It’s #tbt so I felt it is only right to write about something that has been on my mind lately from my childhood. It started when the a few weeks ago I decided to purchase high top all black converse. I wore the high top classic red ones when I was younger and I thought I was such a badass. Nobody my age was really wearing converse yet. I actually got them from one of my childhood friends who decided that she didn’t really like them. I wore those shoes every chance I could get. The funny thing was that I am normally a person that has to match everything, from my socks to my underwear to every accessory I am wearing. But those red converse, in my mind went with every color.
So why go with the all black ones this time? A couple of reasons, one because they match with everything. But they remind me of one of my childhood heroes, Benny the Jet Rodriguez. If you don’t know who I am talking about, you’re killin’ me smalls. Go watch The Sandlot now, sidenote: it is amazing the things you can find on YouTube these days. Benny the Jet was cool, he was awesome at baseball, looked great in baseball tees, he was kind-hearted, he looked out for the kids that others made fun of, aka Smalls and he wore awesome all black PF Flyers that helped him out run a giant English Mastiff called The Beast. I didn’t realize it when I was that young age, but I wanted to be him. As I am typing this, I am wearing the all black converse that remind me of Benny the Jet and they always make me feel just a little bit cooler.
As I was reminiscing about Benny the Jet, I thought about other childhood characters that I adored when I was younger. The other one was Aladdin. How freakin’ cool was Aladdin? He had the most awesome vest, wore a cool little hat on his head (which I later realized was called a fez), that never fell off. He had a monkey named Abu for a best friend, who wore the same outfit as him. He found a magic carpet, a magic Genie who is freakin’ hilarious and he got the gorgeous Princess Jasmine to fall in love with him despite being a street rat. He was the epitome of awesome-ness. My obsession with wearing vests totally comes from Aladdin. I wanted to be him too.
Then, there came Jack Dawson from Titanic. I thought when I was younger that I had a crush on Leonardo Dicaprio. But as I got older, I realized the same thing, I thought he was so great and amazing because I wanted to be him. He was the hero. He saved Rose, he broke through the stigma of classicism just like Aladdin did. Rose was a 1st class passenger, he was 3rd class. He didn’t have any money, but it didn’t matter. He had a heart, a good head on his shoulders, he was kind, charming and funny. Material things didn’t mean anything to him, he made each second of his life count. My favorite line that he says in the movie is the following: “I mean, I got everything I need right here with me. I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. I mean, I love waking up in the morning not knowing what’s gonna happen or, who I’m gonna meet, where I’m gonna wind up. Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge and now here I am on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people. I figure life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it. You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you… to make each day count.” I have always tried to live my life this way. Realize that the simple things, the fact that I wake up everyday happy and healthy, is the greatest gift I will ever receive. Plus he made wearing suspenders look cool. Another one of my favorite staple pieces to wear. Then he got the girl in the end, even if it was only for 3 days, he made those 3 days with her count and she never forgot him. What a guy.
These three characters stood for all the things that I wanted to be. Male figures were what I aspired and admired when I was younger. They made me want to be chivalrous, to always take care of the woman I love, kind spirited, open-minded, grateful to be alive, hard-working, and charming. They reminded me to be a never give up on your dreams, never let anyone tell me no, kind of… guy. That is the one piece that is still a struggle for me. I am not a guy. But the majority of the time I identify with male figures or characters. So much of who they are is who I want to be. But at the end of the day, I also feel feminine qualities about myself too. I am not completely masculine, or completely feminine. I identify as a lesbian with masculine qualities. I like to wear men’s clothing. I hate wearing dresses. I like my hair cut short. I like that my arms have been getting bigger and more muscular from doing CrossFit. I like holding the door open for my girlfriend and taking care of the dinner dates. I look up to characters like Benny the Jet, Aladdin and Jack Dawson. I even model some of my fashion choices after these guys. And you know what the moral of the story is? That is okay.
I can be anyone I want to be. I can look up to anyone I want to. I can identify with masculine qualities, as well as feminine ones. I don’t really need to identify as a lesbian if I don’t want to. I can just identify as me, Lindsay Felderman. Looking back at these characters and realizing as I was growing up why I was drawn to them is so interesting to me. At the end of the day, they always tried to do the right thing, they looked out for others, they gained respect and they followed their dreams. If I can have half of those good qualities just by having these characters as influences in my childhood, I am content.
Thanks Benny the Jet, Aladdin and Jack Dawson. You meant more to this kid than you can ever imagine.