Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Soapbox of Perception - Why Bother?
In one of her many attempts at a diary, Mom wrote - “I remember coming to the awesome conclusion - at the ripe old age of ten - that any real pain or sorrow a person endures has to be self-inflicted and the same holds true for happiness”.
While I agree with the basic sentiment of that statement, I also know there are some sorrows one is not responsible for and can do nothing about - except not love, not hope, not live. Because we live in a world of people, we are affected by everyone’s choices. And it seems inevitable that the events we can do nothing about are the ones we feel deepest, the ones we spend the most time thinking, “I should have. . .”; while the things we could own up to, we back away from, looking around desperately, hoping for someone else to step up.
Today I watched an episode of NCIS in which Abby Shuto spends some time regretting something she was unable to fix. She says, and I paraphrase, “But what if I’m not enough? Why should I keep trying?” I’m pretty sure everyone who is devastated at the thought of not being good enough has been to that low point of wanting to just sit in the park and watch the puppies play until the sun sets and we can fade quietly away. Of feeling so ineffective, so useless, so not enough, that the question “why bother?” really feels valid.
In television land, this is often when they pull out the “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment, and we get to see all the things we’ve done that have helped others. Which is valid. But does it really motivate us to keep moving forward? To keep trying? To keep bothering?
Sometimes no. That was then. That was that person. That Abby. That Lila. That you. This person, this person is different. This person has been hit a little harder. This person has had to admit to the unfathomable disconnectedness in others, to the continuous difficulties in life. This person is tired.
So why bother? Really?
There are two answers, happily, at least for me. I say happily, because when one answer doesn’t work, the other is often enough to get me back into motion. And I can’t say which answer is first or second. I’m not exactly sure which would be most effective presented first or second. So we’ll do the obvious one first.
Why bother? Well, what else are we going to do? I mean, really? We’re the type of people who do bother. It is innate. It’s not something we learned, or something we were taught. It’s something we have despite society, despite laws and television shows and heartbreaks and moments of despair. We are people who try. Who do. Who keep seeing the light even when we’re blindfolded in a coal cellar. We are people who bother and the only way to be true to ourselves, to be happy in ourselves, to be the best selves we can be, is to keep bothering. Keep trying. We don’t know how to do anything else, and we’d be more miserable not trying. So we try.
The other answer includes vulgarities.
Why bother? Because I’ll be damned if I let those bastards win. I have survived grade school and high school with my self respect and my individuality in tact. I have survived fast food and retail customer service, and I still think there’s hope for humanity. I have survived a car crash and a heart attack. I have survived Democratic and Republican presidents. I have survived the turn of the century and the end of the Mayan calendar. I am still here and I will not bow under that depression and fear and ugly muck that the nasty people out there are trying to shovel over my life and my positivity.
So, yes. I am going to keep going. I am going to keep trying. I am going to cry and scream and rage and pull the covers over my head and probably suck my thumb. Then I am going to get up again and try again and keep on aiming for happiness over pain and suffering.
We are who we are. And we will bother because, well, frankly, because we’re better than the ones who don’t.
I hope you are bothering to have a great day.