Moby is one of the coolest mechanics in the service department where I work because he can talk about things besides cars. He asked me what kind of car I would like to have, and I told him that if I could have any car I wanted and could afford it, I'd want a Honda CRV (or anything Honda, really, because they last forever if you keep them up). I told him I couldn't allow myself to actually own a bona fide SUV but I liked the Honda version because it was small and sporty, had lots of room but was still low enough to the ground to be car-friendly. I told him to own a SUV would be compromising my soul and various problems I have with suburbia already. He remarked that I was afraid I might wake up one day and be a yuppie, and I agreed with him. This was why I refuse to live in the suburbs of New Orleans, why I refuse to get a car I can't afford, why I try to keep my expenses the same and my income increases. Then the conversation drifted to 401K, his Mustang that he races in differet states, and slowly became too boring to mention here.

I am a proud individual. When we discuss our personal lives at work (which we likely do more often and freely than most office environments), everyone descibes me as fiercely independent. Often I am proud of the wrong things, like my poverty lifestyle and how long I can go before I succumb to the conveniances of middle class life: furniture, central air/heat, multiple modern appliances, a savings account. Out of all the people at work who I talk to, only Moby understands my pride in this. Everyone else says that I am immature and insane to not want what they have or seek to have it sometime soon.

Pride is something that cannot easily be taken from you, and often it's all you have. When things are taken from you or you've been stripped of some prior power or strength due to circumstances, all you may have left is pride, and pride, for me, is what gets me through. Pride is something that allows you to stay the same when the rest of the world changes. Time is marked and defined by pride, for it is the thing you often swallow in order to change, to admit you need help, to let someone come in and make changes to your world. Often, the fight to retain pride is a contest of who holds out the longest, because those who can hold out and stand their ground against the swaying winds of modernity need pride to survive. Being proud means thinking more of yourself and what you want than you think of the status quo. And being proud can often be as effortless as breathing, or at least it should be.

Being proud should not be puffing out your chest and making wild displays of resistence, should not be about making others feel small in your presence. That's called arrogance, or being an asshole. No one I know has yet to call me an asshole, but again I do get called foolish. I often do not get believed. My pride is often with regard to consumerism, and when in public it sadly balloons out to arrogance and cyncism, so I try to stay out of public as much as it can be suffered. By public I mean Wal-Mart or McDonald's, employee appreciation picnics or malls. Any space not marketed for bland communal service is private space in my mind.

Being proud of others is simple; being proud of yourself is complicated, and it will separate you from most of the world. If you want to be proud of the company you keep and desire high standards for yourself....surprise....you automatically divide yourself from most of the world.

You spend a lot of time daydreaming
People have made comment to that effect
Telling you that you're self-absorbed and self-centered
But they don't know, do they
Henry Rollins, I Know You

In my experience, we don't have enough proud people in this country, proud in the sense of not what they have, but what they know. That pride is called competitive consumerism, a talent we are bred to have from birth, a gift that enables us to fit in. It's risky to be proud, because it requires a lot of homework to avoid being hypocritical. It requires a lot of tact to avoid being arrogant, spoiled, narrow-minded, ignorant, and condescending. But it can be done.

What are you proud of about yourself?

Proud (?), a. [Compar. Prouder (?); superl. Proudest.] [OE. proud, prout, prud, prut, AS. pr&umac;t; akin to Icel. pr&umac;&edh;r stately, handsome, Dan. prud handsome. Cf. Pride.]

1.

Feeling or manifesting pride, in a good or bad sense

; as: (a)

Possessing or showing too great self-esteem; overrating one's excellences; hence, arrogant; haughty; lordly; presumptuous.

Nor much expect A foe so proud will first the weaker seek. Milton.

O death, made proud with pure and princely beauty ! Shak.

And shades impervious to the proud world's glare. Keble.

(b)

Having a feeling of high self-respect or self-esteem; exulting (in); elated; -- often with of; as, proud of one's country

. "Proud to be checked and soothed."

Keble.

Are we proud men proud of being proud ? Thackeray.

2.

Giving reason or occasion for pride or self-gratulation; worthy of admiration; grand; splendid; magnificent; admirable; ostentatious.

"Of shadow proud." Chapman. "Proud titles." Shak. " The proud temple's height."

Dryden.

Till tower, and dome, and bridge-way proud Are mantled with a golden cloud. Keble.

3.

Excited by sexual desire; -- applied particularly to the females of some animals.

Sir T. Browne.

Proud is often used with participles in the formation of compounds which, for the most part, are self-explaining; as, proud-crested, proud-minded, proud-swelling.

Proud flesh Med., a fungous growth or excrescence of granulations resembling flesh, in a wound or ulcer.

 

© Webster 1913.

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