I’m completely immodest.
I spent a good twenty minutes choosing between the titles Concerning Modesty and The Importance of Being Modest. It’s really a tough job writing this blog, you know. I have to figure out who to steal from. Fun Fact: the current title comes from a work about the Natural History of Iceland. Chapter 72 is called “Concerning Snakes,” and it has one sentence: “No snakes of any kind are to be met throughout the whole island.” News From Nowhere, William Morris’s utopian work, similarly references this gem (and I stole it from him).
So yeah, no modesty of any kind can… be met throughout… That kind of fell apart. Luckily, I’m awesome.
Modesty means something kind of weird to me. Modesty is not being proud of the things that you do in your life. I’ve been told that it simply means not bragging about it, but I don’t buy that.
I remember, back in October, I was sitting in a coffee shop plugging away at my business while trying not to think of the big essay I would have to write when I’d get back from my break. My break was going to consist of buying a nice new dress shirt and sparkles for my Vampire Halloween costume. That’s right, I was a Twilight vampire. As I was walking back from the shop I realized that, in the half hour I was gone, my business had actually made me more money than I’d spent on the new shirt. I remember sending a friend a text along those lines.
By the definition of immodesty being bragging, I’m pretty sure I broke some rules. But how was it bad? I shared my excitement with my friend. Every once in a while I get exciting texts or emails from friends, like the one Cookie sent me today, that make me happy for them but are really full of things they’re proud of. While they don’t outright say, “Check out how amazing I am,” they definitely don’t hide their excitement, their pride, or the things that such successes show about their character.
I’d much rather get a text about a friend succeeding, which inspires me to accomplish things myself, than get a text along the lines of, “Hey,” “I’m bored,” or some other soul-sucking message. You are the average of your five closest friends, and I’d like my five closest friends to be bragging all the time. Daddy needs a yacht.
Modesty is not being proud of yourself. One of the most dangerous things I can imagine is losing my sense of pride. If I wasn’t proud of the things I did, I wouldn’t do them. And if I didn’t do the things I was proud of, I’d be a sad, sad panda.
“I knew I was a winner back in the late sixties. I knew I was destined for great things. People will say that kind of thinking is totally immodest. I agree. Modesty is not a word that applies to me in any way – I hope it never will.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger