I’m a human? Shut your mouth!

I’m not feeling well today. I spent most of the day on the couch in a state between “sleep and wake” as we say in Trinidad. I sneezed about 50 times and breathed through both nostrils only when I was in the scalding hot shower. <achoo> Am I in the frame of mind to be writing this? Ummmmm…no. <achoo> Thankfully, I don’t get sick too often, besides my soul-crushing migraines, so I take it in stride when I do. Being a single parent, the show has to go on, sick or not. So I go on. <sniffle>

I’m affiliated with a non-profit organization and though I try to leave the group, I always get drawn back in. This weekend, I thought, just once I’d like to attend an event and do nothing, but enjoy myself. If you’re the kind of person who has a reputation for being reliable, you know what I mean! People expect you to do things, They call you when they’re in a jam. They give you that look that says, “I need help and I know you’ll help me.” As I climbed up on chairs to hang decorations and ran out to get last-minute supplies, I thought, why do I do this? Maybe someone else should do this.

To those of you reading this who can’t say “no”, you know why we do it. People rely on us and we can’t let them down. We go that extra mile and do things that the ordinary person wouldn’t do. Funnily enough, while I was writing this, I thought about a co-worker I had who would always volunteer to help out with things, but was very clear as to what she was helping with, “I’ll help you X and Y, but I can’t help you with Z.” She left it like that, unapologetically. I actually admire her ability to set boundaries and not overextend herself. How do you feel about her? Do you think she’s selfish and/or lazy or do you think she’s generous for helping out with what she could?

I want to sometimes give the bare minimum, which is not a bad thing, it just means that it’s all that I can give. It’s interesting. At one event, I was asked to bring a fruit platter, but I ran out of time and didn’t get it and felt guilty the whole time I was there because I didn’t do what I said I would do. Not one person asked me about the fruit – there was SO much to eat. Things just went on and I was not reproached, but to this day, it sits on my heart, heavy and accusatory. I’d gotten accustomed to giving more than was expected – being a superhero when all that’s required was to be a regular person.

Sometimes being a regular person is okay. Sometimes helping out for an hour during an event is okay even if you were asked to also come early or leave late. Especially around Christmas time when perfection seems like the only way, it’s hard to just do what you can and not what is expected. Sometimes a gift card to the mall is all you can do when you know it will take you two months and hundreds of dollars to find that perfect present! There are times when you can do more than is asked of you, sure! There are also times when you just have to do what you can. Put in a respectable effort and call it a day. I’m not advocating mediocrity, I’m advocating reasonable expectations of self.

As I sit here sniffling and sneezing, I feel like a regular person. There are dishes in the sink and Kidlet is watching hockey instead of being tucked into bed. I’m not perfect and I know that, and the show must go on! <achoo>



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