Highlighting my past as true ‘neon kid’

Luke Willer

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Luke Willer

A young Luke Willer takes on bumper carts, clad in neon.

What do traffic cones, highlighters, glow sticks and Luke Willer in 4th-6th grade have in common? They are always covered in neon colors, and as I reflect on my days as a human highlighter, I realize the simplicity that came from my limited clothing choices, and how truly legendary that era of my life was.

We are all aware of the neon kid identity that so many kids of the grade school age resonate with. I am here to say that I was the best neon kid to ever grace the walls of an elementary school, and I am also saying that I was truly the first of my kind. I not only executed the neon kid style to the max, but I began the trend that so many followed.

My favorite outfit was a neon yellow Nike shirt and neon orange shorts that my mother had purchased for me from Kohls–the epicenter for neon clothing. I would then choose to pair this with countless Rainbow Loom bracelets that I would make during recess, 2-3 titanium rope baseball necklaces and most of all my favorite pair of Nike Elite socks. I am not ashamed to say that a pair Nike Elite socks at the time were about $22 per pair.

The truth of this time in my life was I never had to think about clothing. Nothing had to match; it didn’t matter if it was too bright, and neon worked for every occasion. I would wear neon to church, to school and on picture day. If I was left up to my own, I’d probably have neon dress clothes.

When I reflect on times in my life where I loved who I was and was secure in myself, I’d refer people to this. This age and mindset was truly pure. I wasn’t living by someone else’s standards and expectations, I was my own person that really simply loved life and who I was.

I would never ask anyone to dress how I did back then, but take a lesson from who I was then, and understand that, if you really like a weird shirt, wear the shirt. If you want to wear shorts during the winter, what’s stopping you? If you enjoy wearing something outside of the ordinary because you think it’s cool, maybe it really is cool.