This is not an easy question to answer, for me anyway. I’ve made mistakes, done ugly things. I’ve lied, stolen from those close to me, been a shitty friend to people. Sounds like it doesn’t leave much of anything to be proud of, right? And at times I feel there’s nothing about me to be proud of.
But one thing I’m proud of is the sense of responsibility I feel towards my two younger sisters. When we were children, I let my grandfather rape me for a summer rather than let him rape them in my stead. As fucked up as the whole situation was, I felt responsible to protect them from having to go through that. As adults, when my youngest sister was facing criminal charges, and serious ones at that, I felt it my responsibility to do everything I could (including lying to a grand jury) to keep her from being convicted. This idea that I, as the eldest, am responsible for what happens to them, was instilled in me from when we were very small, and I take it very seriously, even now when I know they are both grown women with lives of their own.
Something else I’m proud of is that I never felt compelled to follow the crowd simply for the sake of following the crowd. In junior high, all the other girls were dying their hair and I had no interest in that. My hair is naturally very dark brown, close to black, actually. And so while the other girls in my class were spraying something called Sun-In on their hair, hoping to lighten their locks, I was just fine with my natural color, even if it made me an oddball. In college when everybody was drinking beer, I was the only one drinking straight scotch, and once again I didn’t give a rat’s ass that I was the oddball. Beer tasted like piss and Scotch had texture and complexity.
I’m also proud that I’m OK by myself. I don’t need to surround myself with people just so I can say I’m not alone. I’ve never had a big group of friends…I mean, I don’t HATE people, per se, but I don’t require an entourage of twenty to go up to the Avenue and buy cigarettes.