Best Of live

It’s About More Than The Boots





Holy tangent!
I’ll just leave it at that, you’ll see.


There are so many posts that live in my mind for months before I find the words to put them down on paper…so many.
This is one of them.

Remember my break/quarter-life-crisis/whatever-you-want-to-call-it?
Because it’s sorta relevant to this post.

There’s been a lot of dusting off going on around these parts.
You might say it all started with these boots.
The boots I have been holding on to since the 6th grade.
The boots that have traveled from home to home to home with me over the last 15 years…
Where they would always take up residence in some dark corner of the back of my closet–certain to never be worn.

I was in Sweden for a soccer tournament when I found these boots at an official Dr. Martens store.  They were all the rage at the time, and I remember my hand quivering as my older teammates pressured me to hand over the remainder of my “shopping” travelers checks so I could take these puppies home with me.  It was more money then I had ever spent on a single item in my life.

I didn’t wear them once for the rest of our soccer tour through Europe, stating “I’m saving them for when we get home”.

And then we got home.
And I would try them on.
Have one look in the mirror.
Become paralyzed with self-doubt and insecurity.
Hurry and rip them off.
Then shove them back in the box and push them to their resting place in the corner of my closet. This continued for several years.

And even tough I’ve moved at least a dozen times since 6th grade, and have probably thrown out at least several dozen shoes in that time..these boots have always made the cut.

Just the other day something strange happened.
I got dressed in one of my go-to errand running outfits that isn’t made of sweatsuit material,
and instead of going for my safe brown boots with the red zipper…
I found myself searching in that dark corner of my closet, the corner where my Dr. Martens were hibernating.
I pulled them out, dusted them off with a baby wipe and slipped them on.
They fit like a glove. Just as they had in 6th grade.

I looked in the mirror, surprisingly pleased with how they looked, but also fully aware that this outfit would not be most people’s cup-o-tea.

And where the old me would have had a momentary bout of panic at the thought of others giving me the up-and-down when I walked out of the house in these boots…

Well, the new me…
the me-in-progress…
the me after my break/quarter-life-crisis/whatever-you-want-to-call-it…
this version of me left the boots on, took a deep breath and embraced the positive emotions of how these boots made me feel.

I liked them.
And that’s all that mattered.

Ok, I see I’m not saying exactly what I’m trying to say in this post.
So here goes another try.

There is a particular quality in a person that I think really let’s you know that they’ve figured out who they are.
And by no means am I claiming to have achieved this quality–not in the least.
Rather, I’ve simply acknowledged its existence, and that I desire to obtain it.
(and acknowledgment really is the first step to achievement, right?)

And that quality is…
The person who has learned how to not care what others think about them.

I’m not talking about the person who uses the “I don’t care about what anyone else thinks” attitude as a justification for recklessness or selfishness or unkind choices. I’m talking about the person who works to be the best version of themselves, then acknowledges their faults and flaws, and loves themselves in spite of their shortcomings.  This person doesn’t apologize for who they are, but they are also brave enough to say sorry when sorry is warranted. If you ask me, this is a person to be admired.

We need to love ourselves before we can show others love.
For some reason we live in a world that wants us to think that self-love, self-care and self-respect all equate to a selfish person.
And sometimes I have believed them…especially since becoming a mom.

While motherhood opened chambers of my heart I never knew existed,
I also found that I had never in my life felt so unworthy of showing myself love.
I’m not talking about loving myself…I’m talking about proving it.
By taking care of myself.
By taking me-time without guilt.
By sometimes putting my needs first,
knowing full-well that only then can I meet the needs of those I love.

My break/quarter-life-crisis/whatever-you-want-to-call-it…
Well, it had a few objectives, and overcoming this sense of “unworthy for self-love” was one of them.
I’m not there yet. Not even close actually.
But I’m walking down the right path (in my Dr. Martens).
Any tips on getting there would be much appreciated.

P.S. This book has been helping me get there–like woah, it’s awesome.



