Pithy Phrase

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a woman, I put away childish things.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Free-For-All Brag Fest

I just read a post on feminist Mormon housewives and have to give it a spin here on my own blog.  fMh Lisa, the author of the post, called my attention to the fact that women in our culture are socialized to devalue their accomplishments.  In fact, while men consistently tend to overestimate their awesomeness, women consistently tend to underestimate their awesomeness.  Why is this the case?  Why is a healthy sense of pride desirable in men, but undesirable in women?  Humility is certainly a virtue, but self-deprecation is not.

Think about it, ladies: what would you do if another woman complimented you on, say, your toned upper arms?  I'd probably waggle one around to make it jiggle and say, "no way, look how flabby they are!"  If I were to compliment Husband in the same way, I know exactly how he'd respond.  He'd put on a gruff voice and say, "I'm a big strong man!"

I have been attempting to stop myself from devaluing compliments for several years.  I try to accept all compliments with sincere thank yous and no qualifiers.  But it's so darn hard!  And that's to say nothing of volunteering why I am amazing on my own.

With that in mind, I am going to give it a go right here and now.  I am going to tell you my secret shame: why I am proud of myself.  I have a strong urge to downplay these.  I have a strong urge to admit that so-and-so is better than me at this or that.  I have a strong urge to give into the chronic plague that is the imposter syndrome.  But I refuse to give place to those urges.  So here is a lovely list of ten reasons why I am fabulous:

1. I'm smart.  I’m a female scientist.  At BYU.  I have participated in lots of research.  I have formed lasting relationships with several excellent professors who think very highly of me.  I am an excellent genetics TA.  I'm good at giving presentations - and actually enjoy it.

2. I’ve been accepted into a PhD program.

3. I did a summer internship in Germany and was successful there.

4. I can sing really well.  I am astounded at the progress I’ve made in sight-singing in the past five years. I’ve sung in a choir for twelve consecutive years now.

5. I have an aptitude for dancing.  I have varying levels of experience with ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, ballroom, swing, and hip hop.  I’m currently learning to belly dance, and I’m good at it!

6. I've got a nice tush!  Seriously, ask anyone.

7. I’ve got class, charisma, and culture (and I'm good at using alliteration!).  I'm adept at writing genuine thank-you notes.  I like to help people around me.  I volunteer at a battered women's shelter, where I give real service to people who have great need.  When I want to, I can command the attention of a room.  I have a sizable knowledge of art, literature, music, politics, history, religion, and of course science.

8. For two summers, I volunteered at the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, California, where I was painted from head to toe (practically) on a nightly basis and posed as a tableau vivant!  In other words, I pretended to be paintings and sculptures.  To about 125,000 people each year.  Here's one of the pieces I did (I was the one on the left).

9. I'm left-handed!

10. I dare to be an outspoken, liberal, feminist Mormon!  I'm no longer afraid to say what I'm thinking in church.  I'm no longer afraid of people who think or live differently than I do.

Whew!  I won't tell you how long that took.  Or how difficult it was to refrain from self-deprecation.  Then again, are these last two sentences my way of implying that I really am humble?  Curses!  Oh well, I did my best, I suppose.

 As some commenters at fMh have said, ultimately I hope we will all be able to believe in our own un-qualified awesomeness without having to list our accomplishments.  Someday I hope to embrace my value like the fabulous woman I know from my home ward, who is always saying, "I have unusually high self-esteem for no reason in particular.  I just look in the mirror every morning and think, 'I'm fantastic!'"

It's your turn, dear readers!  Tell me why you are fabulous, with absolutely no qualifying statements.  Okay go!

5 comments:

Rachel said...

I am a darn good Stay at Home Mom. I make homemade meals. I play with my kids. I don't get mommy-guilt, because I do what I think is right and if I change my mind, I change what I do. I can spot wonky-banana-feet that are good for dancing from miles away, just ask Jenna. I do old-fashioned things, like quilting, embroidering, canning, and garment making. I'm good at them and I love them. I work quickly and efficiently, hourly wage is not my friend. I'm good at keeping secrets. I'm good at apologies. I'm good at saying yes. And I'm really good at making babies, birthing them and feeding them. yep. well I guess that's enough for one night, but there's more. so much more.

JB Herrick said...

I am somehow really awesome at daughters-in-law.

A. Bailey said...

I am good at talking to people and helping those who feel left out (at church, at work, etc...) feel included. I am good at spotting people in the ward who need a friend and I really try to make them feel like they matter. At least to me.

Wow. That was hard. And I feel funny saying it. But it was awesome to finally say it too. What a great idea for a blog post. You're awesome. Really. That list doesn't even do you justice. I have to say I never looked at your tush, but your hair is beautiful :)

Terry said...

