Monday, March 25, 2013

Seven Things

There's a really great article on the "We Are That Family... you know the one..." blog about the seven things we should tell our daughters. As the mother of a little girl, I identified with where she's coming from. I've thought these things for years. I've wondered how to explain them to my daughter and I've, in one way or another, made an effort to say all of these things to my kids for the past six and a half years.

As the mother of a little boy, I wondered how many of those seven things apply to boys as well. I think all seven.

I also think adults could benefit from hearing those seven things as well. Especially number one. And three. And six. And four and seven. And three. And five and two.

So then, I started thinking about the take-away message that I need to get from this list. You know, for me... what do I need to hear?

Thus, may I present, The Seven Things that I Must Tell Myself

1. I am valuable: according to, I'm worth almost two million dollars. And that's just if you sell me for parts. And that's including all the cancer and whatnot. So really, if you add in my powers of sarcasm and ability to write in cursive, I'm a freakin' treasure trove.

2. My worth is not based on my appearance: about a hundred years ago, I saw on Oprah that the average woman spends 474 days and over $164,000 on makeup in her life. That's over a year of your life, staring in a mirror. That's a lot of money- you could buy a house for that. I was twelve when I saw that Oprah and I remember evaluating those numbers. Is it worth over a year of my life? Is it worth that much money? Do I want to be a person who looks back and sees that she spent all that time looking in a mirror when I could have been doing something important? I decided that the answer was no. And so, I've never* worn makeup. And you know what? To my knowledge, I've never been compared to Joseph Merrick.

3. I don't need a guy: OK, this is where I differ most significantly from the original. I would contend that I don't actually, technically, need a father (though I ended up with a pretty great step-father). In fact, I probably would have been better off without any contact with my biological father at all. And I'm pretty darn dependent on my husband- I need that guy. So... yeah. I don't need a guy. Except my husband and son and step-father. And my brothers, I need them, too. You know what? Guys are pretty valuable too, let's appreciate them.

4. I am amazing: Huh. This one is hard to accept. But, on paper, I could debate it. If I look back on my life, I've accomplished some things. I graduated from Georgia Tech (in four years, even). I have a Master's degree and a black belt. I beat cancer, and I got to sing at The Fox Theater once. I have a great life with a wonderful husband, two healthy kids, a house, and a brown dog. I get to make cakes for people, and I don't waste a ton of money on makeup. Holy crap, I am amazing. Who knew?

5. I don't have to believe what I hear: In business school, they taught us that the Rumor Mill was pretty much as accurate as any other form of office communication. That seems to be true for things like approaching deadlines and the presence of cookies in the workroom. It is also true, however, that you can not work and say ugly things about other people at the same time. And anyone who chooses to spend their day bad-mouthing others is not someone who deserves my respect or attention. If they'll say it to me, they'll say it about me. And being a part of that is not amazing. More importantly, if I listen to the bad things that people say about each other, I might believe it. And then I might make myself miss out on the chance to get to know someone  as amazing as me.

6. I have me:  It's true. I've always been here for me. And I'm one of the few people who almost always knows what I'm talking about.

7. I can change the world: This has never been in dispute. What I struggle with is... should I? Who am I, amazing though I may be, to exert my will on this world? Why should my opinions, amazing though they may be, count enough to significantly affect others? I've heard throughout my life that, because of all the weird medical stuff I've overcome, I am meant to do something great. But who am I? And so, I am content with my own little world of mill houses and cakes, babies and brown dogs, husbands and Darth Vader collections.

*OK, I've worn make up a few times in my adult life. I wore it on my wedding day and again a couple of times that I had pictures taken. And I'll probably have to wear it again if I have publicity stills taken for the bakery. But all that adds up to maybe three hours of make up total... so that's not too bad, I think. Still... I could really use three more hours of sleep right now.

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