A Comprehensive Guide To My Shoe Rack

Things You Do Upon Reading Your First College Acceptance Letter

1) Fall off your chair.

2) Scramble to your feet.

3) Pelt around the house screaming unintelligibly at the top of your lungs, frothing at the mouth and possibly developing the first strain of human-originated rabies.

Some of you have been asking to read my college essays, so in honor of me not being a dropout, here’s one of the 3 essays I wrote for this school:

Share with us a few of your favorite books, poems, authors, films, plays, pieces of music, musicians, performers, paintings, artists, blogs, magazines, or newspapers (500 words).

I only recently discovered that Gucci is not a type of cheese, I refuse to even consider footwear that’s over twenty dollars, and I’ve owned one pair of high heels my entire life. But, with all that said, I like to consider myself someone who takes shoes very, very seriously. Although years of fervent shoe-shopping have only amounted to four perfect pairs, I am unusually proud of my small collection, arranged in a line from relatively new to positively ancient.

My ankle boots come first—soft, brown, and gorgeously chic. With their hidden one-inch heels, they make me feel a thousand times more powerful. In these shoes, I feel like a gussied-up adult, tickled by a twinge of nostalgia for the loss of my childhood. In a way, my ankle boots remind me of my favorite poem, “Buffalo Dusk” by Carl Sandburg. In a mere six lines, Sandburg conveys a vivid image of a herd of buffaloes, basking me in an almost tangible power with their stomping hooves and clouds of dust. Then, there’s that sad closing reminder that the buffalo are indeed all gone. I love this poem for the same reasons I love my ankle boots: for the way something short and sweet can represent so much more.

Next up are my fuzzy moccasin slippers, the ones I wear when I’m curled up on the couch with my laptop and a tub of popcorn. My guilty pleasure: movie trailer marathons. They’re embarrassing and aggressively unproductive, but I can binge-watch and retain dozens of trailers in one go. I guess it’s debatable whether three-minute previews are considered real films, but for me, they represent everything I fall for in full-length movies: they’re fast-paced, thought-provoking, and hard-hitting. Each sneak peek is a miniature plot roller coaster in itself, wrapped in a package and delivered in fun-size.

Third in line: my cheer shoes. They bring back bittersweet memories of sweat, blood, hardcore stunting, and my personal fight song: Mulan’s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.” Even though stretching for yoga no longer calls for musical stimulus, I still play this song every morning as I walk into school so I can siphon energy from the sheer motivational intensity of the lyrics, the drums, and Donny Osmond’s blessed-by-the-gods voice. According to my iPod, this song has nearly a thousand plays, which makes sense—it’s drawn from the most iconic, inspirational battle training scene in all of movie history.

Unfortunately, my treasured Converse sneakers are beginning to decompose in their corner of the shoe rack. They’re everything that defines me, covered from toe to heel with dried mud from hiking, gooey pine resin from climbing trees, and multicolored doodles of beloved quotes and song lyrics. I’m entirely too proud of these doodles, which are reminiscent of “Thom Yorke,” my favorite piece of art by Steve Yee. It features a man’s head unraveling to form song titles, and though no one ever recognizes the picture, people who know me understand immediately why I dig it. A melting pot of energy, idiosyncrasy, color, words, and hidden meanings, it’s the coalescence of everything I see when I look at my four pairs of everyday shoes.


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