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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What I Can't Do (A TMI Post)

The other week I went to a wonderfully informative conference about women and education. Most the classes were taught by women with high degrees or exceptional skills. They all stressed how important education is, and how a woman can do anything she puts her mind to.

I loved the message. I loved the classes. I walked out of my last class feeling ready to take on the world with my stack of notes and my positive mental attitude. And I really needed to pee.

Ready for the TMI part? Okay, here it goes...

Peeing is a very normal bodily function. Everyone does it, and for this reason most buildings have a bathroom of some form so you can perform your bodily functions in private because - dude!- we do not need to see that!

So there I was, hustling down the hall at the conference thinking "I can do anything! The sky is the limit! I am fabulous!!!" (They didn't need to tell me that last one but I figure it never hurts to remind people.) I found the bathroom all on my own, and promptly ran into a problem.

I should say at this point that I had Baby Bunny in tow. Anyone who has ever hauled around a four-week old precious bundle of joy knows that precious bundle comes with a mountain of accessories. The kid might weigh all of ten pounds, but there's a baby carrier, a blanket, a diaper bag, and so on.

Which meant that I found myself in a teeny-tiny bathroom with all of two stalls and a mountain of baby gear, plus obligatory screaming child. The screaming child is not optional at this point. You can't drag forty pounds of baby gear around unless you have the baby to go with it. People look at you funny if you do that.

So... baby, gear, tiny bathroom with an even tinier stall... it wasn't going to happen. I couldn't get into the stall with baby carrier at all. I wasn't going to leave Bunny and her gear sitting outside the stall. Unstrapping her, ditching the gear, and trying to juggle screaming baby while I did the necessaries wasn't going to happen.

And so, at a conference that was all about YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!! I found I couldn't pee.

This is irony, folks.

There was seriously no way it was going to happen. I had to go wander the conference halls until I found a friend I could con into holding Baby Bunny and all her gear so I could pee!

Sitting down with my stack of notes that said YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!! in bright sparkly letters I had to ask myself, could I? Could I really do ANYTHING!!!

The answer is: Yes, I can do anything I want, I just can't do it alone.

There are very few things a person can truly do alone. You can't live alone, not birth through death, because being born requires at least two other people. You can't make dinner alone unless you are a really clever person who forages their own seeds, hunts their own meat, and can live off the land after hand-carving your tools with your teeth.

We all need other people at some point in our lives. Finding the balance between relying on others too much and relying on them too little is where most of the stress in our lives is found. We flail between needing people so much that we stop viewing them as people and start viewing them as objects to abuse, and refusing to accept help to the point where we start viewing people as background scenery. When you stop viewing people as People you've taken a wrong turn.

I find myself struggling on the needy end of things in recent weeks. I can be positively Machiavellian when I need someone to babysit my kids or help me do housework. It's horrible, knowing just the right things to say to make some kindly old neighbor volunteer to come over and wash your dishes. Especially since I know I could wash the dishes, but it would mean cutting another hour out of my writing time.

Really, clean dishes or books, people? This is hardly a choice. People have been eating with their hands since the dawn of time, but books only work if someone writes that story down!

Okay, so maybe I'm just a horrible person. That's a possibility too. But I like to think that I'm a horrible person who has learned her lesson and is just trying to do ANYTHING!!! with a little help from friends. Whether it's a good day or a bad one, I'm taking things one page at a time. One little fix, one little change, one little smile, one little laugh... and one step at a time I'm changing the world.


  1. Love it. I totally understand where this post is coming from. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. I always figured that if I could do ANYTHING then I didn't need anyone. However, since I need other people I can't do EVERYTHING. So I can do anything with a little help from my friends and family.

    Now I just need to get those same people helping more often. I'm just not that Machiavellian. In fact, soft as a marshmallow would be a good description of me.

  3. I can completely relate to this story. I have tried to use the bathroom while holding a squirming child. Going isn't the problem. It's pulling your pants up afterwards. (TMI?) So smart move, getting someone else to help.

    I can do anything, just not everything. Thanks for the post. I needed that today.

    1. Liana,this was a great post that I needed to read today-thanks for tweeting it out! :) Also, I am taking Emily Casey's words from her comment and taping them to my work computer: "I can do anything, just not everything." We multitasking overachievers need to remember that! Thanks again!