“What do you pride yourself in being?” the query is posed.

Not warmly, nor kindly.

No…proddingly.

I restrain my eyes from rolling

As she poises herself with the stance

Of bated breath.

Looking for a writerly profoundness 

Or, more likely, hot air, I guessed.

Well, I tell you, I could have gone obvious.

Waved my banner for all to see.

But, thirty-nine years

And I just now fully realized

There is still very little 

I say I pride myself on…

I should be sad, I suppose,

Decrying all the deep-seated reasons

For my lack of “esteem”.

But all I can think is to question-

Pride myself on?

Oh, I know it’s to my benefit to

Feel good,

Be my own cheering section

And all that,

But, somehow, I can’t ever seem to

Summon up the pom-poms for myself.

I ‘ve cut the self- pep rallys for decades.

I guess it always just

Sounded arrogant to me somehow…

To say, “Rah, rah” to moi?

Maybe it is just the ol’ lack of parental love

Nagging at my door again.

Maybe it still just feels foreign.

Maybe everyone I ever knew that did

Pump themselves up like that

Was a terrific poser and little more.

Or it could be just the phrasing itself

That gets stuck on the 

Roof of my mouth.

Something in my years of study

About how “pride goes before destruction”, perhaps.

After all, those old proverbs still ring home,

Appealing to the (overly) mindful parts of me…

The pieces that beg of me to

Think.

So…I do think.

And think…

Vast pools of collective ponderings

From which should rise the finest philosophies- 

Though I venture her taste is more

Pseudo, suited-up blatherings…

She quirks a brow and frowns a bit impatiently.

As if it should never be hard to toot one’s own horn.

I find myself at first discomfited,

Bouncing to annoyed, 

But, finally, landing on a trifle amused.

For I know she doesn’t really want to know.

Not in the sense I could tell her, that is.

Where she is stuck on shallow, star-status stuff,

Making me up to something

I don’t even aspire,

I crave swimming in the deep,

Away from the crowd,

Left to my own desires.

But, she waits, and it seems only fair to reply.

So…at last, with a shrug and a half a smile, I evenly say,

“Being myself. Not much for pride, 

Bragging is not how I ride.

But I find nothing so fine

As just being myself.”

And I turn and leave her a little startled,

Just a bit open-mouthed,

But perhaps a little deeper in thought…

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