I was in a library looking at a (nonexistent) viewbook from college. It was a compilation of photos from my senior year, kind of like a yearbook, filled only with pictures of seniors. In it, I found a photo that has never existed anud would never ever have existed, even in my wild and crazy college days. I was wearing a cute little bikini in a hot pink and white harlequin pattern and was standing sort of twisted away from the camera, so that the part of my body most visible in the picture was the side of my torso. As I encountered this (imaginary) picture of myself from my senior year, I had a very strange double reaction. On one hand, I looked at this person with happiness -- "oh, there you are!" "You looked wonderful!" "What a cute bikini, whatever happened to that?" and on the other, I began to pick out all the flaws in the picture "oh my gosh, you can't see my ribs," "what in the hell was I thinking, wearing a bikini?," "I'm embarrassed for myself."
When I woke up, I marveled at the fact that I am so adept at self-criticism that I can do it in my sleep.
My lovely cousin, Simba (nickname) recently sent me a message on Facebook. She said,
I read your wrecklamation blog whenever you write one and am so proud of your determination and perseverance in working on a healthy lifestyle. It is so important for the girls to see you making good choices and they need to know how badass their mom is when she sets her mind on something. I just can't help but notice that you rarely talk about all the things that make you amazing. I hope you know all of them- it's easy to focus on how far we have to go instead of being proud of how far we've already come. I do that too. I just wanted to share this little video with you because I just love it. I actually do this with Jessica sometime and I hope you'll join us.
I think I need to take Simba (and Jessica) seriously and do the little "I'm awesome" dance every morning. I don't really know where the self-criticism comes from -- maybe from my family's peasant beginnings where, if you call attention to your good qualities, the pooka might come and stick you one in your eye for your boldness. Maybe it's that old Irish begrudgery. Well, you know what they say about that -- and if you don't, it's that old English four-letter word that can be every part of speech (and start's with an "f") the begrudgers.