Monday, March 05, 2007
Take care.
The self-help gurus in the world talk constantly about how we have to “take care of ourselves”. I don’t know how y’all hear this but I take it to mean things like taking a bath or getting a manicure or eating nutritious food. I’m not that fond of baths frankly.

The more saturated my body becomes with Prozac, the more I am starting to actually understand what “taking care of myself” means. While, yes, eating food that is good for me, getting exercise and treating myself to sparkly nails is certainly a part of all that, it is not actually that alone.

For instance, say a person was a swing set enthusiast. After many years of studying plans for swing sets and taking classes on welding and such, she finally made her own swing set. It took her a whole year to build this swing set and she was very proud of it. At the big gala unveiling of the swing set, her cousin’s best friend, Jack, wants to ride the swing set but he can’t because Jack is too tall. (I am getting somewhere with this.) Her cousin starts saying things like, “I wish Jack could ride your swing set, but he can’t. Too bad you didn’t make this swing set bigger!”

She has a choice here. She could feel really bad. She likes Jack and she and her cousin were really close when they were younger. She could feel really guilty and think, “I could have made this swing set bigger. I was being cheap and selfish when I made this swing set.” Her crowning achievement has suddenly lost a bit of its joy for her because every time she sits on the swing set she thinks, “I could have made this just a little bigger and then Jack would be able to ride it and my cousin wouldn’t be disappointed in me.”

She has another choice. She could remember that she made the swing set for herself. She loves swing sets. She didn’t make it for Jack or her cousin or anyone else’s approval. It’s too bad that Jack can’t ride the swing set but she’s only met Jack once before and he’d never really expressed an interest in swing sets anyway. Maybe, someday, if she and Jack become closer, she’ll build a larger extension on to the swing set but in the meantime, the swing set is hers to enjoy.

I didn’t realize that this meant one was taking care of oneself. I thought that this meant I was a big selfish bitch – but it’s not. It means I have something I love and I have to enjoy that thing that I love without making accommodations for anyone who might ever need something from me.

Many of us have people in our lives, some who are our kin and kith who feel entitled to a piece of everything that is ours because they, say, changed our diaper or knew us way back when. The fact is, it does not give them the right to dictate how we build our swing sets or write our music or who we visit when we are on vacation. It’s my vacation and I’m not going to spend it visiting your great aunt’s grandchildren. Yes, it is too bad.

I think Lily Tomlin said it best, “and that’s the truf.”

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4 Comments:

Blogger miss kendra said...

my new mantra is, "hands off my swingset."

yes.

Blogger Amy Jo said...

I found my way to your blog via Crazy Aunt Purl. Great description of taking back/enjoying something you "own" for yourself and not feeling guilty about failing to please everyone at all times. This is a damn hard lesson to learn.

www.foldedspace.org/cornertable

Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

And dat's da troof - PPPfffbbbbtttt!!! (ya GOTTA have the raspberry at the end)

Amen, mah sistah.

And whatever with those self-help gurus. Most of them don't even have any kind of substantive training. They'd have to be really something special for me to pay any attention...

Blogger goodmamajama said...

You rock my monkey.

And that is saying something.

Love you.

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