I have learned over time that my thoughts written are more powerful than keeping them in my mind. I usually start on track but then my mind wanders like a lost dog, or like how I feel when I go to Wal Mart late at night. When I write, my thoughts are sharp. My direction is more clear and if I start going off on a tangent, I can look back at my previous thought process and re-focus, delete and edit.
I was asked to have an interview in about an hour to be in a “United Way” video and possibly a commercial. I was also asked to speak for a minute tomorrow at the “Women In Philanthropy” meeting. Both requests were for me to share my feelings of sharing where I came from and why I believe in being an advocate for my community. I am flattered at the request but at the same time, a little intimidated. I know I will cry on both accounts in front of people I don’t know. Part of me thinks this is the reason I was asked to do it! I feel very raw when I express certain parts of me. One of those being community.
I never thought I would be this way. I guess it has gradually happened over time and experience. I used to scoff at the PTA presidents thinking, “Who do they think they are to need extra things to do, aren’t we all busy enough?” Maybe I was a bit threatened that they were spending time doing things that I didn’t believe I was capable of at the time. I think that part of me just didn’t want to. I was in survival mode at that time being a young mom, foster parent, step mom, and just busy with my husband trying to find a way to feed my family. I was just trying to make it day to day with limited (or no) funds, and little support.
The support was there, but I was not tapping into it. When I feel weak mentally, physically, or spiritually, I tend to clam up. I stay within myself more and have less to give. I still do that, even with my blog. Some days I feel like I have nothing to give. As I look back over the years I realize that I was giving. I was doing everything I could to raise my little family during a very tough time and I shouldn’t feel guilty for reaching out more than I did. I also realize that I wish I would have opened myself up a little bit more to help. I should have dared to talk more about my problems instead of pretending like everything was “normal”. What is normal anyway? It is a word I have come to dislike. There is no such thing, kind of like eating only 1 Doritos.
NO. SUCH. THING.
We are all different, every situation is different, every day is different, and every experience is different. There is no normal, so I don’t believe in comparing myself or anyone else to it.
Now that I have a little more perspective and can look back over the past 14 years of marriage, I can see that it was the times that our family gave that we were the happiest. The times when we didn’t pay all of our bills, but used some of it to give others the money. The times when we didn’t buy what we needed, but filled up our friends gas tank, and the times we shared our time and gave service. These were the times that have always brought the most happiness.
I don’t believe in waiting until we are successful to help others. I believe helping others propels us to be successful.
Over time the way I have helped in my community has changed but every way I help conditions me to be a more grateful, happier person filled with purpose and meaning. I believe that anyone who feels depressed or lonely can change that by forcing themselves out of their comfort zones and making the world around them a better place. The definition of that is different for everyone, but we can all help in our own way. Maybe it’s a phone call or a visit. Maybe it’s donating time, money, or resources. Maybe it is just surviving at this time in your life and helping within your own home. I believe there is a time and place for everything, but I would encourage you to take a good look at yourself (as I always need to) and stretch just a little bit. I will be stretching to speak tomorrow and I am nervous, but if I can help just one person out, it will be worth it.