David Bowie- Put On Your Red Shoes

David Bowies death was sad. A legend like that, you would like to live forever. David Bowie touched so many of our lives. Including my little seventh grade one.

In seventh grade I moved to a new school. I had graduated from 6th grade and my little elementary school and moved on to the big leagues. A school three times the size, this junior high was intimidating to say the least. My friends I had clung to were now in other classes, other buildings, other lunch areas and I never saw them. I had to forge a new life for myself.

I remember meeting new kids who were so free with their identities and expression. I, on the other hand, had fallen into a group in elementary school and dressed like them, talked like them, and was entirely not myself. In addition this was reinforced by the fact that any time I stepped out of bounds fashion wise or in any way, I would by shamed into going right back. There was a uniform required to be in this group. There were no deviations accepted and I was to consider myself lucky to be in the group at all. I put on my pearls, head band, and corduroys and kept my mouth shut.

In junior high, and no longer with my copycat posse, I was exposed and alone. In short I was terrified. My uniform was no longer my armor. In fact it made me stick out. I didn't know what to do.
I spent the first part of the year just trying to keep my head above water. Then I started meeting some girls I felt like I could really bond with. Girls that would end up my life long friends. They loved my humor and my way of looking at things. Still, I was dressing like my old gang. Too afraid to be singled out. I watched as my new friends took chances with fashion and I remained scared. Soon I was getting attention from new boys (because of my new group). Again, I was not comfortable. I remember looking in the mirror and saying: "who are you!?"

Not long after that David Bowie released: Let's Dance. My thirteen year old mind was swimming. I loved the video and watched it incessantly.

 I loved his sex appeal. His strength. I loved his individuality. I listened to the lyrics.

(Let's Dance) Put on your red shoes and dance the blues
(Let's Dance) To the song they're playing on the radio
(Let's Sway) While color lights up your face
(Let's Sway) Sway through the crowd to an empty space
If you say run, I'll run with you
If you say hide, we'll hide
Because my love for you
Would break my heart in two
If you should fall, into my arms
And tremble like a flower

(Let's Dance) For fear your grace should fall
(Let's Dance) For fear tonight is all
(Let's Sway) You could look into my eyes
(Let's Sway) Under the moonlight, this serious moonlight

It was brave. It was powerful. I was inspired.

I went out shopping that week with my Mom and picked out clothes I liked. No one else. My Mom was encouraging. Most importantly, I got a pair of red shoes. Red "Mia" flats with pointy toes. Edgy. Brave. Cool.

I showed up to school Monday morning like I owned the place. People noticed. I got a lot of positive comments. Some negatives ones too. I didn't care. I was myself. I looked the way I felt. I looked like me. I put on my RED SHOES.

I think about what those little red flat shoes gave me the courage to do. Like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz they always kept me brave and safe.

I need to remember this NOW as life challenges me in different ways....

I think I need a new pair of red shoes.

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