Proud: a long but necessary reflection.

I’m very particular with the documented meaning of words and I have high expectations of myself to describe things- mostly feelings and beliefs accurately. I have a very controlling relationship with identity so it only makes sense that I would feel this way about the meaning of words and how people use them. Proud is one of those words.

Most of the time, when I start writing a blog post, I look up the definition of the word that is the basis of the main idea of the preferred topic. I also look up synonyms of this word to try and navigate a pathway that people may be taking when speaking so I can understand what they really meant when words come out of their mouth.

Example: “I’m proud to be an American.”

My brain: Well what did you do to become an American? Don’t you just mean happy to be an American or grateful?

Maybe they say a word that I hold to be an aggressive description, when really they meant to say a softened synonym.

Example: “That PB and J was phenomenal.”

My brain: Wait, was this PB&J gourmet? Did it include a bacon jam with bananas and a maple syrup glaze then grilled to perfection? Phenomenal is a bit much for a basic PB and J. Just say “it hit the spot” or “it made me feel nostalgic.”

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Or maybe they meant it. Maybe they have NEVER had a PB&J before! -which, I believe, would prompt the word “phenomenal” to cascade from their fledgling lips. Who knows? And most people don’t even CARE what words people use to describe things or experiences, but I do. Thankfully I’ve learned to not care as much because I realize these intentions are usually not to inflict interrogative practices on my hypercritical mind.

BUT this is still the window I use to look at, but mostly feel, the word PROUD. I believe writing it in caps is the first visual of how I view it. The word proud to me has always reflected Merriam-Webster’s definition in 1:a with a focus on the word excessive.

 

Definition of proud 

1 : feeling or showing pride: such as

a : having or displaying excessive self-esteem

 

“Excessive self-esteem” just seems like a flagrant personality that I have never possessed and do not want to possess. This is the exact reason why I have not written anything in my Listology book on the page that begs for my “proud accomplishments.”

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But now I do know why and I have thought about this extensively, as I have with all my blog posts and most things in life and I have finally come up with what I am truly proud of. For your reading pleasure…..a list.

-my mad presentation skills

For example, a gift I’m giving, a project I present, anything that others receive from me or will be an extension of me. Presentation is everything and I appreciate it when it’s done well. Not everyone has this skill. Trust me, I’ve seen it. People are often sloppy and rely on the importance of the thought because I suppose it is what counts. This is also why Instagram is my all-time favorite Social Media account. It’s all about perfection and sometimes I truly #doitforthegram.

 

CaptureFocus on a set of 3 perfect pumpkin cupcakes with Hocus Pocus out of focus in the background with a semblance of a bat in the Halloween décor…..Perfection.

-my positive mindset

I’ve hit some incredibly low points at times and I do think I am more susceptible to lows than maybe some but I also always find a way out of it. I have always been able to “change my thoughts to change my world” even if it’s a totally imaginative scenario. For example, maybe I’m working on a serious government project (in order to finish a paper for grad school) or I’m training to be a ninja (when in the gym) to combat any bad guys that approach me.

Mostly though, I have a distinct and present skill on seeing the silver lining in almost any situation. I can see it and take that thought and turn it into a belief….(sometimes this is an easy task and sometimes it is incredibly difficult.). I suppose that is why I’m so tolerant of many things and situations that I walk into in my life if it’s just a normal everyday problem. I feel like people complain about nearly everything in their life and it’s always about such typical things that happen and I really feel like I don’t. I mostly complain when I feel strongly that something that is happening in my life is very wrong or unethical, At that point, I do very much own a soapbox and have no issue climbing aboard. Not complaining about normal life is something I’m very proud of but it’s because I know I’m very aware of  how bad it can get and what is out there.

-my passionate mindset

I love that I feel strongly about certain topics like doing the right thing and not what you are just told to do, arguing against anything illogical. That’s one of my favorite things to talk about- the logic of things, or more often than not, the illogical ways people seem to like to live their life when they are CLEARLY wrong. There is a time and place for everything and I am the one who knows it. 😉

-this blog

I used to not be proud of this blog because it doesn’t meet today’s blog standards. No, I don’t write one weekly or even monthly. I think, reflect, write and sometimes too briefly edit a topic that has been on my mind and I take all the time I need. I used to put pressure on myself to write at least once a month but that took the joy out of it for me. Artists and writers are not always reliable, consistent, and do things their own way and this is just my blogs path. Zach said it best when he pointed out that I’m like the George R.R. Martin of blog writing. I take whatever time I need and it works for me especially because this blog is for me.

