By Tashmica Torok
A few months ago I signed up for a service called Shoe Dazzle. It's Kim Kardashian's company that works kind of like a shoe-of-the-month club. After taking a short fashion quiz, a virtual showroom is created for you that include both shoes and accessories. The first week of every month new selections are placed in your showroom and you can decide whether or not to purchase anything or to abstain. So far, I have yet to abstain.
The last pair of shoes that I chose were black faux suede with a gold metallic leather criss-crossed across the toe and the heel. When I opened the pink Shoe Dazzle box, I loved them. My first inclination was to put them on and do the almost unavoidable Beyonce walk through whatever venue I found myself in. I started to sift through my wardrobe in my mind picking out different pieces that had enough gold in it to be a compliment to my new shoes.
They were gorgeous. They were also six inch stilettos.
I balked. I put them on my feet and hemmed. And then I hawed. So pretty but so high heeled! Was I treading into the line of shoes made for pole dancers? Were these the shoes meant to be looked at but not taken seriously? I put them back in the box until I could make a decision.
Throughout the rest of the day, I looked for permission to wear them. I saw a news reporter on the Today Show wearing stilettos and I made the mental note that they could indeed be taken seriously. I showed my nanny who told me that if they did not hurt her back, she would wear them everywhere. The final straw was a photo sent by text to my darling friend and stylist, Heather Jarous from NicoAna. She gave her tacit approval and I threw the return shipping label out.
The next day I put them on and headed to my five year old's Christmas Cookie Celebration. I carefully maneuvered the snowy parking lot teetering on the brink of an icy wipe out. As I joined the group of parents waiting for the big show I started to feel a little foolish. Who did I think I was wearing these ridiculous shoes for a child's performance? Mothers are supposed to be practical.
That feeling stayed with me all day. A lingering question of condemnation and reproach that was self-imposed. No one gawked and pointed when I walked in. All of this strife over a pair of shoes was getting to be ridiculous.
Do you remember being a little girl and all you wanted to do was wear your frilly party dress to the park? Your parents wouldn't let you because they didn't want you to rip it going down the slide or soil it rolling in the grass. You wanted to wear it so badly because there was no feeling better than wearing that dress. It just wasn't practical.
What I discovered is that I wasn't brave enough to admit that I loved something so impractical. I worry people will find me foolish for literally wanting to roll in a nice pair of shoes like a suitcase of money. You cannot be vulnerable and protect yourself at the same time. You cannot share who you really are without some risk.
It's not about the shoes. It's about answering the lingering question, “Who do you think you are?” with an honest response in every situation. I am an aspiring healthy eater that can never say no to bacon, cheese, chocolate or butter. I am a gardener who thinks annuals are pointless because you have to replant them every year. I love a winter storm as long as I can be inside warm and watching but I worship the sun.
How often do you miss out on something because of fear? How often do you make excuses or ask for permission to be who you are?
Every time we allow fear to make decisions for us we water down who we are. We become an alternate version of ourselves. Fear does not allow us to be a whole person. It cuts us off at the knees. It makes a great big world so very small. I was never meant to live in a small world.
Tashmica Torok is a local entrepreneur, blogger and community activist. Her blog, The Mother Flippin': One Funny Mother, is about encouraging women to improve the world through thoughtful, honest parenting, responsible business practices and advocacy for those less fortunate. And laughter...loads of laughter!