Joining the Sisterhood


I really appreciate blog awards. In the blogosphere, no one knows what I look like. No one sees my CV or cares whether or not I get a Ph.D. None of the usual things I look to in defining my worth matter. All that is here are my words. Words that come from an uncensored, more raw version of me than people in my real life see. Being nominated for an award says that despite my insecurities and without external accomplishments I am appreciated for just being myself. No feeling is more uplifting than feeling appreciated. Thank you Wee Blue Birdie for nominating me for the Sisterhood of the World of Bloggers Award and for making me feel appreciated. I am honoured. Her blog, Little Steps to Somewhere is beautifully written. She reminds me that there is more to life than the big picture. Birdie’s prose and sketches show that life is a series of moments and by slowing down enough to absorb the details of the present, whether is be the view from your window or the quiet of the night, you can really make a difference in your own life.

The guidelines for accepting this award are as follows:
• Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their site.
• Put the award logo on your blog.
• Answer the ten questions sent to you.
• Nominate seven blogs.
• Make a list of ten questions for your nominees

Here are the questions from Wee Blue Birdie:

  1. What kind of bird would you be, and why?
    I should ask my friend Lynne, the one with colorectal cancer, what she thinks. Lynne is a birder. She knows so much about birds, she can identify a bird by it’s call. It’s really quite amazing. I, on the other hand, don’t know much about birds, so this will require some research. A Buzzfeed quiz told me I would be a cockatiel because I’m smart, quirky, proud to be a nerd and don’t care what people think. Sounds about right, but that last part isn’t me at all. Another random quiz said I would be an owl because I love knowledge (true) and am a night person (Not!). Have you ever heard of the DOPE-4 Bird Personality Test? Some people argue that it is more accurate than Meyer-Briggs. This one says that I am a dove, which I think I agree with. The dove is a symbol of peace. I am peace-loving, empathetic and hard working. I prefer stability and am not so great at being assertive……a dove it is!
  2. Which period of history had the best clothing?
    I would say now because clothes are practical. You can pretty much wear anything you want. That’s a boring answer though, so I’ll go with Victorian Era, 1870s. At this point in time women were wearing a structured bodice with a natural waistline. The corset was in, but this was before it got really uncomfortable. Sleeves had slimmed down from the big poofs they used to be and usually ended in ruffles around the wrists. I like ruffles! Skirts weren’t as heavy as they used to be and were usually supported by a single small hoop. I think this era is closest to what we would call steampunk today.
  3. In which film do you wish you had played the lead? What would you have brought to the role?
    There are so many to choose from! I love Anne of Green Gables but, then there is Mulan, Jo March (Little Women), Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice), Lisbeth Salander (Dragon Tattoo), Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games), Daenerys Targaryen (even though she is from TV) and Alice (Resident Evil). I think I’ll have to go with Leia Organa (Star Wars) though. I would like to think I’d bring a little more kick butt to the role. It would be an excuse to use my karate skills!
  4. What was your favourite toy when you were a child?
    Do pencil crayons count? I couldn’t live without those. Otherwise, Puppy in My Pocket was my favourite. Collecting them was all sorts of fun. It was like collecting Lego minfigs today. They come individually packaged so you don’t know what you are getting. My sister and I would play with them for hours. I learned to recognize all the dog breeds. I used to draw them all in my sketchbook too. Eventually they came out with kitty versions and bear versions too.
  5. If you could be in the Olympics, what would your sport be?
    I would do snowboarding. I think it would be fun to do Snowboard Cross and Snowboard Slopestyle. Snowboard Cross is the event where boarders race down the hill is small heats. The terrain varies, challenging boarders to maintain control at top speed. Slopestyle is a series of obstacles and boarders get points for tricks on jumps, beams, etc.
  6. If you could cure one human illness or disease, what would it be and why?
    It would have to be cancer. It is devastating. It can happen at any age and it can happen slowly causing a lot of suffering, or it can happen quickly leaving loved ones in shock. Cancer has both genetic and environmental factors, making it nearly impossible to predict or control. Most lives today have been touched by cancer somehow. Lifting the burden of cancer would benefit all of humanity I think.
  7. What is your favourite urban myth, and why do you want it to be true?
    My favourite urban myth is that we only use 10% or some ridiculously small percentage of our brains. The notion that it is possible to activate the brain’s unused potential is based on folklore, not science. In many ways, brain function is still a mystery, but mapping studies have shown that all areas of the brain have a function. I think it would be great if this myth were true. Wouldn’t it be great to be psychic? Or telekinetic? Or even just smarter?
  8. What is your favourite unusual word?
    It was serendipity. It’s a pretty word with an even prettier meaning: a fortunate accident. It’s not that unusual anymore though. Prestidigitation is more unusual, I think. It’s fun to say as well. It means to perform magic.
  9. How would you like your writing to influence the world, or affect those who read it?
    I don’t know about influencing the world, but I’d like it if people who read my words either learned something new, could relate to me or were at least entertained.
  10. What is the best thing about being you?
    The best thing about being me is getting to enjoy my family. I have a wonderful supportive family. Growing up, I thought all families were pretty much like mine. As I’ve gotten older and gotten to know more about other families, I’ve learned to appreciate mine even more. I’m very lucky.