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“It is the journey that matters.”

-my desire to help in a communicative way

I can’t just say my desire to help because I don’t exactly volunteer my time to be a part of a charitable organization and I don’t feel like I take cues easily from others that need help all the time but if someone is direct with me and wants to talk….well, that’s all I want to do. I have a huge desire to help others by talking and changing their mindset since I know that many people, just by saying something have powerfully changed my path and that’s what I want to do for others. I want to help them think differently.

-I’m an awesome wife and mom

Most people just say they are proud of being a mom or parent etc. but so many people are mom’s and parents and I assume they recognize that awesome is buried within that title when they choose to say that. I see a lot of people feeling guilty of not being better wives or moms or husbands but I do not feel that way. I think because of Zach and Charlie it is easy to be awesome at it and I refuse to feel like a bad mom or wife or that I’m falling behind on that. I think the reason I don’t feel bad is because I’m incredibly realistic. The world puts extreme parameters on being a parent such as the time and effort spent to continue to do your job, plans that need to be made, houses that need to be clean. This, and I’ve seen way too many terrible parents out there in the world that I will never even be close to so ultimately, I think I’m good. No, I’m not perfect but of course I’m not. That’s an illogical, subjective thought anyway.

-the relationships I’ve formed

I’ll admit I’m not the best at initially forming close relationships, I don’t always abide by social niceties and formal greetings, rules etc. but I’ve loved all the relationships I’ve had even if I don’t have them anymore. Every one has affected me and I hope I have had an affect on them. Also, the fact that I’m open to getting to know many different types of people. I see the beauty in a lot of different people, but let’s be clear….sometimes not all. Ha.

-I know what I want out of life

I used to get bogged down in quantity and numbers with a lot of things, like I need to read 50 books in a year in order to be adequate enough in comparison to everyone else, I need to lose 25 lbs in order to be adequate, I need to think a certain way in order to fit in with others, I need to adhere to all traditions in order to live life right, I need to travel to at least 10 countries, I need to basically live up to my picture of what I thought was what would broadcast perfection to society, my friends etc. Then I really listened to what I want. I truly don’t care about travel at this point, most likely I will change my mind on this at some point but I’m not going to travel just to please others when I don’t have a desire to be a jetsetter right now. My goal to read 10 books this year is hanging on seven and I shouldn’t have ever made that goal because my perfectionism does come out when a numerical measurement is involved…..the point is that progress is more important than WHEN you reach the end result. And that is what I’m proud of too- knowing that progress is just as good as the end result. Think about that. If you start to see each step towards a goal as equivalent to the last step to the end, things change. It’s that whole “enjoy the journey” thing.

-I don’t aspire to be rich

I am proud that I’ve never ever wanted to be excessively rich to obtain material things. I’ve just never been into all of that. Yes, I do love style etc. but to me the world has made it where there are price points for everyone to be stylish even if you have to put more effort and time into creating a life where you feel rich. I do feel rich in the “things” I have. I love all of what I own. I can’t speak from a place if I had even less money if I’d appreciate what I could own but I feel like I’d make it work. I like that about myself in the area of money and what I can afford. I feel like my view would change and continue to be a positive one if one of us lost our job. At this point, money and how we spend it is a problem to be solved. Would life be easier if we had more money for stability and to ensure Charlie can go to college? Yes. But we’d also lose the opportunity to problem solve as a couple. We’d lose the opportunity to decide what we should and should not buy. When you have a lot of money, the decision is typically yes to buying or paying for anything and everything without thought and I’ve always been a thinker and areas that don’t force you to think are robbing you of your ability to grow as a person. That being said someone can certainly pay my Starbucks tab whenever they are feeling generous. 😉

 – I think I’m most pretty during a time that no one else thinks so

I have struggled a very long time with looks but not nearly as much anymore. The last few years I’ve been gaining more and more resolve about it. The fact that we are now living in a world where women are supporting women more and movements like Jameela Jamil’s #iweigh movement have been impactful. Also, more than anything, conversations I have with others have changed a lot and the focus is not on what a person looks like but what they are doing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, people do not earn the looks they were born with but a life can be earned and people’s lives are what make them beautiful.

