I know it is better to give than receive, but why do we feel guilt on the occasions we receive? This is particularly common among women. In today's two parent households, usually both parents work. Yet the role of caretaker and homemaker still tends to fall on the mother. It is assumed that mothers, wives, grandmothers and aunts will remember birthdays, anniversaries and milestones of family and friends. That presumption also carries the obligation of doing what is necessary to make family feel acknowledged and loved on that special day no matter how small the accomplishment. Who do the strong run to when they feel weak? To the point, who champions for the accomplishments of women at home and work? It is considered taboo if she does it herself. She is bossy or demanding.
In the workplace, women tend not to toot their own horns about the contributions they brought to the conference room table. Women often downplay their achievements as "nothing special." Why do we women say our accomplishments are "nothing special?" In essence, we are de-valuing ourselves. I once told a group of ladies, "If we do not see the value of investing in ourselves, then no one will."
Recently, I became a victim of "nothing special." I moved to New York City to transition from a lawyer to a writer. I arrived with no contacts in the literary and publishing world. All I had was a dream and a belief that I could make it here. When I found out I would join the Huffington Post blogging family, I was like a 12-year-old getting tickets to a One Direction concert. I did my Snoopy happy dance and called friends back home. Not only did I find out about the HuffPost invitation, the same day I received my first wedding order for my snack mix business. I should have been on cloud nine.
The next day, I had a sinking feeling. What if I had already written my best posts? What if it was a fluke and they rescind the invitation? Maybe I was not good enough. Two great things happened to me and in less than 24 hours I turned my something special into nothing special. By the time I put head to pillow, I was a nothing special mess. I re-read my Advice to My Younger Self. "Enjoy the little successes and moments. Life is short." Why did I feel guilty about celebrating the moment? I went to bed determined that the following day would a celebration of my something special.
I woke up the next morning to a congratulatory email from a friend in Europe. She attached a picture of her sister wearing a t-shirt with my phrase, "Failure is an option and it's OK, just keep trying." Her sister planned to wear the t-shirt at her Ph.D. thesis defense. That email was exactly what I needed to get in a celebratory mood. Next, I picked my anthem song, Am I Wrong by Nico and Vinz. The lyrics were a testimony to my dream chasing experience.
"Am I wrong for thinking out the box from where I stay?
If one thing I know, I'll fall but I'll grow
Now am I wrong
For trying to reach the things that I can't see?
Am I tripping for having a vision?
My prediction: I'm a be on the top of the world"
I had the song on repeat as I danced around the apartment getting ready. I needed a reminder that this was something special. I packed up and moved east to chase a dream that some outright told me would fail. That dream is coming true and others that I did not envision. This was a big something special and I had to let that soak in. I planned to treat myself to brunch, a matinee, a hair appointment and dinner.
At the salon, my stylist sampled my snack mix. "Not only are you a writer, you need to sell this stuff now. You can sell it at the salon any time. My clients and the other stylists would love this." I left the salon with an idea for a blog post (Back to My Roots) and potential clients for my snack business. In the words of Ice Cube, "today was a good day." It was a something special day.
In the Color Purple, Shug Avery says, "I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it." Likewise, I think we dishonor ourselves when we look at our something special moments and pretend they are nothing special. Take a minute to stop and savor your accomplishment - getting one step closer to your dream. Honor that moment before it fades and never returns because it was not valued.
A toast to you and more moments of something special!