As a little girl, I excelled in school. Even before I was old enough to earn A’s, I received E’s (for “Excellent.”)
But there was one area in which I didn’t excel. Look at my second-grade class picture, and you’ll find me on the front row: cat’s-eye glasses, red cheeks, and clasped hands.
I donned my first pair of glasses earlier that school year. But the red cheeks and clasped hands? Those appeared a few minutes before the photo shoot, when two of my classmates told me I pressed too hard when I colored.
The problem (and subsequent sobs) came not because I thought I was a great artist, but because I wanted to do everything right. Hence the tears and red cheeks. Hence the soggy tissue stuffed between those clasped hands. Hence the consistent report- card comments: “Does not receive criticism well.”…
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