A Collection of Essays

Basketball shoes…

Dear Reader,

My husband text me a few days ago while he with my daughter at the store,

“She wants these.” Followed by a picture of Shaq basketball shoes that had zero ounce of girlie flair.

My immediate response was no.

I know that sounds silly BUT I just never imagined in my life that my little girl would want these shoes.

Pink shoes, yes.

Booties, ok.

Maybe even some cute leopard print sandals, absolutely.

BUT not boys basketball shoes.

Not those.

Her dad responded back to my no with “I think you need think more on this.”

I argued back with him a bit and stuck with my “no” answer and they both came home shoeless.

That night as I reflecting on the “shoe incident” I could not help but wonder, did I make the right decision?

I decided to distract myself from onslaught of questions that were running through my head at my parenting choice that day by reading a bit.

I recently started the book “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle and thought that would be a “safe” space to distract.

I heard about this book months before when I was listening to a podcast where Glennon was being interviewed. I LOVED what she shared from her book, but I knew that this book would mean something, maybe even change something.

So, I avoided it.

You might even say I was scared to read it.

BUT it kept gnawing at me so I picked up a copy and thought, “screw it, the worst and best thing that can happen is I change.”

As I laid in bed that night I read these words,

“The truth is that it matters not at all what you think of my life- but it matters supremely what you think of your own life. Judgement is just another cage we live in so we don’t have to feel, know, and imagine. Judgement is self-abandonment. You are not here to waste your time deciding whether my life is true and beautiful enough for you. You are here to decide if your life is true and beautiful enough for you.”[1]

Basketball shoes.

I knew in that moment I had a choice. I could either decide to tell my daughter what type of shoes I believed she should like OR let her pick her own shoes.

The next morning I woke and told her, “go with your dad and get whatever shoes you want.”

She looked at me a little puzzled but said nothing.

That night she came home with a pair of red and black basketball shoes.

As she curled up with me on the couch she nervously said, “I know you don’t like them, mom.”

AND she was not wrong, I don’t like them. I have never owned a pair of Jordan’s basketball shoes in my life. I much prefer a good pair of heels.

BUT it does not matter if I like them. What matters is her. So in that moment I chose her.

I chose to tell her, “you are right I don’t like them. BUT it does not matter at all what I think of them. What matters is that you love them. What matters is that you chose them and throughout your life you are going to make choices that I would not make. Or pick things I would not pick. AND that is ok. Just keep choosing what you love.”

I know I gave her something that day that I have spent most of my life trying to search for; the ability to just choose what is beautiful for me.

For many years I have been creating a life that others would see as beautiful. I have been trying to fit and mold myself into their expectations. My life only felt beautiful when “they” thought it was.

Glennon’s words opened my eyes to see that I was about to be that person for my daughter. The person who says this is not beautiful enough for me – choose this.

Shoes may be a small thing in the grand scheme of choices Alexa will make but I need her to know now that she has got to trust herself. Her choices. She has to be free to choose even if everyone else around her disagrees.

AND I also need her to know that no matter what I support her.

I want to raise kids who walk out into this big world and say: I choose me. I choose my thoughts. I trust myself.

And I want to be a mom who does the same. I am no longer interested in living a life for everyone else – I am interested in living my life for me.

I may never put on a pair of basketball shoes but I sure won’t stop my daughter from doing so. I want her to love those damn shoes even if I hate them because that right there is both of us choosing us.

Until next time,

Kara Jess

[1] Glennon Doyle, Untamed (New York, NY: The Dial Press, 2020), 201.

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