C Finds Her Mantra

I don’t write about my daughter here very often. I usually sort of casually mention her existence but don’t go into details.

There’s been something happening lately that’s been really amazing to watch, though.

She was a pretty confident little girl.

However, when she got to be about 13, doubt started creeping in, as it often does in our society when girls hit puberty.

For a few years, we dealt with I-don’t-know-how-many-nights of tears and anger and frustration. She would cry and rock back and forth and say, “I’m so stupid!” over relatively minor issues or social hiccups.

Her sophomore year in high school was probably the worst. She had been given a position of authority in an after-school activity, but had no back up from the adult in charge. In fact, rather than backing up C’s decisions, the adult in charge completely undermined them and supported a different student.

This was so frustrating to watch and try to help her deal with.

It affected her grades, it affected her relationships with friends. It affected her primary extra-curricular activity.

She questioned EVERYTHING about herself.

No amount of telling her that she was beautiful and smart and talented and good at something helped anything, because of course, it was her (biased) mother saying so.

But over the last year, things have changed, and it’s really been clear for the last couple of months.

It started with her grades. In 7th-10th grade, I had to constantly ride her about homework. In 11th grade, I just had to check in every now and then. But her senior year? I didn’t even have to pay attention. She was totally on everything. Now, maybe she could have gotten a couple more As, but she was balancing things really well socially and with her extra-curriculars, so a couple of Bs weren’t that big a deal, especially in Honors and/or AP classes. A few reminders here and there about college apps, but she was totally on about taking her placement exams and everything. I barely had to pay attention.

In taekwondo, when she first started teaching, she HATED it. She hated being grouped with the little kids to teach them, she hated being in front of people and talking even if it was a small class.

Over the last year, she’s come home talking about “her kids” and brimming with confidence over the classes that she teaches, as well as her own secretarial skills running the office.

And in the last couple of months, she come home practically screaming her new mantra:

I’m fucking AWESOME!

Negative comments from adults will now piss her off instead of making her internalize the comments and beat herself up. She knows she’s good at what she does and she knows she’s smart and learns quickly.

There is no particular single point where this happened; it happened slowly over the last year.

This is the thing I am most proud of with her. Somehow, she’s finally internalized what those of us who love her have been saying all along: She IS fucking awesome!