Remembering to Bask
Sad but true: I’m not very good at writing about happy things. In fact, now that I think about it, I’m not very good at celebrating.
Celebrating is not to be confused with partying. I like parties. I like laughing and being loud with friends. I like getting carried away into the night. Partying frequently happens in the setting of celebrating something so it’s never occurred to me that I might be bad at celebrating, but I am. It’s partying that I’m good at.
Partying can be mindless, but celebration requires a sincere appreciation of something positive.
Maybe it’s having high expectations for oneself gone too far. When I think back to many of the accomplishments that I’ve been supposed to celebrate for myself, they don’t tend to move me. Usually they’re related to studying hard, working hard, or training hard. These are all time consuming things that can be unpleasant at times, but ultimately they are just that -- time consuming and sometimes tedious.
Or maybe it’s because that I’m so aware of my own privilege that these accomplishments are not as impressive as they may seem. There were not necessarily that many obstacles in front of me. What is so special about simply doing the work that was put before me? Conversely there’s an important distinction between humility and taking ones accomplishments for granted.
However, regardless of ones reasons for not truly celebrating, I’m realizing that celebration is important when it comes to sustaining oneself. The victories are few and far between and the disappointments seemingly unfixable.
Recently my classmates elected me class speaker. It’s flattering, an honor, and most of all, a surprise. So often I feel isolated and not just ignored but brushed off. Getting elected to speak at graduation by my peers does not align with my own impression of how my classmates see me.
At some of my lowest points those around me often remind that the silent masses are not necessarily in disagreement. Sometimes people are scared to speak up; sometimes it’s not in their personality; and sometimes they think that since I’ve already said it, what point is there in saying anything? I shouldn’t assume that everyone thinks I’m unreasonable.
I should celebrate this. Not just as a personal achievement, but as something positive that I need to embrace because how often is the dissenting opinion voted to give a speech? The world does not dole out affirmations. Strength, just like self-confidence is something that must come from within us. But, in those moments of weakness and doubt, why not take advantage of the few external validators that come your way?
And so I will celebrate. Not with partying, but with a little meditation. I will sit and bask in the positivity, the way one basks on the beach hoping to store some away for the coming winter.
This is a cross post from On Race, Medicine, and Privilege.