Your weekly dose of reality:
I mean, really love shoes.
I don't have a lot of memories of my childhood before the age of 12, we'll talk about that in another dose, but the one of the memories that I do have is my mom bringing me shoes over to my grandparents house.
It was a fresh new pair of British Knights. They had a gold leopard print. I thought, these ain't even out yet! Of all the things my mother did for me, she always kept me fresh with shoes.
So, my family and friends always joke or have issues with my shoe consumption/purchases, but for me, every time I purchase a pair of shoes it immediately brings me back to to that moment of me opening that shoebox and seeing those shoes for the first time and me completely loving my mother for that. That's important because my mom and I don't have the best relationship.
But every time I buy a new pair of kicks, literally the words come out of my mouth, I love you mom.
I mean there are times when I go months without talking to my mom. But in those moments, I'm immediately connected.
About 4-5 months ago, a new pair/colorway or Jordan's came out. Jordan 1's nicknamed "what the" because they have 5 different colorways on them. I typically pick up 2 pair, one to sell to pay for the ones I keep, because I'm always #hustlin 😉
But as typical Jordan releases go, these sold out fast, so I was able to get one size 11 (my size) and one size 10 1/2. I thought, well, I should be able to sell them no problemo.
I've been getting lowball offers so they had just been sitting in the closet, until this weekend.
I was at an event, and this guy commented on my shoes:
“Hey man, those are nice Jordan’s.” I didn't think too much about it, he didn't look like a sneaker head, I just though maybe he thought they were cool. The second day, he says “man, those are dope” and we actually have a convo about the ones I was wearing that day.
Little did I know, he had wanted a pair of Jordan's since he was 12.
I could see that there was a deeper connection and meaning for him with the shoes, and it brought me back to what shoes mean to me.
He told me that he literally walked around the mall a few days prior and for some reason just couldn't bring himself to get them. Obviously not because he couldn't financially, because he can.
Guess what size shoe he wore?
Sometimes things happen that you don't see the reasons for in that moment. For me, I was pissed I couldn't get two pair of size 11's, and pissed that people were low balling me on the price etc.
But there was a reason those 10 1/2's stayed in my closet so long. At the end of the event, I told Jay to hang tight for a minute. I ran out to my car, came back and gifted him the 10 ½’s.
For me to share my story and meaning and connection with him and for him to appreciate those shoes so much we both shed a few tears, it was unbelievable.
Be open to what may not be present or what you may not be able to see in the present. Know that it's not about you, it never has been.
As the wonderfully humbled recipient of your generosity, I assume it will come as no surprise to you that I had a pair of British Knights and that several months ago I spent an hour scouring the Internet trying to see if they were still available. Similar to yourself, I have very vivid memories of going new shoe shopping every August before school started with my mother. I remember when Jordan IV's came out, and I just made the basketball team. At that point in time, I couldn't afford them and I ended up getting these black on black L.A. Gear Jordan knock offs. They weren't as dope as Jordan's, but I loved them nonetheless. I've been thinking nonstop about your generosity since yesterday. I told you I was going to pay it forward. I don't have all the details in place yet, but here's what I think I'm going to do: I live in a very socioeconomically divided town. I remember how it felt to show up "less than" for that first day of school and even in that circumstance, I always had new shoes, not to mention how it felt for kids who had to show up with hand-me-downs or busted shoes. I'm going to spend time between now and August doing some fund-raising and getting the infrastructure in place to give as many kids as possible a new pair of shoes to go back to school with in September. Next time we talk, let's talk about how we can structure this to pass on the legacy of our moms. I remain humbled. Thank you.