Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three things

The other day Elle was sitting at the table drawing a picture.  As she drew she hummed a little song to herself and swung her legs.  I looked over her shoulder and peeked at her drawing of herself playing on the playground.  "That's a really good picture sweetie."

"I know" she responded. "I'm a really good drawer."

Just like that.  Matter of fact.  She went back to drawing and humming in general feeling pretty content with herself.  She didn't hesitate to say that she was good at something.  She didn't argue with me and insist she wasn't really that good.  She didn't follow her statement up with "But you should see my friend!  She's really good.  I'm only a little good.  I need to get better."

I was so struck by that.  I don't remember ever having the confidence she has.  Maybe I did once, when I was her age but then if I had it when did I lose it and why?  Why did I go from being a self-assured little girl into a woman who has no faith in herself?

If you were to ask me what I was really good at I would say nothing.  That would be my first answer.  I can't keep my house clean enough, I'm disorganized, every time I try to make bread I fail miserably, I never went to college because math is to hard for me and I get anxious in new situations, I have terrible eyesight, I forget things all the time.  And that?  That's what I see when I look at myself.  When someone compliments me I deflect it and deny it.  When people compliment me on my photography my response is that they only think it's good because they don't know any better.  I mean, I have literally said that to people.  It's why I have done very little with my photography business (even though I started a facebook page for it).  I'm certain that I'm not good at it.

That terrifies me.  I don't want Elle to turn out like this.  I don't want her to think that she's not good at anything.  I don't want her to always second guess herself.

So I'm trying to change the pattern.  I need to start seeing what I'm good at so that others can see it to.  I need to let my daughter see me taking credit for the things I do well so that she can know it's ok to credit for the things she does well.  So for days I have thought about what three things I feel like I'm really good at that I feel comfortable acknowledging.  It was hard and I had to stifle a lot of doubt and insecurity but I came up with a list that I think is honest and true.

1. I am really good at canning.  I have a pantry full of applesauce, jams, salsas, tomato sauce, pickles and other canned goods.  I taught myself how to do it and I'm proud of that. 

2. I am good at making people laugh.  I am a funny person.  I have a good sense of humor and I'm not afraid to use it.

3. I am a really good mother.  (And to that I'll also add that I'm a really good surrogate mother.)  With me my children have love, care, security, laughter, learning, and an endless supply of apple crisp.  I'm not a perfect parent but I work on improving the areas where I make mistakes.

Phew!  That was hard.  But good!  It feels good to give yourself credit.  So now I want to hear from you.  What are your three?  No putting yourself down!  What are you good at?

One year ago today some people were assholes and needed to be treated as such.
Two years ago today I was maybe in a cult.
Four years ago Elle was the easy child. Hahahahahahaha.


Lindsay said...

I make awesome pie. Any variety. Seriously, amazing pie.

I also have great hair. Sometimes I feel guilty for not doing a better job with it. Or sometimes, when I blow dry and look good, I'm embarrassed for having big blond hair. Like accidentally slutty or something. Whatever, I love it.

Also, I'm wicked smart. I kill at
nerd games like scrabble and jeopardy.

I am so damn awesome!!!

Stimey said...

^^^^She IS awesome. And her hair is badass. I've seen it in person.

And you are awesome too, Jen. Also, 4: You are a really good photographer.

1. I am a good writer. Good enough that I should feel comfortable calling myself such when someone asks me, "What do you do?"

2. I am kind. If you are my friend, I will do everything in my power to support you.

3. I can find humor in almost anything. This skill is a lifesaver.

Courtney said...

Great list! I know I am becoming so much more conscious of myself now that I have a young daughter, and I am trying to be very firm with myself - no negative self talk in front of her (although no negative self-talk in general would be a better goal!) - no calling myself fat or bitching about my hair, and most of all no parents "could have" done all sorts of things if they hadn't had us, or so they've told us before...none of that hurtful talk in front of E. I am who I am and I love her fully - she was/is my choice!
I think I am a good mom. A really good mom.

Anonymous said...

I think you are a really good writer. I love your blog. I get excited whenever you put out a new post.

Dee said...

Saw this quote, thought of you. "It's not who you are that holds you back. It's who you think you're not."
As for my three-
1. I make awesome soup.
2. I am a really good listener.
3. Little kids really like me. And the feeling is mutual.

susan said...

Blogger and my iPod keep teaming up to foil me. Maybe it'll work this time.

1. I am good at riding horses. Maybe not as good as I used to be, but I've still got some talent.

2. I am a good mom and wife. And friend. And daughter.

3. I am good at planning. Follow-through could use some work, but I can plan the hell out of just about anything.