Shirt: Soho, Pants: F21, Earring: F21, Bracelets: c/o Threads, Necklace: A Beautiful Mess

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  • Reply
    January 21, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Love this Ashley. I have good days and bad days with the same problem. I’ve decided a big part of it pertains to weight and I think now I know I need to do something about that before I can feel really comfortable in my own skin. The kids inspire me to be better, to care less about how other people see me and concentrate on how I see myself.
    You must know though that just by admitting this issue alone you are helping so many women who have been afraid to really think about making a change, even knowing how much better it will be in the long run. Thank you. X

    • Reply
      Alice Gold
      January 21, 2013 at 6:05 pm

      I don’t want anyone to think that I am trying to promote myself here because I am not, but I just HAVE to respond to what you have said because I have learned that the truth is the exact opposite. I lost 40 pounds last year. How did I do it? I decided to figure out how to love myself. It has never worked the other way around for me. I don’t lose weight then magically love myself. I learned to love myself and then I was able to lose weight. I wrote about it here.

  • Reply
    Meesh :)
    January 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Growing up my mother always allowed and encouraged us to be independent, dress ourselves etc. to this day she tells me along with most ppl that i march to the beat of my own drum! Im always behind on a trend and dress in a way that makes me comfy even if it isnt everyones cup of tea! So thats my long winded version of: good for you Ashley! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    I’m prtty sure you could wear bunny slippers and still look amazing. In fact, we are probably all going to have to dust off our old Dr. Martins now because you wore them and made them cool again!

  • Reply
    Karin - The F Girl
    January 21, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    I just was saying this morning on my blog that I think that I reached another version of puberty. Without the pimples, luckily. So, I know how you feel. That feeling of redefining yourself, finding out who you are, what you want, what you like, instead of behaving the way you think you should be. At least, that is what I am struggling with right now.

    Let me just say that, even though it shouldn’t matter one bit what I think, because you’re awesome like that, naturally, I love how you look in those boots. You look relaxed and comfortable in your skin.

    Take care! xxx

  • Reply
    January 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    i bought a few pairs of doc martens on my graduation trip to England YEARS ago, sadly i didn’t keep them but have been watching ebay hoping to score a pair 🙂 you’re adorable, as always. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Good for you! And way to hold onto those shoes! Wear ’em proudly!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    This is a beautiful post. I can relate so much! I’ve been working hard on the exact same thing and I feel like I’m finally learning how to put on my Doc Martens, so to speak. 🙂 Thanks for being so open and inspiring as always.

  • Reply
    Lindsay Roberts
    January 21, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    I love you Ash! Miss your beautiful words more than you know 🙂

  • Reply
    January 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    I have Dr. Marten boots I have been wearing for years. They are brown and the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. I know they were expensive, but they last FOREVER, so worth every penny. I like your black ones, too.

  • Reply
    Alice Gold
    January 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I love that book too. I was so happy to be part of the blog tour. I admire Brene Brown so much. Your writing explains it perfectly: a mother’s journey to self-love. It’s so important. I had four kids before I discovered I needed to change. I just had the best validation in the form of my daughter’s writing. I wrote about it on my blog a few days ago. I LOVE the boots. I think you should wear them every day until you know you are as secure as you desire. 🙂

  • Reply
    kelly thompson
    January 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Gotta tell you I loved this and enjoy reading your posts! Dont want to devalue your writings but I am most shocked that you can wear shoes from the 6th grade…ha ha- I went from 8 1/2 to 10 and then 11 or so after pregnancy and have never seen my 6th grade shoes again! thanks!

  • Reply
    Kristen W
    January 21, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Oh my GOODNESS! I truly did this same thing a few weeks ago! I have a turquoise plaid pair of Doc boots and I LOOOVE them. But I used to just wear them to work specifically. And then I decided I was going to step outside my comfort zone one day so I put them on with skinny jeans…. And I wore them like that all day…. And I loved it. And I was proud of myself for it! I know exactly what you’re saying in this post! Good for you! And yes, they look adorable! 😉

  • Reply
    Miranda M
    January 21, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    I swear we should be FRIENDS! My second baby is 6 months old (my first 3 1/12 – our kids are practically the same age except I have two girls) and have just started to know myself. For so long I was a people “appeaser”. Not so much a people pleaser, but I didn’t like to do things that inconvenienced others, made them feel bad/sad in any way and was quite content with being that way. After having my second baby I realized my sanity was taking a hit because of how exhausting it is doing that and I started doing one thing at a time for myself until I could do it without apologizing or even feeling bad. Now, I can do things for me without apologizing (although I do feel bad sometimes still – it’s a work in progress) and feel like I’ve started to get to know myself finally. I know what I like, what I want to do and what makes ME happy. It feels so good to breath 🙂 you keep going, keep doing things YOU want and don’t apologize for being you. You are so awesome!

