Be yourself, even if they don’t like it

“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! MOMMY! I looooooooove these light-up shoes! Please, please, please, I will pay you back. I will do the dishes the rest of my life. Please!”

Logan half-screamed at Shoe Carnival holding an LED, rechargeable black high top, blinking in rhythm to what I’m certain was the beat of Golddigger by Kanye West. I took one glance at the price, $50!!? I reminded Logan that we were here for the deal on cheapo gym shoes.

Logan looked to the ground, turned around, and took the shoe back to its display.

I’m completely impervious to his strikingly blue sad eyes just before he looked away. I move on. “Let’s see here, Sketchers? Fila? Anything under $30. That’s what we’re looking for,” I say, completely stoic. “Do you want green or orange?”

Logan sighs, “Orange, I guess.”

“Hey, Danielle, can you go help Anya? She’s on the other side of the store, ” says my mother-in-law. She thinks she’s sneaky but I know exactly what she’s doing. She’s a sucker for those baby blues and Logan’s will be stepping out of this store in LED-style.

Logan half-screaming, tears streaming down his face (he’s a happy crier). “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! MOMMY! I looooooooove these light-up shoes! Ga (grandma’s nickname) is buying them for me!” Me, acting shocked (unconvincingly), “Wow, you are one lucky boy!”

My MIL apologized a nonapology. I know she loves spoiling them so I let her. I feign frustration. It’s a game we play.

Logan put those shoes on the minute we got home to show his dad. He bounced around in the shadows so Donnie could really get the full effect of the light show. Then Donnie says, “Those are really… crazy looking shoes.” Then I get a text from MIL. “Are you sure those are cool? I don’t want him to get made fun of. If he gets made fun of, let’s take them back and get other ones.”

I sighed. No. We will not do that.

  1. I don’t care if they are “cool” and I don’t want Logan to care either.
  2. What other shoes would we get? Take a poll of the kids who made fun of him then go to the store and get what THEY want for Logan to wear.

No. I will not do that.

I responded. “If he gets made fun of, it’s a life lesson.” MIL didn’t like that. She’s very protective.

Donnie told me that she’s probably extra cautious because when he was young, he had new everything. He was a trendsetter. In middle school, trendsetters get eaten alive. Anything new or different is subject to incessant criticism. He took it hard.  “She doesn’t want that for Logan.”

I countered. “Well, I never tried anything new. I made decisions based on what was ‘cool’ or what I saw other kids do. I never acted like myself, I acted like others. I didn’t make any friends because no one knew me. I didn’t know me. That’s not a way to live. I don’t want that for Logan.”

Donnie admitted that it’s better to be yourself and let other people hate you for it than to be someone else and have people not even notice you.

I drove home that day, singing along with the “I’m still standing” by Elton John (how appropriate). At a stoplight, I turn to my right mid-chorus (because we all have to check out who’s driving the cars next to us.) And the guy smiled. Kinda laughed. I thought “Oh. He’s laughing at me for my unabashed performance of an Elton John classic.” then I thought. “I don’t care. I’m having fun. This is me. This what I want. I don’t care about what you’re thinking.” and went right on singing.

Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid!

 

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