New Shoes Changed My Attitude

By Andy Carrizales, guest blogger

Looking down on her school’s floors, Ana saw the gorgeous red ribbons on her friend’s shoes. As her eyes moved to her own sneakers, her gray shoes made her feel anonymous and alienated from her peers. Ana remembers elementary school as the time when every girl was looking to impress, not by her standardized clothes, but by her shoes.

Ana’s parents, both immigrants, couldn’t afford to buy her expensive shoes. Her dad was in the construction business and only understood a little English, while her mom only spoke Spanish and, following the Mexican custom, stayed at home. Ana did not have difficulties with the language, but she was affected by her parents’ low income. She remembers how stepping out of the yellow school bus in her gray New Balance sneakers made her feel inferior to the other girls in her school who wore nicer brands.

One Christmas, her aunt surprised her with a pair of Phat Farm shoes, just like the ones she had seen her friends wearing weeks before and which she desperately coveted with all her heart. As soon as school resumed Ana tied up the shoe laces of her white and pink sneakers. That day Ana hopped out of the school bus, ready to conquer the hearts of her classmates.

“I wasn’t trying to please a crowd, I just wanted to feel part of something. If it means you’re going to talk to me and we’re going to be friends, then yeah, I’ll get those shoes.”Ana shoes

By wearing her eye-catching new shoes, Ana felt more confident and experienced more interaction with her classmates.  Her lonely days ended.

“I felt like I fit in a little bit more than I used to with the other shoes.”