This week, I pulled off an amazing feat…I lived. In case you’ve never stopped to think about it, Mother’s Day, and most holidays, are anything BUT for florists. Days that many others take for granted as relaxing and rewarding, we spend making sure that they are also colorful and smell of an English garden.


This week, I pulled off an amazing feat…I lived.

In case you’ve never stopped to think about it, Mother’s Day, and most holidays, are anything BUT for florists. Days that many others take for granted as relaxing and rewarding, we spend making sure that they are also colorful and smell of an English garden.

But that English garden crap takes effort. A lot of it. Them flowers don’t grow/pick/ship/chop/sell themselves, you know. An impressive amount of work goes into making your day bright, before someone like me is ever involved, then an impressive amount of work from me ensures that everybody gets the proper amount of adoration upon delivery, whether it be hugs or humps.

For my part, I receive the flowers in cardboard boxes, Saran Wrapped to wooden pallets. The week of a holiday, there are several of those pallets, just for me, and they tower about twice my height. I have to break those down, inspecting every box, then haul each box to my department, where I fill buckets with water and preservative, open the boxes, and use a device which can only be described as a flower guillotine to chop them, then put them in the buckets and carry them either to a walk-in floral cooler or out to the sales floor. Sound simple? It is, in theory, but I am a one-woman show and, when there is a floral holiday coming, I do each of those things hundreds of times. Let me tell you, while the flowers might be delicate and beautiful, they add up. This week, to the tune of 3,000 pounds of delicate beauty. 2,200 of those in one day.

Do you know what it’s like to lift, literally, a ton? I do.

This week, I pulled off the hat trick of three twelve hour days in a row. I knew I was pushing it, as I would go home and cry myself to sleep every night from the pain of processing a shload of flowers. Yesterday, like nearly every holiday for the past three years, I woke up sick. This time with a bonus fever blister that makes me look like a Hollywood starlet who only made enough from her first picture to have half of one lip collagened into a sexy duckface.

While chatting with the supervisor of another department Saturday night around closing time, he asked me how things had gone this week.

“Oh my god, I was amazing. I did everything exactly right. I really pulled it out and kicked some ass!”

His facial expression communicated distaste.

“Geez, brag much?”

I asked him how I was SUPPOSED to respond to his inquiry.

“I dunno. Humbly, I guess.”

But I’m not interested in being humble. And what’s wrong with knowing you are good at something and being proud of it?

I thought about earlier this year, when Melissa Leo was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in The Fighter and she launched a full blown campaign to win, including a plethora of talk shows and print interviews, as well as a series of ads that she personally paid for, showing her beautifully dressed and glamorously made up (a 180 degree difference from the role for which she was nominated) with only the word “Consider” at the top and “” at the bottom.

Hollywood sneered. Melissa had already won the Critics Choice award, a Golden Globe, and a SAG award, so wasn’t this overkill? The phrases “attention starved” and “needy” were whispered like rumors of marital infidelity and sexuality. But Leo stood strong. She said she wasn’t landing magazine covers and follow up roles, like her fellow, similarly lauded nominees, and wanted to be “considered”.

In other words, she is a bragger. She knows she’s good and isn’t afraid to say it.

Why are we so uncomfortable with those who toot their own horns? Why do we seem to prefer people who are unsure and lack confidence, until we bestow it on them, after which they insist they are not as great as we say they are?

As a parent, I have raised my children to know just how great they are and not rely on others to build them up and, therefore, have the power to break them down again. I don’t want them seeking validation from other people, which is a vulnerable and, sometimes dangerous, position to be in.

And, after decades of being humble about my own positive attributes, I, too, have thrown off the shackles of letting others mete out my worth. I am old enough, and self aware enough, to know my strengths and weaknesses and be completely forthcoming about both. Whether the world judges it as appropriate or not concerns me very little. It’s freedom to say “I am so good at that thing” and mean it. And believe it.

Because, or in spite of, her campaign, Melissa Leo won the Oscar. Me, I won this fever blister, which I consider a badge of honor for all of the moms who woke up yesterday to beautiful flowers because of me. Could someone else have done it? Maybe. But they wouldn’t have also been really, really great at tap dancing, fourth grade spelling bee champion, and a super good writer.

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

3 comments on Humble/Brag

  1. Donna on said:

    I see nothing wrong with a bit of self promotion. I think the discomfort is that so many ‘braggers’ are seldom willing to admit it when they actually make a mistake.

    I think true humility comes from being person enough to admit when you make a mistake, and try to help correct it.

  2. Why do people think false modesty is such a good thing? Especially for women who are “supposed” to run them selves down all the time. I am very, very glad you bragged!!!

  3. Good for you for getting your brag on. You kicked ass and tooting your horn is absolutely your right.

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