Sunday, April 17, 2016

Maybe I'm a Vulcan?

I'm sure my geek husband will be a fan of the Star Trek reference here, but this is something I was thinking about the other day while I was painting my guest room.  That's how things often happen, I'm working on something that is relatively mindless and can let my brain wander into lots of other topics while I work.  Roll some paint, think about how absurd it is that some cultures used to believe in human sacrifice.  Roll some more paint, think about how easily hula dancers move their hips and wonder if it was hard to learn.  Role some more paint, and so on and so forth.  This weekend I was thinking about myself, because sometimes I'm self absorbed, and my life and some observations made by other people and why things are as they are.

Basically, I have a habit of taking care of a lot of things in my home and in my life.  Things that others may not think about, or things that may go unnoticed.  Things that I think people would only really remember to do themselves if I wasn't around to take care of it.  Sometimes, that's exhausting, because it's a lot of day in and day out cycle of work that makes your life feel like there's not enough down time.  For example, I cook dinner almost every single night, and after dinner I'm also the one who does the dishes.  In most households, the person who cooks doesn't have to clean up and in so many ways that sounds like SUCH a luxury to me, but it's just not the reality of my living situation.  I've argued with my husband about it a million times, and he always says things like "If you don't want to do the dishes, don't do them.  Just leave them.  Someone will do them eventually.  Your problem is they don't get done on your timeline".  My challenge with a statement like that is that, yes, eventually they will get done.  But probably not before I have to use them again to cook and I won't be able to.  So, if I don't do them, no one will do them in a timely manner, and I'll just be unable to cook after a day or two because there will be no clean dishes left.  I suppose I could leave everything sitting and just wait for someone to step in and do it, but I feel like that's more frustrating and stressful for me than just doing the stupid dishes.  I'm annoyed that I have to do them every night, particularly when I'm cooking food I won't eat (I'm picky, I don't always eat what's on the menu for the week) and then washing dishes for the food I didn't eat.  It gets annoying.  In the end, though, the reality doesn't change that the next day I will need to cook again and I will need clean dishes and if I leave the dishes in the sink overnight, no one else is going to take the initiative to do them.  So I do them.  I still don't love it, but I've started to take a sort of Vulcan-esque approach to my thinking about the situation.  I have three other people in my family, and they all need food every night.  They need clean dishes to eat that food off of.  They outnumber me.  Maybe I need some down time, but I'm only one person.  So, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.  This means I do the dishes.

When I look at my life on the whole, that's how I've always handled things, really.  I've been called selfish before, sometimes by people who are closest to me and I always feel like they should know better.  I have spent my whole life doing what's best for the most people.  I always did things with my siblings in mind and made sure that their needs were handled growing up before mine.  I have supported friends repeatedly through rough patches, when in reality what I really needed was support myself for my own challenges I faced, but I never asked for it.  Their needs came first.  I've been selfish at times, I'm sure.  I actually hate the idea of being seen as selfish, because I try so hard to be selfless, but I'm sure there are times when I've been a bit of a petulant brat about things.  On the whole, though, I typically put the needs of the many first, and the thing is, I'm not bothered by that.  I mean, sure, the dishes thing kind of pisses me off sometimes, but on the whole I don't mind that I'm never first.  I feel like people often think I should be bothered by the lack of balance there is a lot of the time, but I'm usually not.  And when I am, it's typically when it comes to something dumb like chores, because I just hate being the only one doing daily chores while everyone else gets to sit around and do once a week chores.  Yeah.  That sucks.  But, it's not like it's a deal breaker in my world.  There's a piece of me that actually LIKES making sure everyone is taken care of.  At the end of the day, I bring a lot of it upon myself by not telling other people they have to do things differently.  I don't think the chore thing would change, since I've already had a million arguments about that, but I could tell people I need more support, or that I can't make sure everyone is taken care of all the time.  I just don't really want to.  I think that might be a problem from someone else's point of view, but it's true.

I think that the only time it really becomes a true problem is when I need other people, and they're just not there for me the way I would be for them.  That's hard.  That's when I want to become a selfish person and say "I would do it for you!" but I've also come to understand that it's often expecting too much and that I'm seeing the world as I am, not as it is.  Just because I would do something for someone doesn't mean I should expect the same in return.  That's been a long and hard lesson to learn, but it's also true.  I've also learned that while it's often easy for people to give a gift card, or a meal, or a donation to something, the hardest gift to give up is their time.  And sometimes that's what people need, it's your time.  I know I've had friends who have needed my time from me and I've made that work, but it's been a struggle on occasion and it's often done with a sacrifice on my part of something else I may have wanted or needed to do.  But, it wasn't easy.

And that's where the Vulcan part of me comes in.  I've always just been like "Well, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" and that's who I am.  And, I guess, I kind of like that about myself.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I really needed to read this today. That is the EXACT fight with my husband, constantly, not just the dishes (I'm the only one who does them, ever) but all the cooking. He literally won't eat if I don't cook for him. So, I need this Vulcan mindset as well! Good perspective. Spot on with me right now.