though it’s a dollar but sometimes I don’t even have that. Those shoes are a reminder of the weeks of takeout, because we haven’t bought real and healthier food. Those shoes are 40 cent school lunches and a plethora of peanut butter sandwiches. The holes in those shoes are like the holes in the rest of my clothes, they are small but I know they’re there. They’re a reminder of the only two bras I own because goddamn my boobs are too big and bras are expensive. Those obnoxiously bright red shoes are a reminder of the amount of times I’ve been rejected of a job, and I don’t know if it’s because my resume sucks or if it’s because I don’t call back, but I have anxiety and the thought of being on the phone is much more terrifying in my head than in real life. Those shoes tell me that maybe the only job I’m good at is working at a grocery store, even though people, customers and managers alike, are insensitive and god awful sometimes.
Those shoes got old and ripped apart. I mean, they were knockoffs so I’m shocked they lasted as long as they did. I got new shoes, and I hate them. Well, I don’t hate them. I hate how they make me feel. Forgive me, J.D Salinger and my junior year English class, but I feel phony. They weren’t cheap, though they were on sale, because your girl has learned to make things as cheap as possible, except, I’m still not quite there. These shoes make me feel guilty, because I know my worth, and I know I haven’t worked for these, but I have them. I’m going to break them down as much as I can until they are on my level again. Dirty and worn out, because I worked for it.
To those red knockoffs, they’re still in my closet and they will stay there until I have the heart to throw them out. Though you were only a pair of shoes, you meant a hell of a lot to me.