In no particular order or rank of importance, my baker’s dozen:

1. I’m Basque and that’s unique. I have a beautifully unusual maiden name which I kept until after my husband and I were married for twenty years.
2. I cook and bake well.
3. I am an excellent reader and am relatively well-read. Which leads to my next entry . . .
4. With age, I have come to the realization that there are more wonderful books that have been written than I can possibly ever have time to read. With that knowledge, I read more critically. If a book doesn’t “grab” me within about the first 50 pages, we’re done. I feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever in putting that book down . . . none. It was hard the first couple of times because I was taught “start a book, finish a book.” To determine a book unsuitable for taking some of my valuable time and giving it up . . . incredibly freeing. I have suggested the same to several of my younger, avid reader friends and they have shared that they have experienced that same sense of liberation once they have decided to adopt my policy.
5. I read in colors . . . and it enhances my view.
6. I am a really good speech-language pathologist:
a. I design excellent forms for my work.
b. Back in my adult-treating days, I was good at treating an entire family, not just my patient.
c. Today, working with children, I am able to help a parent see the really good parts of his/her student.
d. Also, although I do not enjoy working with little children, apparently I am quite gifted . . . most of the little tykes just adore me and work hard to please me . . . and delight themselves in discovering what they can do.
e. I have created some therapy approaches that are used by a very large audience of SLPs.
f. I can produce esophageal speech with ease despite having a larynx (which I dearly love and never plan to lose) and do spot-on cleft palate speech.
g. My reports are unparalleled because . . .
7. I have an excellent vocabulary and am a great speller and an even greater grammarian.
8. When I choose to be, I am very funny. This is a twofer . . . I am funny and it’s a choice.
9. I also am left-handed . . . ah, genetics!
10. If I choose to be, I am amazingly organized.
11. I am a loyal friend. I have three very close friends who I have known for 53-55 years. One of my dear friends and I keep in almost-daily touch despite having not seen one another in over thirty years.
12. I have always been an innately religious person. I cannot remember my parents ever taking me to church (my mom must have at one time), but I do remember being three years old and walking by myself to Jefferson Street Christian Church, about a 2 ½-block walk with turns from our home (imagine that today!). When we moved when I was six years old, my mom found someone at Opportunity Christian Church to take me to services every single Sunday. At age seven, when my best friend (the one with whom I have been friends for 55 years) took me to Primary, I immediately recognized that this really different church was where I belonged. I patiently waited until I was thirteen when my parents allowed me to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I have never regretted that decision. With all of that said, I have a strong, resolute, unwavering belief in the power of prayer. It is my answer for pretty much anything. And, noting the “Opportunity Christian Church” mentioned above . . . I was raised in Opportunity, WA. Bill Clinton can be “The Man from Hope”, but I grew up in “The Land of Opportunity.” Beat that!
13. And lastly . . . I am the master of the ellipsis!

And, Jenna, you forgot on your list that you are an amazingly-good artist. I am looking at your best-in-show entry right now. You are also very kind to the downtrodden and have unusual patience.

Lastly, I must correct you on Mary’s statement: “I have incredibly high self-esteem for no apparent reason.” It just flows better and it is so Mary. Of course, we who know Mary know exactly why her self-esteem is where it is.

This was fun!

shari berry bo-berry said...

Jenna,

Love this idea.

Love your list...and though I do not know you THAT well...I feel as though I am getting to know you through your blog. So this was quite enjoyable to read!

Here's my list:

1. I know I am beautiful. I have great skin, sparkling eyes, and an awesome smile.

2. I am a really fun mommy.

3. I have always had the unique gift of easily making friends...sometimes putting me in the middle of people who aren't friends...but eventually bringing them together.

4. I am proud of my creative side...although I feel like there is still much to discover and develop...I have always felt like an artist at heart.

5. I am amazingly gifted at recognizing singers voices -- country, rap, pop, alternative, etc. I know a lot about different music artists -- it's random information stored in my brain.

6. I have a very compassionate heart. Whether it's killing a bug or giving $5 to a homeless person on the corner...my heart truly aches for those hurting or in need, and i have a super strong desire to help take their pain away.

7. I am proud of my ability to let go and forgive. I move past conflicts quickly and I never hold a grudge.

8. I tell amazing "make-up" stories to my boys. I should really record them or write them down!

9. I am a good photographer. I am self-taught and also taught myself photoshop. I am proud of what I've learned and how far I've come in the past 4 years.

10. I throw amazing birthday parties for my boys. I have so much fun paying attention to detail and creating a fun experience for all involved.

Ok...I have to admit that I did go back and delete/change some of these. IT WAS REALLY HARD! Thank you for pushing me to recognize why I am awesome. :)