What counts?

I feel like I wear a mantle of shame. I don’t do enough to help people. My life is small and selfish and focused on my problems instead of problems that are bigger than me.

Noah told me yesterday about a specific subset of pagans who believe that activism in the political/social arena is the same thing as spirituality. Yeah. That kind of sounds right. My religion is you and I need to serve you in order to be a good supplicant. I try to serve you as best I can. I know I fail more often than I succeed.

But when I feel like I do nothing nothing nothing for humanity… what counts?

I have a complicated relationship with my children. They are me-not-me. Does working for them count as doing something for someone other than myself or is it self serving?

I can’t actually count the number of people who have told me that they have felt inspired or educated or impacted by me. It’s not a small number. I tend to get a handful or so a year. Some years I get more, “I learn so much from you” than other years.

People have told me they are still alive because of me. How does that figure into the count?

Plants help everyone be healthier and better able to breathe. I’ve put a whole bunch in the ground. Does that count as doing something that is bigger than me? I now basically host bird conventions in my yard. I get all the representatives in my neighborhood showing up to fight it out over the bounty of food in my yard.

My actual human neighbors knock on my door to ask for advice and help. I give it when asked. Does that count?

I’m not entirely sure the problem is that I “don’t do anything for anyone but myself” so much as I think I have a difficult time perceiving anything I do as counting towards adding value to the world. Aren’t I just a drain?

I’m really not.

I helped a nice old lady pass her driving test. She hadn’t ever taken it in English before. I helped her study the book and practice what they were asking her. It wasn’t my “job” it was just something my neighbor needed help with. That’s a real thing. That’s helping someone.

I know that in the fullness of my life I want to do more. But I’m not doing nothing.

This is weird and complicated. I want to be a big fish in a very small pond. I’m not interested in trying to be nationally important. I want to be important to a small group of people. Aren’t I already there though? I’m very important to a few dozen people in the world. Isn’t that the right size of pond for me? I don’t know.

I feel ashamed of myself for feeling like I have more help to give than this. It’s a weird feeling. I don’t think I should feel ashamed of this. I fear it is too much like hubris. Too much like being the tallest stalk of grass in the yard so you get cut down fastest.

Is this part of where women feel like staying at home isn’t the same thing as having a job? I would be miserable and feel like I was wilting in the vast majority of jobs out there. I would feel like not spending time with my kids was wasting my life.

Then why do I need to focus away from them so damn bad? What is it already?

I keep reading these impassioned articles from women earnestly explaining why staying at home is the end of a happy life. Oh.

You will never again be treated like you might be good for anything. I’m not sure the problem is with staying at home. I think the problem might be the perception of mothers. We don’t do anything all day, right?

I gotta say: if you are a stay at home mom and your kids believe you “do nothing” then you need to teach those little snot waffles a lesson.

If someone implies that I’m lazy or do nothing my children are all over that like white on rice. “Don’t you call my mother lazy! She never stops working! Be quiet! She should rest more!” That’s right.

Sometimes I feel like a huge asshole because I will not be taken for granted. Nope. If you are going to benefit from my work you are going to hear about how hard I am working. In detail. And you will show appreciation or I will stop doing this work and You Don’t Want That, Now Do You?

Is this the same thing as self esteem?

What counts as doing something for other people? I do some selfish work. I do some self-maintenance work. I do a lot of work for other people. When does it count? When is it enough? When have I bought my right to keep breathing and eating and needing resources?

Maybe figuring out how to change that perception is the kind of thing I could work on in therapy instead of spending that time fighting about how I should take a series of drugs that make me feel like death? Just a suggestion since I’m paying through the nose for the time spent.

Tomorrow is the Easter party. We didn’t max out RSVPs. Phew. Not quite 30 kids. It’ll be great.

Why don’t I mentally count the fun that little kids have at my parties as part of doing something for people? Because really I throw these parties so my inner child can finally be invited to a party.

I am allowed to stand near happy, excited people if I provide enough stimulation, attraction, and diversion.

I’m so happy when my friends tell me that their children bug them for months, “When is Krissy’s party?” I love you too. I’m very happy you want to come. I hope that my surprises for this year are as fun as I think they are. At 10am tomorrow there is a 5% chance of rain. By 1pm it is up to a 65% chance of rain. Hunt fast, children. Ha.

Ok. I have a child laying on the floor tapping her toes at me. She wants me to come look at the horses she transformed into unicorns and this whole “Mom staring at the computer” thing is super annoying, apparently.

I love you all. Even those I don’t.

2 thoughts on “What counts?

  1. Valia

    When my educational & career focus was on becoming a counselor for children/young adults or teaching, my thoughts always focused one accomplishing 1 goal.
    If I made a positive difference in 1 persons’ life – then my career was worthwhile.
    I had 1 counselor when I was in high school in Phoenix who did that for me & I really wanted to be that 1 person for some other kid who needed it as badly as I did.
    For better or worse, my life took a different career direction … but I still like the idea of trying to make a positive difference in 1 persons’ life.

    YOU have accomplished that goal so many times in so many ways for more people than you may ever know about.

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