Strange Confessions: Shoes to Impress!

Strange Confessions: In High School I desperately wanted a pair of slip on checkerboard Vans shoes. But we could only afford the cheap knock-offs, and the one day I wore them to class, these “cool” rocker dudes caught the fakes and laughed at me. I never wore them to school again.

I went to private school all my life and never really had the chance to wear anything of my choice. That is, until I failed out of Judge Memorial and ended up going to Brighton. So, in 1984 I was able to show off my own personal style. I was a rocker, but didn’t go for the concert t-shirts and ripped jeans look.  I didn’t grow long hair, because it always just grew straight out. But, what I did have, was the standard issue stoner Mexican Baja jacket, and I did play Hacky Sack at the end of the hall during lunch and classes I was skipping.

I wasn’t much of a trend setter nor did I follow trends too strictly, but I knew what I was and where I fit in on the social scale. I wore what was comfortable and did things I found enjoyable. The one thing that I did want, that most rockers had at the time, were a pair of black and white, checkerboard, slip on, Vans sneakers. This was right before the resurgence of skate-boarder cultural phenomenon known as “The Straight Edge” movement. Oh, you say you don’t know what The Straight Edge movement was? Well, let me tell you. The Straight Edge movement was an identity that listened to the re-emerging SKA music, didn’t do drugs or alcohol, had a skate board hanging from their hand, and wore Vans slip ons. “Why is this important?” you may ask. Well, this site is not only designed to expose myself and my many foibles, share the gospel of Christ, help me be a better writer/communicator, but, as well as to educate people on a culture that may slowly be forgotten. These are just side notes, things that make you say, “Hey! I remember that. I’ll write this doofus and share my memories of that era.”

Anyway, I begged my Mom for a pair of these. I suppose I used all sorts of tactics that said I’d die without them, or everyone else is wearing them. Like I said, I didn’t generally go for the trends, but somehow, this was different. These were cool! Well, she got me a pair, but they weren’t Vans. They didn’t have that little skateboard at the back that said, “Off the Wall.” The label on the back probably said something like “Keds” or “PayLess” or “Loser”. Whatever it said, it was wrong. And I didn’t know this until later, I just liked the look of the shoe. Somebody had to have educated me on the proper way Vans looked, because I still remember my “walk of shame.”

I was sitting in the back row of class and I had to go up to the front for some reason. I had to walk between these two rocker dudes that I held to some high esteem. I forget more of how a teenagers mind works every day. Why did these dudes opinion of my shoes matter a bit to me? I don’t know, it just did. I walked forward and knew these guys had caught sight of my kicks earlier, for they were leaning into the aisle, waiting for me to pass, so they could verify whether these were authentic or not. I felt like spinning around as they passed and walking backward the rest of the way. As I passed, I could feel the evaluation going on behind my back. Then I heard the snickers and guffaws shooting out whisperingly like silenced gunshots, aiming at my weakened ego; killing me with humiliation.

That was the last day I wore them to school.

Today at church, the pastor asked us if we ever really so wanted to impress someone who we went to ridiculous lengths to do so, and this story came to mind. We were in Romans 16 and the sermon was about what do we want our pastor to say about us to others. What would he say? And does all this focus on our Lord, Jesus Christ? I would like people to think well of me, but the most important person whose opinion matters, is that of Christ. Not that any of our works makes a bit of difference in our salvation, but that we look forward to that day, when we stand before Christ eagerly wanting to hear those words, “Well done.” Who are we looking to impress? Is everything that we do centered around Christ? This has sparked in my mind my attitude at work. Everyday I walk in, thinking it’s all about me. This needs to change to “It’s all about Christ.” Obviously, I know this and have known this for quite some time, it’s just that we need reminding, over and over again. And remembering stories about how we tried to impress people, only to look the fool, reminds me that God will never consider us the fool, laugh at us, or mock us for our failings. His yoke is easy and light. The burdens we place on ourselves for others and so much even for Christ will only make us grow weary. His strength will revive us, He will go forward with us in the work of His kingdom. I will praise Him forever.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30


Posted on October 27, 2013, in Strange Confessions and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. OK, my ridiculous length to impress someone was to feign deep interest in the game of Risk to gain the attention of my future husband. It worked, but he knows the truth now: I hate Risk and other annoying strategy games.

    And here’s what my pastor would say about me to others: “Victoria who?” (ouch)

    • Hmm… Interesting. In talking with my wife, neither one of us believe we feigned anything to impress each other. I think we’re both a kind of take it as you see it type of people.

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