Lately I have been toiling over this manuscript trying to make this May 6th release date. I find myself having the most random thoughts. One that sticks out came just moments ago. I remember being in my grandmother’s living room, in Greenwood, Ms. circa ’84. It had to be Easter. I had fresh pigtails, or plats, and a dress (yes, moving on). My mom’s bestfriend Pee-Wee was over fellowshipping, of course.

I was sitting on grandma’s hard, green couch covered in umbrella plastic. It had these floral design that were sewn in and I remember feeling the ridges under the plastic was likened to hacking into the pentagon’s secure database. The windows were huge. Not like the peepholes we call windows in modern houses. These windows welcomed life. And, when the delta sun shone, as it does often in the Delta, you could blind yourself looking outside.

Pee-wee sat on the arm of the couch talking to my mom. My mom was sitting beside me finishing my hair. As she applied the final barette, Pee-Wee looked at me with a smile, “Aren’t you pretty? Your hair looks nice [middle name].” Without missing a breath or even acknowledging her gaze, I replied, “I know.”

My mom gasped, “Andrea! That’s not what you say when someone gives you a compliment. You say, Thank you.” I took the lesson on modesty. I never quite understood the lesson but I took it because my mother said so. And from that day anytime I receive a compliment I nod, smile and say thank you.

This has always been an issue for me. Primarily because I feel like I should be able to agree or disagree without the social stigma of conceit or insecurity. That day, I felt like I was fly. It doesn’t matter than I was four. I understood that I felt good and therefore I looked good. Of course, I couldn’t articulate that.

Modesty is necessary. However, I feel like modesty is necessary as a hand that removes the bull horn instead of a mouth with no tongue. For those of us who continuously roar on and on about ourselves or achievement, a practice in modesty AND restraint is key.

I have an understanding of the things I am good at. As well, I have an understanding of the things I am not so good at. (yes, at). My intent is not to beat any one over the head with my flaws or successes but when approached with a compliment wouldn’t teaching kids the proper way to articulate their admiration of their strength by default teach them how to become more secure about their faults?

As I continue to think about it, I understand where modesty fits in. I said I know rather curtly. I’m sure to the adults it was if I was saying, ‘I know. I didn’t you need to say it. It’s apparent.” In which case, I can see how the lesson was warranted. If a four year old popped back on me in such a manner, I would look at the spoiled brat with an usher board side-eye.

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