Yesterday, I was walking down the street with a spring in my step and two leaping, fluffy puppies at my feet (and I bag of diet coke and granola clutched under my arm), and I was smiling to myself as I defined my mood in an air of amused bewilderment… I feel content. I feel happy. I feel bliss.
And then, my eyes began to brim with tears as I discovered the fact that I felt…proud. So proud. And that this was a ridiculous thing to cry about in public, of course, but tear ducts know little of discretion (although my legs brought me within my own yards before I began to full-on sob).
The feeling of pride is new to me. It’s easily confused with other feelings, so I never noticed - along with pride there is a sense of ownership, and accomplishment, and investment, and relief. There is the bliss and happiness that comes when one’s hard work pays off and they admire their bountiful harvest. But pride, behind it all, has a sense of deserving: I deserve this. I have always deserved this. I did good, and things are now right in the world, because I am good. Or something like that.
And in the newness of that pride, I felt sad, of course, because if I was always worthy of good things and (subjectively) weighty accomplishment, then I should have known it. In the early days, someone should have told me. The only words on my lips I could manage to seep out were: I had potential. I have potential. I had potential.
And I was proud, and happy, and sad.