I don’t remember how they started, but they always ended the same way, with me frantically trying to tie the stubborn shoelaces on my floral Keds. I needed to hurry up and run… To catch up with my family that was already several paces ahead. I was always right outside my aunt and uncle’s house where I grew up, using the front steps for support as I attempted to strap my slow moving feet into shoes that suddenly became too slippery. The street was dark and there was never a soul in sight… (which was true of the Johnston suburbs before RI’s high unemployment rate forced everyone to do their own yard work and go on stay-cations)…I almost always fell, tripping over the loose laces, or worse, a shoe might disappear altogether, leaving me grappling in the eerily quiet streets of the Johnston suburbs. Scrambling for the missing shoe, I would hobble around with my bare feet on hard concrete, inevitably falling further and further behind.
Not long after arriving to the United States, I had this recurring dream of leaving the house shoeless in the middle of the night. The dreams were vivid and occurred for several years in my childhood. I would wake up dazed, kicking my legs still trying to run. Once I got my bearings, I would laugh at myself, wondering why I so upset about leaving without shoes on?
Of all the fears to have? Shoeless? Really?
It wasn’t till I was an adult that I realized that the shoeless in suburbia dreams most likely had to do with fears of leaving home suddenly, being caught off guard and undergoing unexpected life changes…among other things.
That dream keeps me grounded now and serve as a gentle reminder. As quickly as my life may change and as unexpected as those changes may be, things could be a lot more unstable and stressful…as they were for me as a child…more importantly, as they are right now for millions of people all around the world.
In Solidarity and Keds,