Sitting in Tom's office yesterday, I ran out of things to say. I had caught him up on the two weeks before. Had filled him in on this guy and that, this work debacle and that--all the many things I can't control, but worry about nonetheless. Small fries, all of it. Mostly small fries.
And so we sat for a moment. Both of us quiet.
And then Tom took a breath and asked me what I was most proud of—in terms of the last few years, what was the best thing I’d done.
And I smiled. And he smiled.
Because it was the best sort of a question.
A question having to do with successes that only he and I really know about.
A question as an acknowledgment of what we'd accomplished. The crossing from one impossible shore to another. A nod to the end of the thing. Which has not yet ended, but which we both now know will. Which we always knew, but now know know in that way that makes it easier to talk about.
It's important to identify what it is you're proud of because it helps establish identity. And if the eating disorder steals identity, which it does, we must then fill it back in.
And so I shared what I thought. And Tom shared what he though.
And we sat in silence a little while longer.
You know, I'm sad today, I said, my words carving a gentle river in the quiet. On my way here I was feeling angry and then I got on the subway and I took a big breath and I thought, oh, huh, sadness. It’s a sweet sort of sadness—one without a why--one that will pass. I’m proud of that--I’m proud that I know it’ll pass.
And I’m proud of the wreath on my apartment door. Because that wreath hanging there, says something. It speaks to who I am and what I value. It speaks to the very notion of home.
I’m proud of this quiet little neighborhood. Proud that the corner nursery turns into a Christmas tree lot the day before Thanksgiving. I’m proud of these things that I have no control over, that have nothing to do with me, but have everything to do with what I want and what I value.
I’m pretty sure life has very much to do with things beyond our control. And very much to do with things not beyond our control. And it has everything to do with the balance we strike between the two. The constant leap after constant leap of faith that we must make. And the bridge we build in the wake of those small and consistent flights.
I’m proud of the things I’ve quietly let go of. The loves and false notions and truths that became less true over time.
I’m proud that who I am now is not who I was before. That I’m not really who anyone--myself least of all--thought I’d turn out to be.
I think pride has much to do with actions aligning with desire. Small actions and small gestures that plant flags in territories we wish to claim.
I’m proud that Tom asked the question. Proud that I had an answer.
Now on to make my morning coffee and begin the day...