My Nominees

Many bloggers don’t accept these awards. I’m beginning to see why. It’s really hard to decide on nominees! You want your favourite bloggers to know you love their blogs, but you don’t want to leave anyone out or hurt feelings. I’m going to pass this award on to my favourite bloggers that don’t already have it and are likely to answer my questions 🙂
No pressure to participate if you don’t want to or can’t

Amber Dawn’s Non-paper Journal

Carrie Cordero Designs

My Weary Mind

Nerd in the Brain

Normal in Training

Patchwork Journeys

The Realm of The Chaos Fairy

Here are my questions for nominees….

  1. What story does your family tell about you over and over again?
  2. If you could choose anyone, who would you choose as a mentor?
  3. What are the top three places you’d like to go on vacation?
  4. What is one of your grandest achievements?
  5. If you had 30 minutes of free time, how would you spend it?
  6. What is the worst bit of advice you’ve ever taken?
  7. Do you have a recurring dream? What is it about?
  8. What was the last movie you watched? What did you think of it?
  9. What were you doing the last time you had a really good laugh?
  10. Which three words best describe you?

Missing: Sense of Accomplishment

I want to be proud of the things I do well. I should be proud of my accomplishments. We all should, big and small. I have this bad habit discounting the positives. I dwell on the negatives and sweep my accomplishments under the rug, like they don’t count. I always regret it later, much later. Like my M.Sc. for instance. I graduated in 2010. My parents had to drag me to my graduation, I didn’t treat myself at all and I refused to let anyone throw me a party. Isn’t part of being happy savouring the good moments and being proud of yourself? Shouldn’t I at least be celebrating the positives as much as I beat myself up over the mistakes? I regret not celebrating my Master’s degree now. Looking back, it was a big mile stone, but at the time, I felt like I didn’t deserve the celebration.

Last week, I found out that I was awarded a research fellowship from the Quebec government. I was thinking I’m going to do better this time. I got an award, I’m going to be proud of myself and celebrate the accomplishment. At first, I felt relieved. Getting this fellowship meant getting a salary. Things have been difficult financially over the last year while I’ve been in school without an income. This fellowship will give us some breathing room. I thought maybe after the financial stress had lifted a bit, I’d feel proud of myself. I’ve been going through the motions, doing the things you are supposed to do when something good happens. I told all the important people in my life instead of waiting for them to drag it out of me. I’ve posted my good news on my blog and on Twitter. I’ve accepted congratulations from many people and flowers from my supervisor. My husband and I got a giant cupcake over the weekend to celebrate. I feel empty though. I’m missing that sense of accomplishment. I don’t understand why. I’m wondering if my sense of accomplishment is being overshadowed by negative emotions….like stress, anger and frustration.

I think an achievement causes me stress because it raises the bar. When expectations become too high, dissatisfaction sets in. There is more room for failure. It’s probably part of my perfectionist attitude too, nothing is ever good enough. Now that I have a fellowship, it is expected that my research will go forward without a hitch, that I will find something of note and obtain my Ph.D. What if that’s not what happens? What if all I do is prove my hypothesis wrong?

Also, I am angry and frustrated at myself for not getting this fellowship sooner. Since I’ve got it now, I know that I’m capable, why didn’t I work harder to get it sooner. I applied in 2012 and 2013 and did not get the award. This year was my last year to be eligible. If I had gotten it sooner, I would have been funded for longer.

So instead of feeling pride, I’m stressed and mad at myself. Does this make any sense? Does anyone else ever feel this way?

I thought for sure by telling people and taking the time to celebrate would make me feel good about it, but….nothing. It’s like I’m waiting for something in order to be happy, seeking approval or something. Reading this over, it’s starting to sound familiar. Isn’t seeking external approval for relief of that empty feeling a characteristic of low self-esteem?  Like self-esteem, I think pride or feeling accomplished has to come from within. Acknowledgment from others can reinforce the emotion, but if that feeling is not created by you in the first place, the acknowledgement seems empty. It’s looking like my low self-esteem is the root of a lot of my mental health problems.

Starting now, I’m going to make working on my self-esteem a priority.


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