If you are not proud For who you are, for what you say, for how you look; If every time you stop To think of yourself, you do not see yourself glowing With golden light; do not, therefore, give up on yourself. You can get proud.
You do not need A better body, a purer spirit, or a Ph.D. To be proud. You do not need A lot of money, a handsome boyfriend, or a nice car. You do not need To be able to walk, or see, or hear, Or use big, complicated words, Or do any of those things that you just can’t do To be proud. A caseworker Cannot make you proud, Or a doctor. You only need more practice. You get proud by practicing.
There are many many ways to get proud. You can try riding a horse, or skiing on one leg, Or playing guitar, And do well or not so well, And be glad you tried Either way. You can show Something you’ve made To someone you respect And be happy with it no matter What they say. You can say What you think, though you know Other people do not think the same way, and you can keep saying it, even if they tell you You are crazy.
You can add your voice All night to the voices Of a hundred and fifty others In a circle Around a jailhouse Where your brothers and sisters are being held For blocking buses with no lifts, Or you can be one of the ones Inside the jailhouse, Knowing of the circle outside. You can speak your love To a friend Without fear. You can find someone who will listen to you Without judging you or doubting you or being Afraid of you And let you hear yourself perhaps For the very first time. These are all ways Of getting proud. None of them Are easy, but all of them Are possible. You can do all of these things, Or just one of them again and again. You get proud By practicing.
Power makes you proud, and power Comes in many fine forms Supple and rich as butterfly wings. It is music when you practice opening your mouth And liking what you hear Because it is the sound of your own True voice.
It is sunlight When you practice seeing Strength and beauty in everyone, Including yourself. It is dance when you practice knowing That what you do And the way you do it Is the right way for you And cannot be called wrong. All these hold More power than weapons or money Or lies. All these practices bring power, and power Makes you proud. You get proud By practicing.
Remember, you weren’t the one Who made you ashamed, But you are the one Who can make you proud. Just practice, Practice until you get proud, and once you are proud, Keep practicing so you won’t forget. You get proud By practicing.