10 Things

[WARNING: This post is sappy and long and it’s not about Lu. Read at your own risk.]

My dear friend Liz has asked me for help. Urgent! Favor needed! I have worshipped Liz since she was my camp counselor some 20 odd years ago, and have only in recent years come to love her as an actual mortal friend. But still, when your counselor asks you for something — “a caper” as we call it in our camp language — you do it. Like, right now.

Except I have been having the hardest time with this caper, because she has asked me to do a favor for myself…

“Caper: I want you to sit down and email me a list of your top 10 favorite things about Kate. Lucy and Jason cannot be on the list (even as awesome as they are). I will consider that cheating. This has to be 10 things about you.”

Liz is now the director of Rocky River Ranch, the camp of our childhood and young adulthood, and this is an exercise she asks of counselors and counselors in training because “women aren't encouraged to be proud of themselves — or don't take time to be proud of the little things that really make life better.” Uh, yeah. Liz knows that I have been depressed lately, so she has kindly made this demand of me.

I have been thinking about it since yesterday at 1:58 p.m. and it has taken me a full day and half to come up with ten things. Ten things that have no accompanying apology. Ten things that aren’t self-effacing. Ten things.

Read them if you want (and please no pitying string of comments about how great I am — this is about how I feel about me, not about how you feel about me), but more importantly, gentle readers, make your own list of ten things. It has really made my day (and a half).

10 Things I Like About Me
1. I can find something to talk about with anyone. It’s the right combination of being polite, well-rounded and genuinely interested in other people.
2. I am willing to do things I am not good at. I am generally game to try anything that might be fun.
3. I am a good dresser.
4. I am an emotionally intelligent person. I pay attention to nuance and detail in human interactions. I would have been a good politician or shrink.
5. I like the people who like me. Just last night, I was marveling at how bright, cool and kind my friends are, and I felt so proud of myself for knowing them.
6. I am a preternatural speller.
7. I love to read. A teacher of mine once said, “There are people who see words when they read, then translate them to ideas, then images. And then there are people who read and see immediate, rich inner movies.” I am the latter, and it has given me lots of pleasure and pride.
8. I love to write. This is the one of the ten things that I most want to flagellate myself with — all I aspired to and have not done with my writing. Whatever. I love it and I am good at it.
9. I am kind. I am hurt by the suffering of other people.
10. I have run a marathon. If I were ever going to get a tattoo, it would be a teeny tiny “26.2” somewhere very secret on my body. I had no reason to think I could run a marathon — in fact, a mere two years before I ran the marathon, I ran my very first MILE. But I just kept running (see thing #2) one more step, one more mile, until I was a runner. Maggie and I have a shared motto we established during our marathon training: “Just do your best, okay?” It's a talisman, one that got me through childbirth, one that gets me through really bad days.

So there, Liz. I did my caper. And I made my New Year’s resolution: to like myself. To treat myself with the same compassion I do my friends, and to try to look at myself through their loving eyes every once in a while.