Wednesday, April 04, 2012


I'm responding here to FMH founder Lisa's great response to the Samantha Brick brouhaha. Gotta love the Internet.

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.


Denise said...

This sort of post is surprisingly hard to write, especially without qualifying or backpedaling. So I'm standing and applauding, and celebrating the fabulousness that is you. Huzzah!

Unknown said...

You are amazing! I am so glad that you took this so seriously and I feel like I know you even better now and I'm even more happy that I know you!

Lucy said...

Go you! I like you.