on pride

stock swing photo doesn’t hold a candle to my old swing set …

stock swing photo doesn’t hold a candle to my old swing set …

i used to invite my girlfriends over in grade 5 and school them on the praxis of sex. we would swing from the rickety swing set in my parent’s front yard (one of the leg posts would occasionally lift up from off the ground and we’d all hold our breath, wondering if this would be the time we’d all topple over. we never did) and i would offer up what i felt was solid advice about all things love, relationships, and sexual practice. having memorized just about every page from my sister’s sociology of sex college textbooks, i experienced a deep sense of pride as I offered clinical information about my friends’ vulvas, hearts and ovaries. pride in my ability to synthesize clinical information into something relatable. pride in my lack of discomfort on the subject matter (i knew my friends were plenty shy about it all and i loved creating a safe environment so that they could feel free to ask questions). proud of my ability to move through the shame that my parents were actively trying to teach me about my body (according to their upbringing, our bodies were ‘dirty’). i was also proud in my ability to hold space for all the things we all didn’t quite know yet … no matter how much information the books gave us … we were children and we knew it would be years before any of us got to really experience things like sex, pregnancy and menopause. but some of us had already begun to menstruate and having a specific time to meet up and talk about our changing bodies was sacred for most of us. i’m convinced that the healthy relationship i have always had with my period is directly related to all of those front yard meetings. then again, i could simply be lucky that i never suffered from menstrual cramps. i know. i know. i count myself blessed.

i like pride.

there. i’ve said it.

i’m proud of that thing that sparked inside me of as a little kid that chose to detangle the harmful understandings of my social circle’s sexual upbringing. i’m proud that i listened to my impulses instead of being driven by the opinion and beliefs of others. i’m proud of myself for having known better. that i refused to feel embarrassed, ashamed or guilted out for what i was. a girl. with reproductive organs. and also a pulse of desire to feel pleasure. and express it with increased abandon. 

one case of pride among many. this is a very early example.

so many other moments of pride to shout out about. and i think it’s important … crucial, even, that i list them. that i list them and that i read them over and over again to myself. especially on days when i am low and forgetting just how awesome i am. 

i know it’s not common practice to talk about the things we are proud of in this culture. certainly not cool to publicize them. especially as women. we’re supposed to be humble and altruistic and all things gentle and self-effacing. i’m aware that, perhaps, religion and politics may have wormed their way into most humans’ psyches and have tried to extinguish pride as a moral practice. religious texts abound that reference pride directly as a sin. and even many non-religious people believe that a truly genuine act does not make room for the selfish state of pride. its not about you, they often judge. and it’s certainly not about how good you feel for having accomplished the thing.

i know i’m not alone in this … i offer that pride of oneself and of one’s accomplishments is a glorious thing. it’s a deep celebration of all that you are and it acknowledges and applauds your outreach and all that makes this world a better place for yourself and others around you. also, f*ck it, whatever makes you feel good and impactful and lifts you to a place of I Count, I Am Valuable, I Am Significant and Worthy and I Am In Right Relationship to Those Around Me and to Those Who Share This Planet is a really cool thing. 

i guess i could say, sure, it’s a tricky thing if one derives their sense of pride only from the accolades and approval of others. if that is the motivation of the act. that one derives their sense of pride from the gaze of others or what they imagine to be the gaze of others.  if their sense of pride would disappear the moment someone gives them a side glance or questions their act. if the sensation of pride is that precarious … then, i wonder if the state should be called pride at all. perhaps more of something that rather speaks to a neediness and is more about insecurity than pride. 

for me, authentic pride speaks to a yesness and is unshakeable. it’s a ‘hell yeah!’ that speaks to our resilience and capacity for having dealt with something. an unshakeable sense of expansion that is felt from having created something, moved through something, built and advanced something. that speaks to an acknowledgment of one’s skills and gifts and their awesome impact.

that, in my opinion, is f*cking sexy.

pride is f*cking sexy.

confidence and self-respect, feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction from one’s own achievements (webster’s definition of pride, folks) is sexy.

and for those folks out there who still feel uncomfortable with the idea of indulging in it, i want to offer this gentle prompt … perhaps its time to consider the resistance to feeling pride as a dysfunctional (read: learned) system of thought. kids naturally feel pride. it’s taught out of us. its political, peeps. the less pride we feel about our true accomplishments, the more susceptible we are to being told what is valuable from the outside … that includes media, systems of dominance, governments and consumer culture … and i posit, it’s a downward spiral toward climate demise. if you don’t feel you count, how are you supposed to care about what’s happening to your planet right now.

i’m offering that you take your moments … to refuel in what is working. what has worked. how you realize you make a difference. to feel it. to list it and to feel it. to list your accomplishments, especially if you are an activist of any kind. fuel up. do that for yourself. be deliciously proud. proud proud proud.

signing off now to go list off some things i’m most proud about myself and my achievements to date. i promise you, it will be pages and pages!