Prompt: What are you proud of?

Another in a list of writing prompts. This one is asking what I’m proud of.

Like anyone who has led a reasonably active life, there are things I am proud of, and things I’m not. The prompt said to pick anything. That’s so wide open, I have no real idea.

I’d say I’m proud of my ability to learn new things.

I was born with that. I got lucky. That’s not something to take pride in.

I’d say I’m proud of my intelligence.

Again, that was luck. I was born with a good brain and grew up in an environment that encouraged creative thought and innovation. Not just my parents, mind. My grandparents were all about coming up with clever solutions to problems — even my very conservative and by-the-book paternal grandmother. I’m third generation on that one.

Accomplishments? Sure, I’m proud of them. I’d be silly not to be. Think of the things you’ve done/created/accomplished/overcome. I hope you’re proud of those things, too. ‘Cause wow, we humans can do some cool and clever stuff.

The thing is, I think I’m proudest of showing courage — doing something I’m genuinely, no kidding scared of doing. And no, I’m not going to talk about that swim I did last weekend.

I want to talk about a time when I was scareder than that and I showed a lot more self-control.

When I was fifteen, I got mononucleosis. I was sick, sick, sick — utterly exhausted and drained. I was also terrified of needles, and I’m one of those people that a phlebotomist hates. Tiny veins. As sick as I was, I was probably mildly dehydrated on top of everything else. My parents had a bear of a time getting me to swallow any liquid because my glands had swollen and my throat hurt so much.

So here I am in the doctor’s office. In protesting getting stuck with a needle in that office over the years, I’d screamed, cried, tried to run away, and fought. Once when a nurse was trying to give me a penicillin shot in the butt for one of my endless bouts of earaches, I clenched my muscles so tightly that it bent the needle.

So yeah, scared of needles in a big way.

How do they diagnose mono, boys and girls? Why yes. A blood test!

At fifteen, I wasn’t as likely to freak as much as I had when younger, but I would be a diamond studded liar if I were to say that I was over my fear of needles. (I’m over it now…. Well, at least no more than a mild distaste)

As I sat in the chair and the nurse put a strap around my upper arm to help the vein pop up more, a small child who was next in line for a blood draw stood in the door watching me — a big eyes and sucking her thumb.

The nurse was having a terrible time finding a vein and kept sticking me over and over. But looking at that kid, I knew there was nothing in the world that was going to make me react. Oh, no. I hated the needles and hated getting stuck, but I smiled at the kid and chatted with her.

So, it was the self-control I was proud of, right?

Nope. Not even a little.

That I knew in my soul I owed it to that little kid to try to set an example to make things a little easier for her, that it was truly the first honest adult impulse I ever had.


Oh, yes. I’m proud of that.

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