Growing up, I was always a bit of an outlier from my peer group. I primarily spent time with the boys, and rotated between three men’s t-shirts and four pairs of long basketball shorts. When middle school rolled around, you wouldn’t find me doing makeover with my friends or giggling over boys. Instead, I was either at ultimate Frisbee practice or running around with my friends. It was at this stage in my life that I first saw myself as an outsider and began to embrace my quirkiness as a pillar of my personality.
As a fervent tomboy, I always struggled to find shoes that matched my identity. I would gaze at the rows of pink and purple shoes that lay before me at the local department store with a sinking heart. Every year, I grudgingly picked a pair of these shoes and wore them with shame to school every day for the next year. My friends teased me for wearing something so “girly” and the mud that eventually encased my shoes was my only salvation (though temporary), diverting my attention from the glitter on my feet to just being my energetic, boyish self.
When I reached the age of twelve, I had firmly settled on the fact that I needed to make a change, because my discomfort, while centered around such a minor aspect of my life, was continuing to grow. When I went shoe shopping with my mom that year, I begged her to take me to the boy’s section, and being the great mother she is, she grudgingly complied. Immediately, my eyes settled on a display of odd looking shoes that were covered in holes, and I instantly fell in love. The shoes were in an array of black, blues, reds, and greens, and their appearance appealed strongly to my quirky side. Needless to say, I walked out of the store that day as the proud owner of a new pair of Crocs, and I never looked back.
Even now, I can be seen strolling across my college campus in my newest pair of Crocs. I continue to buy them from the men’s section, continuing the practice that I started eight years ago. Crocs have become a staple of my personality, showing the world that I am unashamedly myself and that I refuse to conform to gender specific shoe standards. My feet will be blessed with their presence until my dying day, and I refuse to apologize to anyone who tells me they are ugly, because, when it comes down to it, my clothing choices are my own.