I don’t remember it being a specific day, or year for that matter, that I deviated from the mainstream. Not that I am saying that I don’t watch the news, or that I don’t enjoy a good hit song when it becomes a craze, but sometimes I ask myself when did I unplug out?
Maybe it was when I had my first pair of Nikes worth $90 – $100 in the 2nd grade? Air Jordans to be exact even though I don’t remember the series. I never received so many “are those the new…” and “look at that guy’s shoes!” I think it lasted for about a week. My mother had worked hard to provide this type of lifestyle for my siblings and I, coming to the US from Haiti. She took on the brunt of providing for the family, working everyday to taking care of the bills and the household. When we were doing well financially around 1988 we were able to get acquire many things such as an Atari, a Nintendo, and even more cool toys.
But then the recession hit, and the money dried up, and the cool stuff stopped coming.
Somehow I became fatter during this time but that’s a story for a later date.
So as time passed I began wearing non-major branded shoes which to this day still I do. Did I feel less empowered when I wore less expensive shoes growing up? Not at all. I guess being a bit mature for my age I decided that I didn’t need expensive pairs of shoes to get by. I was happy with a $20 pair of van knockoffs. It made mom happy because she could save on school clothes. Also the money saved could by shoes for other people who couldn’t afford shoes all around the world. Was it wrong for my to think in this manner?
Maybe my personal views changed as I realized that growing up we’re taught more to “fit in” than to be fiscally responsible and invest our money. Maybe seeing families over the years struggling to survive financially and emotionally helped me to realize what counts?
Do I own an expensive pair of shoes? Dress shoes that cost more than $20? Yes I do. But for the quality and craftsmanship the price is worth paying.
But I can always recollect back to being the kid with the “cool shoes”.
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