I am calling it A Walk in My Shoes for now.
It is basically my life through the shoes I've worn -- thanks to my shoe obsession.
Reading it, you'll find out it's about so much more than shoes, though.
It started as a memoir for one of my graduate classes, but I realized I had so much more than 12 pages worth of writing, and that if I expanded enough, I could TRY MY HARDEST to get it published.
The following wouldn't necessarily be the first chapter, but it would be one of them. I will definitely add more to it, but I want thoughts on what it is right now. Let me know what you think!
A few days before my nightmarish seventh grade year was over, my mom took me to the mall (at the beginning of seventh grade, I had moved from Wesleyan Christian Academy to Southwest Middle school. Going from private to public was a shock to my system, and I had made only one friend the entire year at Southwest, and she wasn’t even in all of my classes. I spent most of the year alone, watching the other kids have fun and share laughs). I wanted some new shoes. I was over my habit of wearing the same tennis shoes every day as a security blanket. I wanted some summer shoes, and I wanted a change. I was starting to come out of my shell again, and I wanted some shoes to reflect that.
We went to the shoe department at Belk’s and there they were. One pair immediately caught my eye. They were absolutely perfect. Straw-looking platform sandals. The platform heels went up to about 4 inches high. They looked like shoes straight from the 70s, and that absolutely thrilled me. I have always been convinced that I was born in the wrong decade, and liked to wear clothes and listen to music that reflects that. My mom bought them for me, and the rest is history.
I wore those shoes to my last couple of days of seventh grade. I’m sure the other kids wondered what had happened and why I was dressing up all of a sudden at the end of the school year.
I wore those shoes to my very first day of eighth grade at Southwest Middle School. Knowing how terrible seventh grade had been, I was dreading eighth, and my mom had told me that if I didn’t like it, I could go to a different school, but I was to at least try it out. So on the morning of the first day of my last year of middle school – August 19, 2002 – I put on my khaki shorts, red shirt with the white collar, put my hair in a ponytail with a white ribbon, and slipped my platforms on my feet. I didn’t know it then, but that was to be a monumental day that I would remember forever.
See, that morning when I was getting ready for school, I heard the song “Burning Love” by Elvis on the radio. I didn’t know what song it was, but for the whole day, and weeks after that, I had the song stuck in my head at all times. I knew it was Elvis, but I didn’t know the name, and couldn’t remember the words – just the tune. But I was intrigued by it. A couple months later, I asked for the Elvis Number Ones CD for my 14th birthday because I figured my mystery song had to be on there. On October 30, 2002, I found out what my mystery song was, and ever since that day, I have been absolutely in love with Elvis Presley and his music. His voice has always been so comforting to me.
This obsession with Elvis has sparked many conversations with elderly folks who listened to Elvis in his heyday, when they were teenagers. They see me with an Elvis purse or shirt and ask, “Do you like Elvis? You weren’t even alive to remember!” I’ve also been to Graceland and to see Elvis impersonators and friends always see Elvis memorabilia when they are out or on vacations and pick me up something special. Now, every time I wear those platform shoes, I think about wearing them on August 19, 2002, and how that day was the start of my Elvis obsession.
I also think about my eighth grade year in general. I didn’t have to transfer schools. I wasn’t unhappy at all. In fact, that year ended up being one of the best (if not the best) school years of my life. It was as if something had clicked, and I was all of a sudden making friends, having fun, and I even got my first real boyfriend (ooh la la). I continued to wear those platform shoes all the time. One day in language arts, I was bored and wrote “Beth’s left shoe” on the bottom of the left and “Beth’s right shoe” on the bottom of the right. My friends laughed, and the writing is still on the bottom of the shoes, in case I ever forget which one goes on which foot.
The platform sandals became my “good luck shoes,” and I wore them on the first day of high school, the last day of ninth grade year, and the first day of tenth grade. High school was amazing. I wanted to wear the shoes on my high school graduation day, but we had to wear dressier shoes.
BUT I did end up wearing them to my graduation from High Point University in May of 2012. I didn’t necessarily intend to – I wanted purple heels really badly because HPU’s color is purple. I looked and looked everywhere for purple shoes. No luck. Finally I realized it would only be right if I wore my “good luck shoes” to my college graduation, and when I look back at the pictures, I’m so glad I did.
I was nervous to start graduate school at Appalachian State University, and of course I wore my good luck platforms on my first day of class in graduate school - August 2012.
These shoes are the ones that I’ve had the longest of the ones that I still wear. They’re comforting and familiar, and they’ve been with me during some of the most important times of my life. They have the most sentimental value of any of my shoes.