Two things I love about my friend Jenn Lederer: She’s got an open mind and sharp opinions.
She’s cool with whatever you want to wear, do, pursue. “You do you, girl,” she says, waving her hand at everyone and no one.
But don’t get her started on footwear.
“Wedges? Fine. Clogs, cool. Tennis shoes ok. Rock a 4-inch heel if you want. But—” and here, the chin drops, eyebrow lifts, a long finger slices through the air like a blade.
“Do not come for me with your kitten heels.”*
It’s not just that she doesn’t prefer that shoe. Oh no. It’s much more.
“They enrage me.”
It will not surprise you that Jenn is, among other things, a comic, and so taking issue with harmless inanimate objects is part of the gig.
The problem with kitten heels?
“They put the heel at the center of the heel, not at the back—the most painful and annoying place to put a heel. It’s just an awkward way to walk for no reason at all. Though watching you walk toward me at full speed in them will be hilarious.”
Oh, she’s not done.
“They’re noncommittal,” she says. “It’s not a flat, it’s not a wedge, it’s not a heel. I just don’t know if I can trust your judgment if you wear this shoe.”
Ah! And there it is.
Pain. Awkwardness. The fact that they’re “noncommittal.”
THAT is what she ACTUALLY hates! Those qualities: undue pain, half-assed-ness.
This tells me about her values, and one of the things I admire about her—and I like to think we have this in common—is that we don’t half ass things. We go ALL in on what we do.
People who go full-tilt want that same commitment from others…and where that trust comes in is fascinating: Because she does not feel she can trust someone who won’t do the same. Shoes or no shoes.
I bet you didn’t think of that as the lesson here, and neither did I—until I started to unpack it.
Is there anything, literally ANYTHING you want to do (and really want to do, not just feel you “should”) in your life or your work that you can get by being half-committed?
Yeah, going full tilt means taking a full risk. But going halfsies on risk will yield about as much reward.
And one thing I’m sure we can agree on, tastes in shoes notwithstanding:
You do NOT want a kitten-heel version of your best work, your best ideas, your best anything.
Maybe you think the kitten heel version is…safer, because it’s lower to the ground, or more practical, or more comfortable. But in fact, they’re not! They’re just a smaller, less interesting version of an actual heel.
What would things be like if you chose the best version of what you want to do, instead of the safer version?
Now, God knows we can’t stomp around all day in stilettos. But at least a sneaker isn’t trying to be anything but a sneaker. A clog is like, Yo, I’m a clog. Not trying to hide it. Wear what you want! But wear it.
(Fact: I have had more than one kitten heel in my life. So, no judgment from me if you’re curling your toes inside a pair right now.)
I think you get my point.
The hard part isn’t doing the thing. It’s committing to doing it in a real way, not a safe, side-steppy, cute way. Half-assing isn’t cute.
Decide you’re all in. Don’t pamper yourself with excuses. Don’t tell yourself you’re too busy. Excuses are the kitten heels of life.
And please. Do not COME for me in your kitten heels.
…One way to go all in?
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