light bulb (ding!)

7 04 2005

i’ve always gotten in trouble for offering too often to help people do mundane little things. i’m better than anybody needs to be at triggering people’s inner two-year-old: “i can do it myself!” we’re taught not to need help, after all. we’re taught to be autonomous, to idealize autonomy. we’re taught to give & not to take. & i suppose when you think yourself capable, and somebody (especially somebody who exudes an awful lot of mothering, when you’re someone who really doesn’t need another mother) offers—especially repeatedly—to help carry your burdens, you find yourself questioning if not your capability at least the image of that capability that you project. “is she trying to help because she thinks i can’t do this? of course i can do this! why would she think i can’t do this?!”

i don’t think i offer to help people i don’t think are capable very often. (be it in instances of teaching, proto-parenting, mentoring, whenever.) i mean, if somebody’s got too many things in his/her arms and is obviously just about to fall down the stairs, of course i’ll step in and grab a couple items to forestall a collapse. but in general, i’m an elitist snob about it. this isn’t martyrdom. if i think someone’s an idiot, i’m more inclined to find something else to do & let him/her continue in his/her idiocy. helping in the moment isn’t going to change much anyway. if i think somebody’s brilliant, on the other hand, and i see that he/she has frustrating grunt-work in front of him/her, grunt-work any idiot could do, it’s really hard for me not to step in: i want to free those brilliant hands to propagate more brilliance.

i don’t offer to help because i doubt your ability to do things on your own, i offer because i have a deep faith in your ability to do really great things. i offer because if you let me do the simple, little things—fetch that book when i’m going that way anyway, bring an extra coffee, reach around to throw the trash away—then you’ve let me facilitate your work, let me stretch the energy you have for putting something good into the world. on my dark days, sure, these acts of minutae seem inifintely more productive than anything i’ve got to offer anyway. you’re doing me a favor by letting me do stupid little favors and at least be doing something. on my brighter ones, all self-sacrifice aside, it’s a little bit of world-changing, it’s a seed that might become a mighty tree, it’s a simple testimony to how i value who you are and what you do.

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5 responses

7 04 2005
lavender_liz

you get a gold star!
your awsome!
luv ya!
-L

8 04 2005
burny_md

Personally I’m always willing to have someone help me most of the time. Usually if I don’t want someone to, then its just because I want to be doing what I’m doing. And sometimes those mindless things are just what I wanna be doing. 🙂
That being said, I usually won’t turn down help from a friend if it involves us doing something together. Cause I like being with my friends…especially those short cute red heads. *wink*

8 04 2005
mellorylwindow

I rarely ask for help. It pisses me off if I can’t do it on my own, for whatever the reason.
So often If people the have to do it sneakily, when I’m not paying attention.
I, in turn will do the same. For those who deserve it.

8 04 2005
mellorylwindow

today … I need help typing

8 04 2005
tyra

i’ve totally got your back, man.
🙂
::sneak, sneak::

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