  • Reply
    Shante Morgan
    January 21, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    I LOVE them. Now that I’ve said that….I have almost the exact same pair in brown that are the same thing. They have been hanging out in my closet for years. I even bought some ribbon to switch in for the laces but they still haven’t made it out.

    Im doing it….they are coming out this week!

  • Reply
    Olivia @ I am still learning
    January 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Good for you!

    And I know exactly what you mean, and just recently have I discovered this myself. In fact, my last post “I feel naked” is pretty identical to this one, but in my own way, without those boots 😉

    Once upon a time I longed to be a well known blogger, but then I realized the one harmful comment (which I’ve never had, because I have like 50ish “followers”) I do get- is going to destroy my little safe corner of the internet. I realized that’s really not what I want. I just want to write. I just want to be me.

    Now I just blog for myself and for my family. And I’m happy.

    It’s the same with the business I run part-time, if you don’t like a few of my “nude” photographs… then you don’t have to book me for your wedding. I don’t really give a shit. HA! 😀

    Follow your dreams and your heart! You can be yourself and an awesome Mama 😉

  • Reply
    Olivia @ I am still learning
    January 21, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Apparently it’s been awhile since I last posted, your site had my old link saved… which is now broken. If you click on my name now you can see my new blog<—and it actually feels like home 😉

  • Reply
    January 21, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Loooooove love love your boots!!!! They look fab on you!!!! This post takes me back. Back to when all I wanted in life was those white-steel toe-18 hole Doc Martins I so remember those feelings. I wished for them every birthday and Christmas, they never came. Now that I am- lets say much older, I STILL want them. But I have always thought, there is no way I could pull those off, but now…. I think I can. Thank you.



  • Reply
    January 21, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Yay for Docs!! I had a million pairs as a teenager. They were my favorite. I had blue ones, green ones, black and white plaid ones, maroon ones, short black ones, tall black ones, another pair of tall black ones. Ok, I was a little bit obsessed and most of them were thrifted 😉 Today I have just one pair and they’re newer and more fashionable. And I can’t wait for my feet to get back to normal size (after pregnancy) so I can squeeze back into them!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Ashley, great post! Not only do I love the doc’s. I used to have about 5 pairs but lost them in hurricane j
    I wanted to tell you how much I admire you! I have been blogging for 3 years and I’ve clicked over here a few times after seeing you featured in other places and o don’t know why I didn’t stick around. Honestly, I think I had a pre conceived notion of what I thought you’d be like! Boy was I wrong!!!
    I try to be very honest, always on my blog and share my defeats and my triumphs and just this week I decided to delve into your blog and do some back reading and am so glad I did! I live the way you write! Honest:) I love it!! Anyway, I just wanted you to know I really have enjoyed what I’ve read here and I’m so glad I came back around to really check you out!
    You can find me anytime at

  • Reply
    January 21, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Just in case you haven’t seen this yet, I’m passing it along. I’d say you are definitely on the right track, Momma. Keep on going. You are awesome!

  • Reply
    Beth Thompson
    January 21, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Have you watched Brene’s speech on YouTube, changed my life. Just ordered the book too.

  • Reply
    McKenzie Guymon
    January 22, 2013 at 2:51 am

    I think I need that book! It sounds amazing. Sometimes I wonder if the road to “finding myself” will ever actually end, or if that is just part of life’s journey. I remember once, after I had been married for about 6 months, I had a complete break down. I told my husband that I didn’t know who I was anymore. I didn’t know how to be a wife and how to be the same old me at the same time. Eventually, I figured it out, but I feel like I went through the same thing after having my baby. I think it is something we all kind of have to figure out after life changes. I think you are doing a great job and inspiring people as you go! Thanks for your honesty and inspiration!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 3:23 am

    Love those shoes. Seriously – I think you look awesome in them. I definitely have a comfort zone when it comes to wearing clothes that I rarely breach. But, what you said about not caring what people think (and not in the way to justify reckless behavior and such) I hit that point of understanding just the other day ago. It was kind of a “whoa” moment for me – I finally understood it. It’s nice reading your story and being able to relate to my own mini moment of self discovery. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 6:08 am

    You look great!!

