Sunday, May 9

I Have Ridiculously High Self-Esteem

I believe that I generally come across as a highly confident person. I think that this, in part, has to do with the fact that I constantly reassure people that I am, in fact, really awesome (true). While my egotism is partly fueled by sarcasm, the fact of the matter is that I think I'm pretty great (and hey, I'm sure that anyone reading this is pretty great as well).

This is not to say that I'm without flaws, because I have them and am acutely aware of this fact. I can be irritating, stubborn, extremely loud, argumentative, overly-sarcastic, and when I'm not extremely careful I can come across as condescending, though this is never my intention and I swear to God I don't know how it happens (which, of course, would be another flaw). But despite the my keen understanding of my own downfalls, I still tend to think I'm a pretty good person, and I can accept them because I think that I'm ok, overall. Sadly though, every once in a while I meet someone who is not completely and utterly thrilled with themselves, and I wonder, why not? And as I was pondering this one day it dawned on me that a lot of my own self-confidence has to do with my mom.

I don't have a lot of memories of my childhood that stand out distinctly, but there are a few moments that I remember that, I think, are implicative of my mom's parenting skills, and that made a huge impact on my life. For one thing, I remember always being allowed to dress however I wanted - and even if that meant I was wearing a giant dolphin shirt, leggings, and my favorite handsome blue socks, that was fine. Maybe this was because my mom got tired of getting me dressed every day after several years and was thus more than happy to let me pick out my own outfits once I decided I wanted to do so, but the fact of it is that I didn't have any sort of self-consciousness about my appearance until the fourth grade when a boy pointed out there was a small hole in the shoulder of my t-shirt (after which I still wore ridiculous outfits, just ones that were intact). I had clearly not noticed this small flaw, and it hadn't dawned on me to worry about something like that before. I also have several tee-ball and school pictures from my elementary years in which my hair makes me look like a mom from an 80's sitcom (I'm thinking Growing Pains). I know J Bear also grew up looking like an extra from the cast of Annie, and while we've developed the ability to put ourselves together a bit more if we like, I think the fact that we weren't always primped and preened before leaving the house instilled in us not the idea that we were only as valuable as how we were dressed, but that it didn't really matter how we looked, as long as we were happy with what we were wearing. Which I think is a good thing.

My second mom memory is of a couple similar conversations that my mom and I had when I was about 8. In the first, I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life (something I still haven't figured out) and I asked her if it was ok for me to have two jobs. She said yes, some people do have two jobs, so I could do that if I wanted. I then told her that I thought I would be a doctor AND a lawyer. Instead of laughing and telling me that I would not have time to do both of these things, since doctors and lawyers are individually overworked as it is, she just told me that I could do that if I wanted.

In the second conversation, having just read A Wrinkle in Time (great book) in which the main character's mother is a double-PhD., I told her that I, too, wanted to earn two PhD.'s. Again, without laughing or acting like this was at all a difficult feat for someone who was not-yet-a-decade-old to be contemplating, she told me that if I wanted to, I definitely could do it. Again, I got a lesson from this beyond just the impression that she just wanted to stop these inane conversations: she believed in me, 100%. No matter what ridiculous dream I had (even that silly one about being a writer) I knew that my mom would always have my back, and more importantly, I knew that someone believed that I could be and do anything I wanted. Which made it easier for me to believe it, too.

These stories may not mean much to anyone else, but I think the messages they sent to me, the messages I've been hearing my whole life, have made a huge impact on my upbringing; they've made me the strong, obnoxious person I am. They've also helped me choose my great group of friends, by looking for characteristics in others that I've come to value in myself. I'm drawn to people with self-confidence, and have trouble dealing with people or characters who lack it. This is why I dislike characters like Bella Swan (of Twilight), who constantly wonders why the guy she's in love with loves her back. Shouldn't girls have a role model who knows just how much of a catch she is, rather than one who needs constant reassurance and validation? Shouldn't guys be taught to look for a woman who doesn't need a knight in shining armor, and on whom they can rely as a partner, rather than someone to constantly worry about and prop up? I think so, and for all the reasons above and so many more, I'm really happy that I have an amazing mom who has been a great role model, and who has taught me to love myself and others and to always strive for anything I really want. This one goes out to all the strong mothers out there, especially mine. I love you mom; happy Mother's Day.

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  1. I'm about to cry. So sweet. And I LOVE stories about your handsome blue socks :] LOVE YOU MOM! Oh and you Katie.

    Love, Seester

  2. I kinda like your mom too. She rocks. (You're kinda cool, too.)

  3. For the record, your mom is awesome.

  4. This was a really great post. :)