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You Get Proud By Practicing.....Read If You Need A Boost of Pride Today.

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

Pride is often presented as a negative quality trait (which is true depending on the degree is true), but for many of us in underrepresented communities, have it be as a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), POC, queer, LGBTQIA+, disability or another underrepresented groups / communities, being proud of who we are is a process and an earned accomplishment. Often times when I talk to folks in these communities, I often bond or relate to them based on their lack of confidence, pride, obstacles they face and low self worth, unfortunately. During my own life, often times, I did not value myself or placed less value on my perspectives because people like me were often pictured outside the norm - living on the the fringe doing negative things to ourselves and to norm society.

People often ask me (both in the community and outside of it) - "How do you just live as open as you do and as unapologetic about it?" It took practice and changing the conversation I had with myself on a daily basis. I really didn't think about the things I would do or say to myself as practice until i read Laura Hersey's poem "You Get Proud By Practising". Laura was a disability activist, queer and amazing poet. She was born with MD (muscular dystrophy). She wrote many amazing poems and explored many of the intersections between race, disability, sexuality, and gender - advocated for people with disabilities and focused on creating real change for all groups with disabilities. Like many of us, she grew up having to practice being proud.

Often times, when I don't feel proud of myself for whatever reason (because I'm queer, trans, or other ways) and I feel that I am not worthy of people's time, love and attention, I read Laura's poem, You Get Proud By Practising". It helps me remember that my pride or feeling good about me - comes from me. The day I established that I owe my identity and it is not defined by others - is the first day I felt proud. Laura's poem explains what I feel all of us go through, reach and have to remember often:

"Power makes you proud, and power Comes in many fine forms Supple and rich as butterfly wings. It is music when you practise opening your mouth And liking what you hear Because it is the sound of your own True voice.

I relate to the sentence greatly. For a long time, i didn't really feel I had a real voice or one that people wanted to hear. Often times to be proud of who we are, we have to be OK with others not being OK with others not accepting our message or "our voice" or what we have to communicate to the world. Often times, most of us placate the world not truly expressing who we are in fear that people will hurt us, embarrass us, or take from us. When we do placate. we often lose a part of us - that makes us special.

Often times, transpeople accept people misgendering them or dead naming them (largely out of fear, embarrassment or to not rock the boat). They have to practice that their ID Is theirs. If you want to take this phrase literally. from a personal perspective, I felt like my voice was borrowed and I was waiting for my real voice to show up. It wasn't until I transitioned and I started feeling more like me that my voice became my most valuable procession - not only did it sound more like me - what same out of me was more me and what I was about. I started feeling proud for the first time in my life in every way - appearance, sound and through personal interactions with others. I stopped being so angry at the world. When my anger dissipated, I was able to share with others who i really was - not a blocked off, guarded, and frankly miserable version of me.

It is sunlight When you practise seeing Strength and beauty in everyone, Including yourself.

I love this line because, to me, in order to include others - we have to value them for what makes them different and similar to us. We can't just focus on one or the other because we miss everything about that person that makes them who they are. Being proud is about seeing your weakness, strengths, abilities, etc. and being able to hold on to your sense of self regardless of the value others place on those traits or IDs. It's a journey - Some weeks I feel grateful to be trans, queer and where I am in the world and in life. Someday, I feel down due to being trans. On those days, I ask myself, "Why am i feeling down about being a trans person?" Often times the answer revolves around

We don't control how others treat us, but we can control how we treat ourselves and how we communicate to ourselves. I feel for me, this was a major shift in my understanding and gave me the ability to advocate for others (among being a privileged person in the community as well). I personally believe we are all butterflies - some of us just have a hard time seeing our wings and inner beauty to be proud of.

It is dance when you practise knowing That what you do And the way you do it Is the right way for you And cannot be called wrong. All these hold More power than weapons or money Or lies? Remember, you weren’t the one Who made you ashamed, But you are the one Who can make you proud. Just practise, Practise until you get proud, and once you are proud, Keep practising so you won’t forget. You get proud By practising

m The line "Remember, you weren't the one who made you ashamed, but you are the one who can make you proud changed my life." In fact on my hardest days of being coming me, I said this line on an hourly basis. Not that there were a ton of people in my life that were cruel to me due to my trans status but I have had people who went out of their way to remind me that what i am is not preferred and odd - unintentionally reinforcing that people like me are underserving of love and value. I use to dread these people, but now I am largely not phased by them because what I learned by my experience is they are just struggling like me - to be proud.. just in an unproductive way (by making others feel less so). All I usually say is "You know you are enough, right?" and walk away to probably their confusion. Same goes to all of you who are reading this - You are enough, you deserve to be proud of who you are because for many of you reading this, you had to be practice to be proud. Your pride in a world that tells you not to be is an accomplishment. This sense of pride will not only benefit you, but everyone around you. Better internal conversations with yourself, create better external conversations with others.

I want to hear from you: How do you practice being proud? I would love to hear from you (regardless who you are!).

I hope you enjoyed this post! I really want to hear from you. What kind of content would you like to read? What areas do you struggle with in terms of inclusion? I would love to create content to help those who read and want to use this site as a resource.

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