Friday, February 29, 2008

Drain My Blood


I used to agree to a lot of things I didn't want to do, provided they were far enough in the future that I could fool myself into thinking my feelings would change by then, that I'd be struck by a sudden burst of energy or that I would want to sit through a children's piano recital, that I would in effect become a different person. I'd say, That sounds like fun, and it wouldn't, but I didn't' know how to say no. The day would come all too quickly and there I'd be, stuck in hell with no stop, drop, and roll available, and I would think, I'll never do this again, only to get suckered into it again and all too soon. But much has changed over the last few years and my new rule is that I don't agree to things that I wouldn't want to do tomorrow. If I could do the activity tomorrow, would I still say yes? More often than not, the answer is no. And so I try to go with that plan now.

Many of us are taught to be airline stewardesses for everyone (to steal from an Anne Lamott lecture I heard years ago), making sure everybody has what they need to be comfortable. Are you okay, are you fine, do you need me to drain my blood for you to feel better? That sort of thing. I'm all for generosity and compassion; it's the thing that keeps the world from being a hellish place. But if you can't say no and can't take care of yourself, you deplete yourself of these very qualities, of your ability to give out of desire and love instead of duty. That's not to say that sacrifice doesn't have its place. It does. But as for the long flights, I think people have a duty to take good care of themselves. If you want to give them the whole can, that's fine. But most people waste it, leaving you with even more of a mess in the long run.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The most powerful tool most of us possess is our own voice." Joyce Maynard

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: Mind, Body, and Soul Joss Stone

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Leap Year!

14 comments:

Brian in Mpls said...

I am def. not part of the friendly skies..lol

Anonymous said...

Good post Michelle. Neither ultimate evil or good is healthy for us. Aristotle spends a great deal of time arguing the middle path in Ethics as the key to a happy life.

Jeannie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
robthefob said...

The model of holiness that has been laid out for women through the centuries (submission, self-denial and sacrifice, etc.) comes under fire in feminist theological critique. Rightly so. But the collective 'we' you write about is really the collective feminine--at least that was the underlying feeling I go from your post. Boys and men are generally not taught to be airline stewardesses (at least I wasn't!); this is more or less a burden that women have to bear: making sure you don't throw the baby (Self) out with the bathwater. Cheers and Happy Friday!

robthefob said...

ps: do love anne lamott, though...one of my favs!

Cheri said...

Yeah this post speaks of my day today. Cute photo!

Anonymous said...

Lestat said: What's wrong with draining blood?

Anonymous said...

Bela said: I don't drink, wine.

Anonymous said...

Nosferatu said: Num nums.

Rob Hopcott said...

Love your blog and its very distinctive style.

I'll be back :-)

Charles Gramlich said...

That first part surely hits home. I agree to stuff all the time in the future. Then it all comes home to roost at the same time.

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