Monday, April 25, 2011
New Kicks. Ill Fade.
In high school your hobby usually dictates what your hair looks like. If you play sports you most likely have short spiked hair. If you are in accelerated classes you most likely had a hair part, and if you were a cheerleader you most likely had highlights on your head. What you do with your feet and brain usually coincided with your hair style. If you listen to top 40 radio stations, you probably really care what people think about your hair. If you listen to hard core hip hop, you most likely have an “ill fade”.
At an early age you’re subconsciously attaching your identity to your hair and your shoes. It’s true.
In May of my sixteenth year of life I needed a new pair of shoes. I drove to the mall with my friend Billy, who loved the mall. He worked at the mall. He lived at the mall. We would pick up chicks, outfits, food at the food court, and records there, almost daily. That’s what American teens do when they want to be seen or see what else is out there. I needed a new pair of shoes and he and he drove off to the South Shore Mall in the heart of Bay Shore NY, Long Island.
Things had changed for me that year. I’d lost about 90 lbs. I’d fallen in love for the first time. I’d stopped doing drugs and started listening to Sublime and classic rock and roll. I was changing. I was growing and I needed a new pair of shoes. I walked in to the mall wearing an old pair of ratty skate shoes and walked right past Journey’s and Pacific Sunwear. Those were the places that I’d purchased most of my sneakers. I needed something else, something to prove I was going somewhere. I wanted running shoes for the first time in my life. I marched right into Foot Locker and the referee looked at me like I was in the wrong store. I had long hair, big baggy pants and skate shoes on. I told him that I wanted to start running and I didn’t know where to start. He giggled a bit under his breath and then once he knew I was serious he started presenting me with options. After about three tries I went with a size 12 pair of New Balance running shoes, grey with a yellow N. You know the ones I’m talking about. I took off my skate shoes, put the New Balance’s on and paid for them. I placed my old shoes in the new box and walked out, differently.
After I walked out I looked at my head in the mirror and decided to walk to the mall’s barber shop and cut my hair short for the first time in my life. I wasn’t even apprehensive about it. I was ready to switch it up. As the locks fell to the ground I started smiling in the chair. I paid for the haircut and walked out with my friend. We weren’t really saying much to each other. He knew my brain was going somewhere special. I took my old shoes and threw them in the garbage and stood on the curb outside of the mall, the same mall I’d been going to for over a decade. I looked at my feet and I felt how light my new head was. It was clear to me. It was that moment that I’d changed myself and my appearance from the ground up, and from the head down. I had transformed.
Why do I tell you this long winded story about my shoes and my hair? I’m teaching you a lesson. You can change your world with a few adjustments. You can change your outlook by changing your shoes. You can strip and add layers to yourself with the swish of a scissor. It’s easy to do, if you want to.
Women own dozens of pairs of shoes. They change who they are all the time. They are feet chameleons. If you want to know what’s on a woman’s mind, just look at her feet. If you can get her to take off her shoes, well then it’s up to you.
How does all this apply to you? It may not. Just know how you walk is dictated by why you walk, and that’s dictated by what your feet are wearing.
That day I bought my first of many pairs of running shoes. I started running then, and I’ve never stopped. I put other shoes on, some for leisure, some for work, but I’ll never forget that first pair. Those shoes represented that year and would go on to shape every year leading up to now. I still run, but I stay in one place now and run every mile of it until I understand the path I’m on.