A few weeks ago, my mother and I decided to visit this new supermarket 15 minutes from where we lived. I have a thing for groceries. There’s a certain way how products are placed. Each display entices the customer to buy something that they don’t need. It’s this placement of products that interests me.
Our original plan was to go food tripping in UP Town Center, the new place for food, fashion, and other things. Katipunan is known for its variety of restos and cafés. It’s literally a university town, and most of the students are from wealthy families looking for a dish or cup to satisfy their taste buds.
We crossed to St. Marc Café to get some appetisers. I suggest you order their matcha latte and the matcha Daifuku Chococro. Those were AMAZING.
We walked in and out of shops, looking at stuff we would never buy. I saw a Fujifilm X-T10, and the price made me realise that it almost costs as much as my mother’s surgery.
I mentioned earlier that a lot of the students come from well-off families. Classes were canceled that day (I think) and a number of them went to UP Town. I dressed pretty normally and pretty decently, decent enough to blend in I suppose.
The only thing I ignored were my shoes. I wore Crocs that day, not the obviously hideous ones that everyone hates (I own a pair and still use them btw) just a different type.
I don’t know why but I was overly conscious of my feet. Was it because it had holes on the sides to allow easy breathing? No. I hate closing off my feet to the air, so having my trotters tread true was the least of my worries. What was it then? Was it the shoes themselves?
I caught myself looking at these students’ shoes. Adidas, Nike, Reebok, New Balance, Puma, Onitsuka. Canvas, synthetic, leather. High-top, low-top, slip-on. Red, white, blue, yellow. As I saw more and more of these amazing shoes, my feet felt more and more naked.
I knew no one cared about what shoes I was wearing. I knew no one was looking at my feet. No one was telling me that I had terrible taste in casual fashion. Yet the sensation ate me away. Invisible eyes were ridiculing me of how stupid I looked. It felt like I was transported back to when I first arrived in the Philippines, a person who chose to be different then outcasted and judged.
We walked into a sneaker store with shelves on shelves of NBs that I’ve never seen. One pair caught my eye. It was simple, comfortable, and not that heavy on the wallet. I love NB; I think NB makes the best-looking sneakers. I’ve always wanted to buy a pair, but stores never had my size. This store did. So I bought them.
I love the style, they were fairly “cheap,” they were simple and unobtrusive (which I look for in a shoe), and super comfortable. But I felt guilty. I felt guilty buying these shoes even though the only con was that I spent money. I bought them because I wanted to feel good. A social anxiety coupled with nakedness fueled by a materialistic solution gave birth to this guilt.
I took a picture of the shoes I bought. I don’t know why I did it. Probably because I felt so good. I felt so great that I didn’t realise I had created an emotional crutch. I wish I had bought these shoes under better circumstances. I feel guilty yet safe each time I wear them. It’s like alcohol really. It comforts you and kills you.