I am still a little insecure about my blog. I don’t know how to do the tech parts well, and I have a little bastard voice still that says blogs, (really just mine, of course) are self-aggrandizing and vain. But I keep writing anyway. I don’t seem to be able to stop.
Last week’s I felt was a risk—I’m still fumbling around with a new platform, still out of my groove from taking a holiday break. And it was an ok idea (though not original), that all stories are palimpsests, but I’m not sure I did it justice…. Yeah, the little bastard voice is strong this month.
But the day after I posted it, a colleague approached me—made an effort, went out of her way—to talk about it and tell me she enjoyed it. It was all the difference to me on a cold, cranky morning, and it reminded me how much it matters that we tell people what we appreciate about them.
I try to do this. I try to remember to thank people for their efforts, try to point out what’s awesome about individuals, but I know I’ve missed lots of opportunities over the years. I’m happy to say I caught one recently, though. In the wake of the Very Bad News of 650 foreign language programs being cut from university curricula in the last several years, I panicked and looked up my alma mater to see if the French major still existed.
Not only does it still exist (though pared down, certainly), one of my favorite professors is still teaching there twenty-five years later. So I tracked down his email and wrote him a letter thanking him. He taught me French literature and culture. But even more importantly, he taught me how to learn languages, a skill which I have put to good use over the years. He also modeled honest, emotional, and aesthetic reactions to literature. From this… from this I have made a career.
He didn’t remember me. I didn’t care. I put some positivity out in to the universe, and some came back to me almost immediately.
So the Little Bastard of Self-Criticism got overshadowed by the Bigger, Stronger Voice of Gratitude this week. I probably need to do some work to turn my big, grateful voice inward, not just outward, in the near future. But today it was enough to notice that the little bastard is little, and the better voice is big as I conceive of them. That’s something to build on.
Remember to tell your people they’re awesome, y’all. We are fragile, all of us, and it helps to hear it. It helps even more, though, to say it.
- And I’m moving my post days to Thursday starting next week. Sorry about the minor chaos. Our schedule’s changed, and Tuesday doesn’t work as well as I’d hoped. Thor’s Day, no doubt, will be perfect.
- Also, here’s the link to the article that made me want to hug all my French professors (by Stephen Johnson in the Chronicle of Higher Education on January 22, 2019): https://www.chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Lose-a-Stunning-/245526?fbclid=IwAR2d8hKnmLQgqDukybBe-mGREZDL8wCKiHrcFil92WunWxqGBB9U0Tej0a0