Lisa suggests that more women need to own and speak and write about their positive attributes and accomplishments. It's hard. It wasn't always hard for me. I used to be a lot more confident than I am now. When I started this blog it wasn't as hard. Then life got more real. More kids and more problems and fewer professional accomplishments piling up.
Because life is real and imperfect I feel less comfortable speaking about positives. I feel like there are too many threads to tug, too many ways to deconstruct anything I may have to brag about. And that is difficult to open myself up to.
So here is my fray-check: I don't pretend I'm perfect.
And the fray-check on the other side of the fabric: I truly don't think that any gifts or accomplishments make me any better than anyone else.
There. Now nobody can unravel the good things I am about to say.
- I flipped off the world and married the person I loved most when I was only nineteen, and a lot of people thought it was a dumb thing to do. Now we have spent as many years together as I lived before I married him, so, to quote a jazz standard, who's got the last laugh now?
- I got a good education (three years of college as a married student) and got creative about how to apply it, and I've had a good career so far writing and editing for science and higher education.
- I faced down infertility and won, not because I ever became pregnant (I didn't) but because I came out stronger.
- I was brave enough to open my heart to four children who needed a family, two from the foster care system. This still requires my courage and strength every day.
- I helped open a new university in Merced, California, in 2005. I did my part and it was crazy and hard and tremendously fulfilling.
- I am a good partner in my marriage. I am supportive of the things my husband wants to do and I think I pull my weight in every way I can.
- I stand up for my kids. My kids are members of racial and ethnic minorities and have some challenges. I am on their side.
- I learned how to speak effectively on television at the drop of a hat, and I put that skill to work in a crisis situation at my job.
- Speaking of speaking, I can put together a pretty rad church talk or lesson, and I like doing it. This is something where I feel it's appropriate to give credit to the Holy Ghost, though.
- I have 10,000 words of a novel, or maybe a series. You start somewhere.
- I can sing. I love to do it. I can express feelings through song. I can sing jazz, pop, folk, classical. People enjoy it.
- I can cook. I was well taught and I have been willing to explore on my own. Ain't nobody starving at my house.
- I work out pretty regularly and I like my body OK. I have fabulously strong legs. And one benefit of infertility is slightly less sagging than I might otherwise be experiencing. So, that's nice.
- I have good taste in fashion and home decor and an individual style that I don't see in other people's wardrobes or houses.
- I am a good crocheter, largely self-taught. It's good medicine for when I'm feeling crotchety.
- I recycle and buy local and drive an older minivan that gets good gas mileage.
- I make nice holidays for my family, without getting crazy.
- I can accept people the way they are. This is something that took me a long time to learn and still takes some effort to accomplish sometimes. But I know what it means and I know how to do it.
- I know how to tune in to spiritual things. I have found what works for me. I know it's not going to happen for me all the time, and I accept that, but I stay open to it. I sincerely wish this for everyone.
- I know what it means to be really sorry. To know I was wrong and need to truly express regret for my words or actions. To humble myself. This is the weirdest thing ever to brag about. But it was hard-won for me. A big step. And I think I deserve a little bit of credit for it.
- I don't mind being different from others, politically or philosophically or religiously. I am learning that I don't need to be afraid to speak my mind. It never turns out to be as scary as I thought.
- I have learned how to prioritize what I choose to believe and obey. I don't follow blindly. I don't choose to burden myself with a lot of guilt. I know I need to do my best and de-stress the rest. I've blogged about this a little bit before. It's another biggie for me.
Now is when I force myself to end the blog post without qualifying or taking the wind out of any of the above. I just let the brags stand.