Monday, January 10, 2011

Self Matters

“Self matters,” said the young speaker. He was only 30 and we, his listeners, were all retirees. Now, what can a young guy tell people twice his age what they don’t know about life? Not much, I thought.

We were willing to listen, though. Well, at least most of us were. Two of my friends declared they’d rather be at the mall, so they upped and left. I couldn’t blame them because the speaker began with an extended story about his life. He could have at least summarized it. Too much information, I thought.

Anyway, let’s skip back to the topic: self matters. You’re supposed to put yourself on the list. You’re important and you should do what you really, really, really (speaker's stress) want to do and not what had been programmed into you.

I find that's easier said than done because what I’d like to do may not be on my neighbours’ list of things-that-make-us-happy.

For example, my idea of heaven is lazing all day, curled up with a great book and only grabbing a sandwich or three when the tummy is complaining. But Mr. Hubby will definitely not approve and I know he’ll be in my face making not-so-subtle sounds and hints that I should be preparing his meal or scrubbing the toilet. Or he’d remind me—again!-- that  when he said ‘get lost’ he didn’t mean to places between the pages of a book.

If I stood my ground and threw that ‘self matters’ thing into his face, we’d have a mini war that would certainly disrupt the peace in our neighbourhood. And might even earn us a mention in the paper. Talk about being the talk of the town for the wrong reason. Hah!

If I’ve problems standing up to Mr. Hubby, you can imagine how intimidating the rest of the world is.

People come up to me with all kinds of self-serving suggestions and ideas, albeit dressed as polite questions: Can change the broken zipper of my shorts or not? (He stands between me and the TV which is showing ‘Hidden Cities’ the only show I watch.)

Or, ‘Can you drive me to the hospital or not?’ He slumps and limps to the front door, hyper-ventilating all the way. And I’ve just painted three fingernails, seven more to go.

Or, ‘Can you look after my boy, ah? I’ve a lunch date with this blahblahblah…Ah Boy, tell Aunty if you want to pooh-pooh so Aunty no need to wash your pants, ah.’ The toddler—last night’s sleep still on his unwashed face—is already deposited at my door with pillow, blanket and a day’s supply of milk.

My point is, if I subscribed to ‘self matters’ I’d have to be a super-bitch. Unfortunately, I’ve been programmed to ‘serve’ people. It may not be something I enjoy doing—especially when there’s hardly an audible ‘thank you’ from the recipients of my good deeds—it’s just something that needs to be done.

I know some of us are born to be like Mother Theresa. I’m just not one of them. However, I don’t think anyone could honestly describe me as a bitch. Well, may ten could. I’m sure you’ve come across such people. No? Even when you dared to stand up for yourself and say ‘no’ to their demands?

All pictures from Google Images


  1. Hi Tina that topic Self Matters had really stirred up your bitter inner feelings that you had experienced in life. Well, forget the past but look forwards to the present and the future.


  2. Andrew, so sorry if I gave the impression that I'm bitter. I was trying to be funny! Life is too short. Don't use up precious time to dwell on regrets or bad memories.

  3. Hmm..I don't have a problem putting myself on the list. The thing I find difficult is achieving that balance; between doing stuff that matters to me AND fulfilling my responsibilities as a mommy n wife. :)

  4. Good for you, Lizee! Life should be like that. You are a happier person when you take care of your needs. Then you can spread the happiness around. I'm learning to do things I enjoy without feeling dreadful or guilty.

  5. Maybe it helps if you stop labelling putting yourself first as being bitchy? :-)

    Anyway this reminds me of a story told about a grandmother who has to look after her grandkids. Recently my mom and her met up and she complained how stuck she is at home, can't go anywhere do anything but babysit - worse, she used to work before she retired (and become a babysitter, so I can imagine her "depression")

    Another case of "self matters" problem :-)

  6. I can understand how that grandmother feels, Jewelle. That's how I feel and I don't even have grandkids! Catering to other people's needs and being taken for granted is so demoralizing. But it's difficult to un-learn what have been programmed into young minds. Like I said, I'm learning and at this age I don't care if I lose some impossible 'friends' along the way.