There was an awards ceremony at school. I went because one of the med school coordinators is changing job titles (a fun game at my school, as this has happened to just about all my favorite folks at school), and I was somewhat sad. As much as we butted heads, I really owe her a big debt of gratitude for her help with my personal statement.
I was thinking though about how it's been such a long time since I've won an award. I'd like to say that I'm envious of the award winners, but I'm not really. Awards don't mean that much to me. I can't take a compliment at all (I've been contemptibly rude upon receiving compliments before. Someone thanked me for doing something, and my reply was that an idiot could've done it). What's more, the work I do isn't anything I'm ever particularly proud of. The thing I do envy is that someone thought of those people for those awards. Y'know, there was some earnest appreciation going on, and it's always nice to be appreciated.
I don't think I'm appreciated at all, but then again, I don't do anything that deserves appreciation. So it all balances out. Well, maybe that's a lie. I did get a call a few days back, thanking me a gift I made, a very earnest thanks. And y'know, I have to admit, I felt a little pride. And maybe that's the thing. Whenever I used to win praise or awards, it was all stuff I was supposed to do. I was winning awards for doing what was expected of me. There's no pleasure in that. But that gift, I made it because I thought that we should have something to remember our times together. And to be thanked so earnestly for doing that, it's hard not to be a little proud.
I've only ever won one award or recognition that I was proud of. I won an award in 8th grade, and it wasn't for intellectual prowess or some ability or skill. It was the most coveted award the school bestowed for exemplifying everything the school stood for. It was an award for being a person the school could point to and say, "This boy here is the reason for our existence, to mold a youth into this kind of man." On that day, and on that day only, was the only time I've ever felt truly proud.