My lovely friend Elena at C. Mom invited her DC Mom pals to participate in a day of celebrating ourselves. In this one post, I will not complain about my perpetually frizzy-in-summer hair, or my bigger-than-I'd-like figure, or anything else that's negative. Today I'm going to push down whatever petty aversions I have about myself and reclaim what I like about being me. So here we go.
1. I like my long-term memory (don't ask me where I put my keys/purse/book/sunglasses, though!). I love it that my friends and family constantly turn to me to settle a bet about when something happened or just act as their collective memory bank. Even if occasionally someone might think I'm stalking them (me: "How was your mother's foot surgery? them: What? How did you know about that? me: you told me... eight months ago when we last saw each other them: looks at me like a freak before squeaking "I can't believe you remember that!")
2. I like that I get paid to watch movies and television shows and interview actors, producers and directors. I've always (ask my siblings) loved pop culture, so getting to stay on top of it is a dream.
3. I like that my freelance career allows me to have a flexible schedule. After I was laid off at AOL in December, 2006 (hey, it's a rite of passage), I cried and cried and cried, and then a week later my friend Peter offered me my very first freelance gig, to write for Variety. A month later, the folks at Common Sense Media offered me a position as their senior movie critic, and four-and-a-half years later, I also contribute to the Washington Post and for my friend Kevin at MTV's Next Movie. I even came full circle to return contributing to AOL's Moviefone as the "Moviefone Mama." And thanks to being a freelancer, I'm still able to chauffeur my kids around, be a class parent, send my preschoolers to a cooperative school, and show my children how lucky I am to be able to work this way. It's not always easy (this week I have 11 deadlines!), but it's so satisfying.
4. I like that I can make people laugh. I'm far from the next Sarah Silverman, but I can throw a zinger when I want to (mostly thanks to my husband, who has a wicked sense of humor).
5. I like that I'm a good friend. I know how to keep in touch, remember important details, ask the right questions, and empathize with friends having a tough time. I'm not a fair-weather pal who will drop someone at the first whiff of drama or grief. I'm in it for the long haul.
6. I like being the Baby Sister of my family. Even though I used to hate being 10, 12, 14 years younger than my siblings, I now love that my brothers and sister look to me for advice on what movies to see, what books to read, what shows to watch, how to use the Internet (cough, Louis, cough), what apps to buy, etc. The only thing they don't ask me is what to make for dinner.
7. I like that I get "obsessive" about certain topics. I'm the kind of person who didn't just read "Into Thin Air," I read every article about that doomed trip to Everest, two other biographies of climbers who disagreed with Jon Krakauer, watched a documentary and generally couldn't stop talking about it for months and months. I become an amateur expert. I read and read and read, and then I evangelize about the topic or genre (Young Adult novels, the last days of the Romanovs, Holocaust literature, Mormonism, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Glee, you name it) until at least one of my friends or siblings joins me in my madness. Just ask my sister, whom I've convinced to read many a book, including the Harry Potter series, since I'm an unabashed fangirl.
8. I like that people find it easy to tell me their stories. I don't blanche at the thought of someone who just met me telling me something difficult about themselves, much less a friend I've known for ages.
9. I like that I remain trusting (for the most part!), even though I've been conned and mugged. I don't think of myself as gullible anymore, but I am still open -- to new friendships and experiences.
10. I like that my people can count on me -- to join them for a coffee and conversation; to volunteer when no one else wants to; to watch their kids in a pinch; to show them the correct way to nit-pick; to cry with them through their divorces, miscarriages, rejections; and to celebrate their many successes.
OK, so that's me! Now back to my many "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II" deadlines!