When I was a nine, these awesome new shoes hit the streets with the red blinking LED lights in the heels. Each step would brighten the world behind you, and whenever I tried them on in shoe stores, it was necessary to run up and down the aisles as fast as possible to make sure that they were excellent running shoes. Something about those lights seemed to propel me faster than I ever thought possible. Because the light fell behind each step I felt I was running faster than, well, light. Regular shoes lost their appeal. Nothing could compare to the shoes with the lights. I didn’t even know what they were called the first time I saw them on another kid, but I knew I had to have some. I must have the shoes that light up my youthfully athletic gait. They. Are. Necessary.
As an adult, I’m fairly positive that the light shoes may not fly with friends. Perhaps they would illicit a few laughs but I highly doubt they hold the awesome powers of fast running that they did in my childhood. And while laughs are good, the shoes would eventually lose that joke factor and I would just be the weird chick with the LA light shoes. Now, all the rage is cool looking hip hop shoes. Nike’s with the swoosh in metallic, hot pink, neon blue or green, maybe even leopard. A guy I once dated had a thing for Nikes and had the most amazing collection but they never struck me as a must have until I started attending hip hop classes. Where everyone had on cool Nikes. Cool Nikes, sweatpants, flannel shirts and the occasional crooked hat. And while I already own sweats, a crooked hat, and will never EVER rock a flannel shirt (not that I don’t like flannel I just don’t like flannel on me), I am fairly convinced that the reason everybody in my dance classe has killer moves is because of the shoes. After all, it starts with the feet right? So this got me to thinking… Cool Nike shoes = cool dance moves.
I must. Have. Hip Hop Shoes.
I must have my own awesome pair of Nike cool person shoes so that they can magically turn my feet into those of a hip hop mistress, a woman who lives and breathes hip hop moves, a woman who looks as though she has been rocking this dance thing for her entire life, and has the shoes to prove it. The moves will come if I have the shoes. So off to the mall, to purchase the shoes that will turn me into a dancing princess. No. A dancing queen.
And I found them. Way too cool for school. Cooler than any pair of LA Lights I ever owned. White toes, high top pink and black leopard, white laces and a big pink swoosh. Just to let em know. That now, I’m officially in. I took my awesome pair of hip hop shoes, crooked hat and baggy adidas warm up pants and headed back to dance. Ready to take on that beginner class I mentioned returning to. Waited outside the room with about five other people, (who did not have awesome hip hop shoes) when along came the front desk lady.
Front desk lady: “Since there aren’t enough people to have this class today, you can either take a credit or go over into the advanced class. It’s not too hard. But it is harder than this one. Whatever you guys want.”
Me (In my head): No. NO. we aren’t ready for this yet! We discussed this, and regardless of whether or not we have our new awesome hip hop shoes, we are NOT ready for the advanced class. We were terrible embarrassed last time, ashamed of ourselves for even trying. Take the credit. TAKE THE CREDIT!!!!
Front desk lady: So if you do wanna take the class just come to the front and let us know so we can stamp your hand.
Me (Outloud): I’ll take the class.
Me (in my head): WHAT ARE YOU DOING?????? I SAID we are not ready for this! are you trying to get us killed? We could die in there, a terrible horrible death of embarrassment, one that we will never recover from don’t you remember what happened last time? What are you THINKING???
Me (To my head): Shuttup. We got the shoes. We will be fine. Just chill out. We are cool now. We are hip hop. Stop stressing me homie.
Me (In my head): I’m not your fucking homie! I’m a reasonable woman who doesn’t want to leave here with a badge of shame pinned to her forehead! Your shoes won’t do shit. You can’t do it. You are going to RUIN US!
Me (to my head): Just. Trust. The. SHOES. LA Lights never let us down. Nike won’t fail us now either.
So I walked to the front and got my stamp. Walked into class and took my place. Allowed the nonsensical blathering taking place in my mind to settle and with each move, with each drop of sweat that fell from my head or raced down my back, I forgot about last weeks failure. I forgot how ashamed I had been when not being the best. I forgot about the beginners class. And I forgot about the shoes.
I fuck things up when I try to think about them. When I take control of my life, holding the reins high and drive the poor horses into the night. When I give up the wheel, quiet the monsters, and follow the leader, I do exceedingly well. And I have some peace and quiet in my mind.
Maybe it was the shoes. Maybe it was my feet. I don’t know. But something happened today that reminded me of how important it is to get back on the dance floor. Even if you are terrified you are going to fall off. I had two choices. I could either live in fear that I was going to be a miserable failure, or faith that the shoes would carry me through to the end of the class, and everything would be just fine.
Today, I choose the shoes. And goddamnit. They were magical.