Written by Karen D. Swim
When I was 8 years old, I had a pair of black go-go boots. They laced up the front and zipped on the side. I loved those boots. I wanted to wear them with everything! One Friday, I put them on with my favorite fire engine red jumper and planned on going to school. However, in my day wearing red and black on a Friday was scandalous. (Don’t ask, some hooker connection). I of course did not defy my mother, but it did not change my love for those boots with that red jumper.
The year was 1972 and I was growing up in the era of Hippies and Black Panthers. My little hands alternately made the peace sign and the black power sign. I had a fondness for love beads, afro hair styles and head bands. Ah, but the boots were my favorite. In them I was fierce. I walked a little different, and posed with one hand on my hip and my head held back.
At age eight I was not questioning my choices or comparing them to societal norms. Like all children, my days were carefree and life was safe and joyous. I was ready to take on the world in my go-go boots and youthful exuberance. (Even then I believed in the power of shoes!) With my boots on, I could read the lyrics of Marvin Gayes’s “What’s Going On?” (released in 1973) a million times but still find hope in the world.
As adults we could all do with a healthy dose of childhood hope once in awhile. The ability to see the world not only as it is but how it can be. A belief that we can make a difference, that we have the potential to change the world. My black go-go boots are long gone but a little bit of their spirit remains with me. It is that spirit that encourages me to wear my boots with pride and live life with vigor, hope and absolute joy.
Are there things that you can learn from your childhood self? Do you find yourself being too serious at times? If so, how do you lighten up?