Sneakers that Lit Up
I remember them being the coolest things in the world when I was in grade 5. There was nothing cooler.
I remember being scared to ask my parents for them. I knew that they would never buy them for me. We had sneakers with velcro that we had bought on clearance from last season, and we haven’t even worn those yet cuz our current running shoes were still good. No way I would even bother asking them.
But my little sister did. The youngest. She was always the bold one. Even when she was only in grade 1.
We passed by them at a shoe store in Chinatown, and my youngest sister (c3) asked my dad. My middle sister (c2) and I exchanged looks pretty sure that sneakers with lights won’t fly with my parents.
Instead of just saying no, my dad tried to reason with my youngest sister.
Dad says, “So why do you want these shoes with lights?”
c3 says, “Because they look cool and all the kids at school have them.”
Dad says, “So you like the lights on them?”
c3 says, “Yes.”
Dad says, “When you walk around, do you look at your shoes?”
c3 says, “No, I look where I am going.”
Dad says, “So you don’t look behind you and downwards? Do you look where the lights are on your shoe?”
c3 says, “No.”
Dad says, “Well, then aren’t you just wearing the shoes for other people to look at?”
c3 says, “I could look at them in the mirror!”
My dad still brings up the story to this day. I guess the moral of the story hasn’t changed very much at all, and I was reminded of this in Fabulously Broke’s post on her car.
Are we wearing our shoes for comfort or for the viewing pleasure of other people?
Even in grade 5 (and maybe even before), we used materials possessions to define us. Peer pressure and consumerism did not end at LA Gear sneakers.
I remember in middle school (grade 7), I dearly wanted to fit in(or at least look like) the “cool” kids. At that time, the cool thing was to wear track pants (remember Adidas tear-aways?), with a fitted baby tee (usually Nike or Adidas). Of course, I couldn’t not afford real athletic wear, and there was no way my parents would buy a $30 dollar t-shirt for me.
So I did the only thing that I could do. Buy a fake one for 5 bucks in Chinatown. I kid you not.
I wore to school proudly that following Monday. Wondering if all of a sudden I would feel “cooler.”
I remember working on my spelling when one of the “cool” girls walked up to me, and then flipped out my tag to see if it was real. Then she made some comment that I didn’t remember. I felt humiliated.
But I learned my lesson. Again. That this was same the LA Gear lesson repeat. I wore my shirt for others, and not myself. I thought that by wearing that shirt, I would be able to find acceptance from people who I didn’t care about. My friends, never cared about what brands my shirts were. They were the people who really mattered.
We are conditioned by society to express ourselves with our belongings. From what car we drive, to what we should smell like, to what cleaning products and even how our house smells! There is always a better way, and that better way seems to be with their brand.
Sometimes, there is a certain level of quality associated with a product. Other times, it’s just the logo and the high advertising and endorsements they need to pay celebrities. As a consumer, we have a choice. We can make a choice to buy a product that will better our lives, or we can buy into their advertising.
Are you going to spend your money on something that will better your life? Or is it a show for other people to see how cool and glamorous you want them to think you are? To a certain point, there is a balance. I am not completely oblivious to what people think – it’s very difficult to completely detach myself from society.
I do things, such as getting haircuts and buying clothes which fit my body (and are pretty), so that I make sure I look professional for my job. However, I will not cut my hair a certain way to please someone else. “Wash and Go” is my style :). I pick clothes that fit me because it makes me feel good wearing things that are flattering to my body. However, I will not go buy a shirt (or fake Nike tee), just to fit in with someone else. It’s a balance 🙂
I think that if you are comfortable and happy with who you are, there is no need to please anyone else than yourself.
Wear sneakers because they are comfortable, not because other people can see them light up 🙂
What are some lessons that you’d like to share? What were some of the “must” have trends you remember as a kid?