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29 November 2003

Before I start, I want to mention an Internet problem that has come up--if anybody knows why, I'd sure love to get your input! If you put in, you reach the front page, but only as far as November 25. If you put in, you get the whole front page, up to date. I sure can't figure out the problem, but it's very annoying! You might want to change your bookmarks accordingly--and, as I said, if anybody can figure out what the problem is, I'd love to hear it.

[LATER NOTE: I'm going stark raving mad. NOW if you use the www it comes up on the 28th, and if you don't use the www it comes up with the current list. I haven't changed a THING that I've been doing for months about creating the front page. I simply don't understand!!!]

I received a letter (you know--the old fashioned kind, with ink on paper and stamps on envelopes, if you can remember back that far) from a good friend of mine today.

She wanted to talk about something that has been bothering her for sometime about my journal. She pointed out how often I take myself to task for places in my life where I feel inadequate, or where I feel I don't measure up, or where I feel I've failed. She tells me I'm a talented person with a lot to offer and it bothers her to see me always putting myself down.

She's not the first to point this out to me. But she said it the most eloquently (and most impassioned).

I started to think of the times in my life which stand out for me, and nearly all of them involve my being embarrassed or mortified, or feeling like I couldn't measure up.

Ballet. ("you can't take ballet lessons; you're too fat.") General facts (" gave the wrong answer on television--isn't that funny!") Physical prowess ("you look funny when you run..."). More weight ("That can't be Bev; she's not fat enough"), and a host of other crystal clear images that play in my head whenever I think I might be kinda talented in some area or other. "Yeah, maybe I wrote this neat thing, but I couldn't hack college and never got a degree, so I'm a terrible person..."

Add to that a good old fashioned Catholic school education, where praise was not high on the list for grammar school kids, because pride was a sin, so you always had your faults pointed out and your strengths seldom praised.

But my friend thinks I should think more about my good qualities and not apologize so much, so I've decided that I'm going to make Saturday Self Esteem Day. On Saturday I'm going to take off the sack cloth and ashes, open the closet door, and come out admitting that there are things about me which are very good.

Each Saturday (or until I forget!) I'll think up five things that I should feel good about. (This may work OK for the first couple of weeks, but a year from now, it may start feeling like I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel!)

So #1 on the "I like me today and this is why" list for this first week is the fact that I have cleaned this house. I know I've been a broken record on this point, but the house is clean enough so that I could take the afternoon off to watch Annie Hall this afternoon (a movie I'd never seen all the way through before) without feeling guilty because the dishes weren't done or the laundry wasn't folded or the living room wasn't dusted. It feels good to look around and not cringe.

2. I am very good at staying in contact with people who are at a distance. Today I wrote a letter to Walt's 70 year old second cousin in Ireland. I told her all about Tom & Laurel's wedding and printed off pictures from the wedding (as well as Walt's mother's recent 90th birthday party) so she could feel she was there, at least in part. I'm proud of the close ties that have developed with this woman and kind of feel that part of the "rediscovery" of Walt's family with this side of the family is because I stayed in close contact with her. Now the whole family does, but for the first couple of years, she and I developed a close friendship by mail which gradually spilled over to the rest of the family. I've done this all my life and like to think that this is a good trait in a world where one constantly hears "I know I should write, but I'm so bad about it..."

3. I'm a damn good typist. And I'm not in the least humble about it. In high school I was the third fastest typist in the school when I was only in my first year of study, beating out most of the second year students. When I got a keyboard under my fingers for the first time, I felt I'd come home. I'd always wanted to know how to type and once I learned the keyboard, there was no stopping me. Some people think of typing as a chore. I truly love it and may not be the fastest typist in the world, but at 135 wpm (when last tested on an electric typewriter), I'm no slouch either.

4. I'm also a pretty good cook, when I want to be. I'm never afraid to try something new (and almost always try out new recipes on guests) and though I get bored doing routine cooking night after night, on those occasions when I decide to make something special, I do a good job. I used to make a mean Chinese banquet and still could, if I set my mind to it, but these days it doesn't seem worth the effort to do all that chopping!

5. I have kept 50 pounds off of this body for over a year. I'd like to take off more, and I've gained back some 20 of the original 70+ pounds I lost, but goddammit, I have kept 50 lbs off of me for over a year--and I can't remember the last time I did that. Good for me!

So that's my self-esteem list for today. It was not easy to sit here and think of five good things to say about myself and not feel like I should apologize for sounding so puffed up. But that's the name of "Self Esteem Saturday." How about all you other journalists? Want to join me in posting your own self-esteem Saturdays?

Today's Photo

Tape collection

My vacation is really over--it's time to go back to typing for the psychiatrist. I took this picture of the collection of un-transcribed tapes, forgetting I have one in the transcriber and there was one other one that I didn't see when I was arranging these!

For more photos, please visit My Fotolog and My FoodLog

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Created 11/29/03