There are a few stories that I have collected over the years that I think summarize my life experience succinctly. I worry that once I've shared all of them with people I know, I'll never have anything else funny or interesting to say to them. Interestingly, I've had that fear in my professional life as well. I had a job once where I had to teach a didactic group once a week in the evening to up to 60 convicted felons. Every week I would worry that this was the last good idea that I would have, and now everyone would see that I was a fraud and not fit to do this job. Did I mention the convicted felons. I was worried that felons would think I was a hack. But I would have been afraid of that no matter who my audience was.
Regarding those stories, there is one that is not remotely funny, but it defines who I try to be.
In high school I was mostly on the outskirts of the groups that outside observers would have called the popular kids. I had wonderful friends, who shared my interests and valued me despite my apparent uncoolness, so I wasn't unhappy with my social standing or my high school experience in general. I didn't really embrace the whole angst-ridden Smiths-Ministry-Cure emotional experience. I was pretty happy most of the time. But there were occasions when I got the very clear message that I was not welcome in a given setting or conversation. Maybe you've experienced it yourself; you comment on a conversation and receive a look of pity or surprise that you have the nerve to be standing there. It's not a good feeling, but I primarily avoided it by sticking with people who I knew were actual friends.
I was terrified, 15 years later, to find myself having given one of those looks to a co-worker. I assumed I'd given her that look, because the expression I saw on her face was a pretty accurate reflection of how I remember feeling sometimes in High School. I resolved at that point that I never again wanted to make someone feel that way, and have tried to behave in a way that makes people happier to see me arrive than to see me leave. I don't want to contribute to the pointless, hateful competition that seems to crop up among women in any way. I've made it my goal to point out to others the reasons they shine and encourage them to name their own worth. I believe it's my job to help girls and women to realize that they are, by nature, fabulous. Not because of what they wear, or the shape of their bodies; because they say they are fabulous.
We are fabulous. You can take our word for it.