Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Taking Charge

I cannot let the situation win.  It is trying.  Read that sentence in both senses -- the year is trying to win and the year has been a trying one.  But I am done with it.  I know that, for the rest of you, the new year started a few days ago.  For me, it will start on January 9th.  Til then, I have some straightening up to do.

I'm organizing a massive walk on Saturday morning; 2 radio stations will be there before dawn to set up.  Six Pima County Sheriffs will work under the supervision of my own personal Deputy, who promises to come the moment I call him.  The Arizona Rangers are going to try to help, too.  Security is my primary concern - for the attendees and for myself and Little Cuter and SIR and TBG.  The last time I was out on a sunny Saturday in January the results were less than salubrious.  I'm paying attention to details these days, and I'm enlisting the right people to make me feel safe.

I'm learning to ask for help and I'm finding that people almost always say yes.  The yes might be followed by "But next year you have to ...." but no one has refused me outright.  Budgets have been dipped into, concessions have been made, and I have put myself out there, in front, using my vaguely awkward celebrity to do good deeds.  It's a funny balance, being a charity slut.  I'm selling my story for a 15% discount on sidewalk chalk at Michaels and instead of feeling pushy I'm feeling loved... really loved.... hugged for a long time loved.... and I remember the lesson that had slipped behind the sofa cushion of my brain: Accept help with grace. 

I have to put that at the top of my list of things to remember.

I'm learning to delegate.  I've asked a volunteer if she would be The Boss of the other volunteers and she knew just what I meant.  There won't be much bossing to do because the staff aren't random helpers.  The people who are coming to work are seasoned veterans of the Volunteer Campaigns of the late 1900's... the ones centering on teams and scouts and family vacations.  Part of the beauty of GRIN has always been the ease with which the volunteers can slip (back) into the roles they played in other situations while doing the same tasks. We've all done it before.The work isn't onerous and the company will be good.  I thought I would take charge of it myself, because I always take charge of it myself, but this is the beginning of a new phase for me.  I am learning to step back. 

And it turns out that when I take a deep breath and let other people step into the breach, everything gets done and I don't have to worry.  There are other competent people in my life and it is foolish to refuse their help.  What needs to happen will happen and while it might not look exactly the way that I would have arranged it I know that it will be perfect in the eyes of the person who set it up.  And because I trust her, it will therefore be perfect for me. I have no need to worry.

I cannot remember delegating anything to anyone with as much equanimity as I seem to be doing right now.  It's self-preservation, of course.  There will be reporters and family and children I've invited and in no particular order I will be spending most of my time with them, I hope.  I'd like the t-shirts and the water bottles and the raffle tickets and the sidewalk chalk to sell themselves; delegating seems to have made it so.  I've been told not to worry.  I'm going to do just that.

I carried on despite my hip's insistence that enough was enough and was rewarded by TBG's big smile and declaration that The Garage Is Back!!! when he drove up after the gym.  Every box is either on a shelf or broken down and in the recycling bin.  Every bag containing items to be given away is now comfortably ensconced on a shelf at Goodwill.  Parcels have been sent to Auntie Em and Brother and there is not a pile to be found in the house or the garage.  Not one.

I am taking charge of my life.  I am not letting random thoughts invade my space.  I am organized and dedicated to remaining so. If it can be done in less than 2 minutes, I do it.  MaryLynne, my professional organizer, gave me that handy dandy trick and it's a keeper, denizens.  I am relentless because the alternative is untenable.  If I don't take charge, there is evil lurking, waiting to jump up and take over.

Not happening.  Nope.  I was in charge of my life before I was perforated... or so I thought.  I've had a lot of time to think about the concept of control since last January, and I've come to a conclusion.  It doesn't matter what the reality is.  What matters is how I approach it.  If I decide that I am in charge of my life, then I can banish the scared, scary, sorrowful, awful pieces to a back corner where, accessible if needed, they can languish and gather dust.  If I decide that I am in charge of my life, then I can say no and say yes and know that it's what I want to do and that life is too short to do otherwise. 

If tomorrow is not promised, then I will begin by taking charge of today.


  1. And, with this post, I am entirely convinced that you have not only survived this year, you are thriving! You've taken every ounce of value from this black lump of coal and you're begetting a bright flame from it. You inspire!

  2. AMEN.

    And seriously, keep your desk clean. I will be there on Friday for an inspection :).

  3. P.S. On the garage clean out. After reading your post this morning, we lit a fire in the den, turned on NPR, and sorted one by one through the huge stack of boxes that had clogged the corner of my garage from floor to ceiling. In the boxes were all the hand-painted china my mother produced in the last ten years of her life. I haven't been able to touch those boxes since they were packed in 2004. It's done. They are on their way to Goodwill. At my house and within my psyche, this was huge.

    We never know what we will inspire when we write.


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