“I’m proud of you,” the voice of my soon-to-be-ex-husband praised me.
I stared at the phone dispassionately. Was he really going to have the nerve to say those words to me right before our divorce was finalized?
I hung up the phone shortly afterwards, and I could feel fury begin to grow inside of me. But why was I so thoroughly angry at one small sentence?
“I’m proud of you.” It can come with a myriad of emotions.
When I hear it from someone who has known me through my journey, it is a compliment, a celebration of my growth and accomplishments. They are telling me they know how far I’ve come from where I started, and that they know my struggles and the work I have put into something. They have watched my failure and seen me turn that failure into new beginnings, into success at long last. It is said with the love of someone who knows the struggles inside of me and accepts me despite my failings and the moments of ugliness instead of beauty, someone who has supported me along the way. In truth, they helped me reach my goals by being there for me. That someone who helped on my journey is proud of what I’ve overcome is a powerful and amazing thing to hear from someone I respect.
“I’m proud of you.”
When I hear it from someone who has known me but refused to acknowlege my growth it becomes a tragic irony. What exactly does someone have to be proud of when they haven’t truly seen the struggle? Can they really take pride in my accomplishments when they weren’t part of helping me get there? I don’t think so.
My anger at my ex husband can be explained by his absence. He wasn’t there to see me struggle. He wasn’t there to watch me work hard and overcome difficulty. How dare he take credit for having a presence in my life that helped me accomplish something? If anything, he created emotions I had to struggle against and put obstacles in my path. I succeeded despite rather than because of him. An apology would have been more appropriate than taking credit for any imagined assistance given.
“I’m proud of you.”
It can be jarring to hear those words from a stranger. Why would someone who hasn’t seen my journey be at all proud? Is it because I am a female Maker in a male dominated craft? That’s hardly something to be proud of me for. It is more just a fact I accept. Is it because I work hard to create quality? That’s hardly something a stranger should take pride in. Rather, they should appreciate it since it will mean their purchase will likely have a long life.
As a submissive female Maker, I often feel at a disadvantage when vending alone. Most of the other kink vendors seem to be predominantly male, or at least it strongly seems that way. When my male partner is in the booth with me, most people who don’t know us begin by assuming he is the builder, a misconception he quickly corrects. It can be challenging enough to feel both respected and comfortable in those environments without feeling as though someone else has stolen some of the credit for my accomplishments. Having someone claim pride in my accomplishments gives me the feeling that they are claiming some sort of credit for what I have worked for. The only people who get credit for my work are my partner, who has supported and encouraged me on my path, even when it seemed silly for him to do so, and the man who patiently answered my questions and guided me on my journey, even going so far as to mail me tools and materials to help me learn from afar. For either of them to say they are proud is a moment of blissful happiness, a celebration when I allow myself to reflect upon my journey.
That is neither to be taken nor given lightly.
About the Author
Christmas bunny has been exploring kink since she was legal to do so. Her serious writing started in college, where she accidently got some of her papers published in educational journals. She has recently expanded her writing to include her kink journey. She began writing in the physical realm, but shed some of her inhibitions and began sharing those entries with others. She now keeps an active blog of her personal growth and her relationship with her Master / Daddy Dominant and writes helpful educational posts on a variety of subjects.