Like many people whose identities contain some aspects of oppression or underrepresentation, I often find myself apologizing for myself. When a professor in my graduate program tells me that I did a good job or that I'm helpful in class, I often find myself minimizing my knowledge and contribution.
When a faculty member tells me that I have helped their students, I find myself staring at the ground and mumbling.
Because, in the culture I grew up in (and as the person within that culture I was socialized to be), one simply doesn't say "Yes, I'm amazing." You hem and haw and belittle your own awesomeness in the service of some larger sense of humility.
Well, I'm finally realizing (finally, just 30 years later) .... that's bullshit.
Minimizing our own awesomeness is just like apologizing for nothing - we are taking away from the enormous successes that we have. We are apologizing for that success before it ever happens, coloring our world(s) with self-effacing words that obfuscate our real amazingness.
I mean, think about it. How often have you heard someone who can really, really sing say "Oh, I USED to be able to sing" or "It's not a big deal?" How often have you seen someone whip up a website in 20 minutes that would have taken you 15 hours (and looked worse) who minimized that task?
How often have you wished that these people would just see the amazingness of themselves?
I have wished it more than once. On my arm, in fact, I have a memorial tattoo for a friend who never did see herself the way I saw her before she died, far too young.
I wish you could see the you that I see
So I'm trying. Because I think that what we do matters more than what we say, I'm trying to figure out what it takes for people who have been historically and systematically silenced to say "This is who I am and who I am is amazing"?
That's what's being explored right now at Shapley Prose and Tiger Beatdown. Now, I have admittedly had issues with both blogs in the past. I imagine I will again. I have not suddenly become a convert to some kind of worshipful religion.
But this idea? The idea of standing up, of putting your stake in the ground and saying "This is who I am and this is what is amazing about me"? This is incredibly paradigm-shifting. Because we dismiss the damaging forms of humility and stand up and recongize our own awesomeness.
So I'm Krista fucking Benson. I'm a fantastic career counselor, a good teacher, and a strong academic. I understand theory and methods easier than most people understand multiplication tables and I will eventually be an amazing faculty member. I'm a good girlfriend, a fantastic friend, and I cook a mean green curry.
I'm Krista fucking Benson. Recognize.
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