We opened International Women’s Day with a post for people to exchange recommendations for books and art created by women, businesses owned by women, and lady-centric or run charities. Now let’s end it by bragging about ourselves. We don’t often get a space to do that; indeed, one of our favorite posts of all time was Version 1.0 of this post. Too often, women downplay themselves, because so many of us have been conditioned to believe that we’ll be labeled cocky or bitchy or aggressive simply for engaging in self-belief — and between office politics, regular politics, and just the daily rigors of family dynamics, it can be complicated to navigate giving oneself a back-pat. I catch myself regularly shrugging off even tiny things that make me proud, because I worry that I seem like a self-involved jerk if I take a second to whoop. No more. Let’s build ourselves up, because if we don’t believe it, who else will? And although demographics suggest most of our readership is female, by all means, the men of Fug Nation are welcome to join the party — or, if they’d prefer, to brag up the women in their lives.
I’ll go first. Two years ago, I started taekwondo classes, with the near-term desire of being fitter and the idle thought that being a black belt someday would be neat. Last week, I got promoted to a Bo-Black (red/black) belt, which means I’m right on the precipice of that goal, ready to take on the roughly year-long challenge of working toward my black belt. As a relatively clumsy person who came to any semblance of athleticism long after I’d finished school, this was a huge, emotional deal for me — my name is embroidered on the belt and everything — and I really took that moment to put myself back at every grading, from every other belt level, and map the path that got me there. How I stood taller, how I punched faster, how I kicked higher, how I spoke louder. Maybe they are fractional differences, but they’re real. And though I still look at the belts ahead of me and think wistfully of one day possessing their grace and lightness, what I’m gradually learning is not to compare myself to or judge myself by my fellow students, because I’m not on their journey. I’m on mine. Some days, this is easier for me than others, but it’s a mental hurdle I’ve been glad to confront; better, being a student all over again as the beans move through school has shed a lot of light on how they are approaching it. By rediscovering my own tendencies, I’ve learned a lot about theirs.
Also, I’m really good at working with the kids in the beans’ classrooms, I’m a dab hand at math, and I was the best recorder player in my elementary school so I therefore unsecretly think the recorder is mad cool.
Your turn. May we all take this time to stand up and shout our worth.