  • Reply
    Kristin F.
    January 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I bought my Doc Martens in the 8th grade, which makes them 18 years old. They still look brand new, although they’ve collected a lot of dust over the years. From the ages of 14 to 17, I wore them religiously, every single day (much to my mother’s dismay). I finally unearthed them last week and work them with leggings and a hipster sweater and boy did they feel good. I’m glad I’m not the only one waxing nostalgic ;).

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    This is wonderful. The more comfortable you are in your own skin (and shoes) the more you radiate to others. That kind of self-loving beauty is always more radiating than what you wear. You look fabulous in these pictures!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Great post! I think most moms/women struggle with this, and you defined the feelings and aspiration to overcome it quite nicely. It’s exactly how I feel and I find that two things help me when I get off track: the first is: Buddhist principles, or dharma, are very encouraging of treating everyone with loving kindness, including yourself, and when you feel low, focus your energy on helping someone and you will feel great. And don’t worry, you’re not cheating on your main religion with the dharma, it just really infuses a lot of overall peace into your existence. And 2: I just think of myself as my kids see me, through their eyes, as well as my husband. They all adore me, think I’m beautiful and kind and want to be around me all the time, in fact beg for my attention constantly (and get it). What better reminder that I’m worthy of great love and kindness than from the souls I cherish most in the world! They show me that they think I’m great, so who am I to not treat myself well? I’m worthy, and so are you and so is everyone else! We need to just keep reminding each other of that, and sending out that love to others and in turn, we will all feel worthy of the love…we will be the love.

  • Reply
    Kellie Larsen
    January 22, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    I think this is a really difficult concept to put into words. I’m on my own personal journey down that path. It feels so good to be walking it, too. I just wish I could have realized this sooner, rather than at 28. 🙂 One thing that has helped me personally is to silently chant the phrase “be humble.” A humble person doesn’t boast to overcompensate for their weaknesses. A humble person doesn’t care what anyone thinks, except God. This might not seem like the answer to self-confidence, but I feel like it really is so connected. Because a humble person just lives a humble, happy life without having to live up to the world’s expectations of what they should be. But self-love is a multifaceted thing. The more you learn about it, the more it unfolds itself and shows you even more. Best of luck on your journey! I love the boots.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2013 at 6:45 am

    For all of you wanting to get Dr. Martens and wondering where you can get them, I work at Nordstrom and we still sell them! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 24, 2013 at 2:11 am

    First, let me thank you for always being so honest to your readers. Self-doubt and lack of self-love is something I’m sure almost all women struggle with, I know i do. I think Satan knows exactly how to get to women and uses our thoughts to do so. I have 2 verses that I repeat to myself as often as needed-when I feel the evil sneaking in, when I’m overwhelmed with life, or when I need a boost to get me through the day. Psalm 31:25 says “she is clothed in strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come”. God covers us so we’re good to go! Verse 2: Philippians 4:8-God reminds us to think of things that are true, right, lovely…things that bring glory to Him. The devil can’t tell me I’m not good enough when I focus on Jesus’s love for me! Hope those help you remember that you are always worthy of love!

  • Reply
    steph nelsen
    January 25, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    i still have mine too…but they are sooo beat up! i wore them everyday for years 🙂

  • Reply
    February 9, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    there is something about Doc Martens that just screams PUNK. whatever your outfit, throw one of those babies on & you are immediately humming a Sex Pistols song in your head, sauntering around with a snarl on your face, feeling like you are “sticking it to the Man”. good job for keeping them all those years. i, unfortunately, was persuaded to get rid of mine & have kicked myself to this day for doing that. I wish you all the best as you continue your blossoming into your ‘new’ self 🙂

  • Reply
    Wholehearted Living
    March 21, 2013 at 7:00 am

    […] by Brene Brown in Daring Greatly. The book getting me through, what I have jokingly refer to as my quarter-life-crisis. If after reading this quote you feel a bit inspired, join in on the challenge and create your […]

  • Reply
    March 6, 2020 at 11:51 am

    “Women really dress based on their body shape. For example, Herve Leger Dresses I’m very athletic.

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