A Little Bit of Wonder is where I journal about the somewhat roundabout way that I have been working to establish a career and a strong sense of self--I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about "direction" and "identity." I have a Master's Degree in Literature, but I'm no longer working as an English Professor; I'm starting the next step in my life as I work to establish a career as a writer in the non-profit sector.

At my companion blog, Little Wonder's Recommended Reading, you will find reviews for both books and other blogs that I enjoy. The two blogs are inter-linked, so you can access my reviews and reading challenges from the sidebar on the left.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The P-Word

In hindsight, I feel like my last few posts make me sound somewhat spoiled and bratty, even though I was attempting to be mostly entertaining, and self-depreciating to a certain extent. The truth is, though, that I’m a lot like Sandy (Olivia Newton-John, see image below) from Grease. I have to admit that I’m a huge princess (see the urban dictionary definition here), which is a fairly unpleasant thing for me to accept.

Up until a few years ago, I had never thought of myself that way before – I’m not the kind of girl to decorate my bedroom or my blog all in pink, or hang fairies and unicorns on the wall, or bedeck things in ribbons (well, except my set of hand-decorated Christmas ornaments). My Lisa Frank phase was relatively short, and I was never into the Disney Princesses (although I will admit to having a Barbie-doll Belle). It took a conversation with my boyfriend (now my husband) to make me realize that I was spoiled and had something of a stuck-up attitude, albeit a (usually) subtle one. I don’t remember why it came up, but he let it slip that my former roommate had called me the P-word. “Princess?” I choked out, incredibly hurt. My ex-roomie was still my friend – or so I had thought. “Don’t take it the wrong way,” he told me. “She didn’t mean it as an insult – just as a fact. And you really are a princess.”

Awesome. Thanks for the heads up. Nothing like having the love of your life throw you into the cold Lake of Self-Awareness.

His comments got me thinking, though – he provided a few examples of my princess-like behavior – and I couldn’t shake the idea that he was right. I asked another one of my roommates whether or not she thought that I was spoiled. “Be honest,” I told her. She looked at me with both sweetness and guilt radiating from her big eyes, then admitted that she agreed with my boyfriend. “I used to mind that you were a princess, but I’ve gotten used to it,” she told me. “It’s not as though you directly say that you won’t do certain chores, or refuse when we ask you. You just sort of…ignore certain things. It’s more your unspoken attitude that can be annoying. You’ve been getting better, though, and helping out more with the cleaning, so…”

Gulp. There you have it – the judgment is in, and the people who love me best are telling me that I’m a spoiled princess. How is this possible? I wondered. How could I be so incredibly unaware of my own personality? Especially when I pride myself on supposedly being so self-aware…

Maybe I wasn’t so much self-aware as self-absorbed. Unfortunately it can be easy to confuse the two.

In the years following this realization, a lot of big things have happened in my life: I’ve gotten married, moved to Washington D.C., gone to graduate school, moved to New York, and learned how to clean a toilet – not necessarily in that order. I’m pretty sure that all of these experiences have helped me become more mature. But if I’m honest with myself, I still act a lot like Sandy.

Fortunately, I have my own Danny. He may not be quite as cool as John Travolta in tight black pants, but my husband is mature, hard-working and determined, committed both to loving and accepting me the way that I am, but also to helping me become a better person. Of course, I don’t want to change for him – I don’t need a makeover from Rizzo to impress my man. I need my husband’s help to change for my own sake. Hopefully, then, with time and the determination to take responsibility for even the unpleasant things in life, I can shed the P-Word all-together.


Tara said...

I think it's good to be honest with yourself about your shortcomings. As long as you're not dressing up like Olivia Newton John and singing your day's events to Jeremy everyday.

Little Wonder Lauren said...

Hah hah, no... I only sing to Jeremy when I've had a particularly good day. He will only tolerate a performance like that about once a week ;-)

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