WI found THE hard drive. You know, THE one. With ALL the things. As in EVERY picture I’ve ever taken, well, there are PLENTY of pictures remaining on my old Dell laptop that’s sitting in the chest of drawers in my old room at home, but they don’t count.
I did however find this picture – which claims to be from the early 2000′s
Which leads to a post that has been developing in my head for a while. Let me start with this, which I will come back to in a later post: I had a long training run on Saturday. In what has been an unusually mild winter, we ran 12 miles in the second bad snow storm of the winter. I have NEVER run in a snow storm. Much less miles and miles of hills in a snow storm. Much less packed snow, with runners whizzing past me like it is nothing! Thankfully there were plenty around me trying to figure out how to keep traction on the icy snow. When I finished the run I felt so proud of myself. It was so hard, it took a lot of persistence to do it, a lot of people ran it on a treadmill. I was so proud. Rightfully so. It wasn’t an easy thing to do. I was also really proud of myself for being ok being proud of myself. It was a HUGE moment of growth for me. I would normally feel really guilty for that kind of thing. No psychoanalytical understanding of why, just, normally I would.
As I look back through these pictures I realize that there are a lot of things that I am really proud of. One is my resilience. I am the come back queen. This is an incredibly important skill, as another thing that I am very skilled at is making mistakes. Now, I used to really resent this. Actually, hate it. I felt like there were blue-eyed, golden people who sail through life just getting it right. And in ways, there are. In some ways, that is, in fact a very enviable life. However; I have learned as one who makes many mistakes, the beauty of grace and forgiveness. Not the everyday kind of forgiveness where you gloss over things, but the kind Patty sings about
Open your eyes boy, we made it though the night
Let’s take a walk on the bridge right over this mess
Don’t need to tell me a thing baby, we already confessed
And I raise my voice to the air
And we were blessed
It’s hard to give
It’s hard to get
It’s hard to give
But still I think it’s the best bet
Hard to give
Never gonna forget
But everybody needs a little forgiveness
Everybody needs a little forgiveness
Man, there are days that those words ring so deep in my soul I think I can physically feel them. I am proud of myself for learning to communicate, for not backing down from conflict, for accepting forgiveness and for giving it. I have also learned that an apology offered in sincerity should be offered once. No one should have to beg. Obviously, forgiving doesn’t mean the situation doesn’t still smart… Take some time and space. This is one of the things I feel the most proud of in our marriage. When a sincere apology is on the table, but someone’s emotional water is still murky – we make sure that the edict of forgiveness is declared and a request for space is given. The harder part is that eventually you have to get over it, you’ve forgiven, you’ve got to go back over to that person you love and risk it all over again. I am proud of the ways that I have fought it out in many of my relationships. We haven’t always done it right, but those three women in that picture above remain three of my very best friends. I am really proud of that.
Speaking of that. Mimers. That one on the right. She got married to a guy from Little Rock. We didn’t know that when we were in my Dad’s backyard taking this picture… Nor could we have known that her marriage would lead to my own. I am so proud of the choice I made in life partner. Waiting until your mid-thirties to get married is like social suicide in the south. I had people offering me magic frogs in hopes that there was some long lost line of princessry in my blood. I went on some bad dates. Had some un-reasonable crushes. And one horribly broken heart, that I thought I might never recover from. I went back to that moment of love again and again, believing that maybe that was as good as it gets. And then disguised in an Old Navy Navajo shirt and some 1990 white washed jeans, Justin walked into my life and made me realize every cliche I ever heard was true. Every time AM told me to hold on, every story she told me about feeling the same way before UK was true and she was right. It was worth the wait. I am so proud of myself for not settling just so I didn’t have to be alone, because in the end, I would have ended up alone in a marriage I regretted – trying to make it work.
I am proud of myself for loosing lots and lots of weight and keeping it off. As you all know, I never thought I could run a marathon. AM&UK held my hand and carried me through 6 hard months of training and about 10 pounds of weight loss a month. I finished the first race in about 6 hours and 42 minutes to my dear friends running with me and cheering like crazy! I’ve run a few more races since then, lost about 30 more pounds and kept it off. I am incredibly proud of this. I struggle with maintaining a healthy balance of health sometimes, but the older I get, the less I care about what I look like or weigh and the more I care about being healthy and happy. I am also proud of growing in that way.
I am proud of myself for moving to Germany and I am more proud of myself for moving home. There were a series of incredibly hard decisions that went into both of those things, and consequences that were beyond painful as a result of both, but I can say with total honesty that both times were the more courageous acts I have executed in my life. I am thankful for the unrelenting support of AM&UK to remind me that I am NEVER stuck.
I am proud of my relationship with AM&UK. We were all in Brooklyn recently, telling stories and being our normal, ridiculous selves… Justin asked when my relationship with them really turned around. They shared a series of events, exactly the ones that I had shared with him, which led to the precious deepening of our relationship. Don’t get me wrong, when we tell our funniest stories – there is NO AGREEMENT and CONSTANT ARGUMENT regarding the “facts.” And I love that. We forged our relationship and intimacy together and I am so proud of that.
One last thing. I am incredibly proud of myself for going back to school. I am proud of myself for the hard work I have put into it. I am proud of myself for doing so well. I am proud of myself for all that I have achieved. I am proud of myself for being invited to participate in the program that I did at Vassar. I am proud of myself for being on the Dean’s List, in Phi Theta Kappa, the Commonwealth Honor Society… I am proud of myself for being friends with the students in my classes, single mothers, young kids, international students, locals, recent immigrants. I am proud of myself for having fantastic relationships with my professors and faculty. I am proud of myself for being courageous enough to apply to the schools I am applying to. Even though there’s a chance that I might not get in, I am going to risk it. I am 34 years old, I have incredible life experience, I am a critical thinker, I am a contributor, and I would be an asset to any college or university smart enough to accept me. I am really excited to see which schools decide I am the right fit for them. I will be really sad to leave Community College though, this has been an incredible experience. I have had professors at BHCC that I will treasure forever. Natalie Oliveri, Thomas Hooper, Khaled Abukhidejeh, Karen Hawthorne, Luke Salisbury… Seriously. I don’t think they get better. I am so proud to be a student at Bunker Hill, proud of the student that I have become there, proud of the work I have done there and I will be proud to promote the school and the Community College system as a transfer student. Going back to college at 33 is no easy task. As a matter of fact, it has felt impossible at moments, but I have done it well, and I am really, really proud of that.
What are you proud of? I think it’s a really healthy thing to be able to look at our lives and puff up with a healthy pride at the things that we have worked hard for. I have not done the above things perfectly, and many of them I have not even done well, but that doesn’t mean I am not proud of them. In turn, spend a little time telling the people around you what you’re proud of. It never gets old. Ever. The entire world would be a little better off if we did a little less criticizing and a little more encouraging… In my opinion at least! On that note, I am really proud of you for reading all 1600 words of this post! Thanks for hanging in through this braggy pants post.