So, to explain what I mean- the time I feel most beautiful is when I’ve just taken a shower, I’ve dried my hair and I have no makeup on BUT all of my skincare lotions, oils, etc. on my face including my lip mask. Ha. But seriously this is like what I imagine will be the first phase of what I will look like in Heaven but then it will get even better like Bella in Twilight when she turns into a vampire. She was pretty before but then it was just the best version of her natural self. Or more like one of the toned down snapchat filters. At least for my skin, oh please make my skin perfect in Heaven! In any case don’t take a picture of me when I’m in this state because the camera doesn’t see what I do in the mirror! The camera requires foundation. Ha.

IMG_4717Best picture I can currently find about what I feel like I see after a shower with my hair done and face moisturizer on.

-everything I do as a mom

I know I’ve kind of hit on this but a lot of people say they are proud to be a mom which is a statement I don’t understand. I’m HAPPY to be a mom. Proud would entail it took a lot of work on my part to simply become a mom. This is not the case. I am, however, proud about everything I do as a mom and all the ways I’m choosing how to be the best mom to Charlie that I can. I refuse to be a mom who pays attention to any mom-guilt. I don’t feel guilty, at least right now anyway. I did lose my mind when I was breastfeeding but that was short-lived and when I made the choice to quit, I was liberated from any more guilt. I think I’m an awesome mom and am doing the best I can for Charlie just like any other normal, caring human being would do. I am proud that Zach and I talk about future situations about Charlie and try to problem-solve as best we can before we get there, knowing full well, circumstances need a present moment to be a true problem-solving situation but I like planning as much as we can for multiple pathways. I’m proud that I feel confident in this area and it all spans from the unconditional love I have for Charlie. He’s my little partner.

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-surviving and functioning through life

Life is very busy. Sometimes I look at it and I’m like wow, I can’t believe I did that, or I can’t believe I got that done. How did I get through that AND still go to work AND still function?  Perseverance is something that almost every human being has ingrained in them. It’s very sad when this is a difficult task for people. It’s hard to help people with depression or any other mental health condition see the light when there is such a clear argument that life expects a lot from human beings. Regardless though, I am one of the many who just keep going no matter what happens and I hope I never have to go through something that breaks this in me. I am very proud of my resilience and also my observance of it in others as a necessary quality to just keep swimming. There have been some extremely difficult times in my life but others have withstood so much more and it’s truly a wonder and a testament to the deep-seated resolution of human beings to survive. So please, keep surviving, there are ups and way downs but there is always something to appreciate or be happy about even if you do not see it. No one’s life is 100% happy as an adult but reasons to keep moving forward will eventually surface even it’s a teeny-tiny one. Life is nowhere near perfect but it CAN be something to witness and if nothing else, please keep going to see what will happen. You won’t know until you get to each present moment. Let your curiosity be a motivator.

Overall, I’m very proud of who I am and all the above facets are just part of that. I’m glad I have the capacity to feel proud. Everyone has something to be proud of but mostly, I’m glad I have gained the ability to see it. There were many times, growing up, that I did not feel “good enough.” Thankfully, I have learned what it is to be human and that it actually comes with realistic expectations if you base it on facts and logic, contrary to popular belief. I thank all the self-help books, quotes, shows, Oprah, Ellen, motivators and conversations I’ve had with people for this.

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I’m surprisingly happy to be alive in this era. People always express the sentiment that they are more a 50’s or 60’s generation type person and should have grown up in that time but I’m happy I live in the most accepting time we’ve ever had of people. It’s nowhere near where we need to be but it’s the farthest we have come in loving all people for being themselves and I am absolutely on board with that.

Reflection is a powerful tool in accomplishing your goals. I suppose I do have “excessive self-esteem” in some areas. Now I can finally fill out that page in my book! It only took me 33 years to figure it out!

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