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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

A Hard Lesson to Learn 

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about pride. The good, the bad and the ugly. Pride is a word that has taken on so many meanings in our daily language. It can be confusing.

Growing up I was always told "Pride cometh before a fall". Let's face it, one of the cornerstones of the Amish/Mennonite faith is lack of pride. My family is about as humble a group of people you'll ever meet. The most prideful thing I've ever heard from any of them was from my Aunt when she admitted we women in the family are all GREAT cooks. I about dropped the phone. What I'm saying is pride was not something that was fostered as I grew up.

I think that's wrong. I always have. I've always been a very proud woman. Proud to have been adopted, proud to be a member of my family, proud to be a girl scout, proud to be an American.

But I was also proud (cocky) of my singing/musical ability, proud of my looks (I've never admited that out loud) and proud of my intelligence. That is the type of pride that comes up and bites you in the ass. Every time.

You know how I know that? I got a served a big piece of humble pie. Because I was hard headed and wouldn't quit smoking I can no longer sing. Not even for fun. And you know what, age is a bitch on the looks - like it or not. We can't stay 22 forever. As far as my intelligence - some of you out there intimidate the hell out of me daily. Heck, it took months for me to even work up the courage to start posting comments!

The Pride I've been thinking about is harder to explain. It's that secret you hide because you're ashamed for anyone to know you hurt, or you're scared. It's not asking for help when you really need it, it's not admitting when you're wrong, because you think it lessens your "image". We all do it, we all have it. And at some point, we all have to move past it.

As I stated, I've always been a very proud person. It was really bad when I was younger. But, let me tell you, that fall I had was pretty rough. It started when I was married. That in itself was a humbling experience. And the bad part is I didn't tell anyone about it. I was too proud. I couldn't admit that I was wrong. It just got worse.

I'll never forget one January. It was so very cold. I was out of work for medical reasons and my husband had been fired for rolling a bucket truck during a storm while he was drunk. No unemployment, support to be paid, rent, utilities, food. You get the picture. Well, I came back from the doctor and found the water, gas, electric and phone had been shut off and the landlord had left a notice of eviction. Not a good day. My husband refused to ask anyone for help. I knew I'd be back to work in 2 weeks and just needed to buy enough time to get my first couple checks. So I took a deep breathe and went to try and get some help from the state.

I have never been so humiliated or downtrodden in all of my life. I won't go into it more than to say - they refused us. I then had to beg from family and friends and get enough to get us thru, but that isn't the point. I had to set my pride aside and ask for help. That's when I found out that so many others had been in similar situations. (also found out just how many people hated my husband, but that's another story.)

And the last eight years have been no picnic. My pride has gotten me into more messes than not. But, once I realize what I've done, I step back and remind myself I'm not an army of one. I need help, I need emotional support, I need.

So - I take pride in the person that I am. I take pride in the job that I do. I take pride in the accomplishments of those I care about. But I try not to let pride take me down. It's alright to say "I really need to talk this thru", or "I can't do this by myself." It takes a bigger person to say "I was wrong." It's ok to say "I'm scared".


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My "Other" Family - Fizzen Sparks