This disease of “me, me, me, me” has bothered me for a VERY long time, not excluding myself as a sufferer, and it seems to be getting worse!
Take for example my living circumstances. I am a boarding mistress at a school 20km away from a shop. There are two people ‘managing’ the boarding establishment facilities. In lieu of monetary payment I was told I would get accommodation, food and use of facilities. I arrive. No, food is only when the learners are present. I have no kitchen in my boarding room.
No, we do not accommodate gluten-free individuals, you have lived with this in your life and you need to make a plan. With my picky food choices and temperamental constitution, I said fine, I will make a plan. I am making plans with left overs or what I can get when I can drive out to the shops and what I can cook in a microwave, what I can cook that won’t set off the temperamental fire alarm.
Accommodation, I learn, that the water is‘on’ in boarding when the learners are there – term time. Then it gets switched off. So I have had to make plans whilst staying there with regards to showers, because I LIVE there outside of learner terms. I am hoping that now that I have bothered the maintenance man a few times to turn on the water, I may now get to have the water. I am waiting to see.
I was chaperoning overseas and received a WatsApp message that I would not be able to use the laundry on my return with 3 weeks of washing. After a load of requesting, (no pun intended) those of us returning from tours eventually got permission to use the laundry. Upon arrival the room had been guarded and the locks changed and the room literally now hosts only: a washing machine and tumble dryer. The tumble dryer is necessary because of the mould and mildew problem in the boarding house.
I go there this “FREEDOM DAY”, the irony! And they have put an inserta lock in the door so I may not wash my laundry where I live. I am not ‘free’ to do my washing. That’s sheets, towels and 4 loads (between darks and colours) of 10 days of living-activity-wear-dirty clothes!
Beyond angry that on top of a teaching load that was distributed between three full time drama teachers last year, which I now have to do on my own at this school, I now have to add, to my day and night boarding duties, extra support classes and afternoon lessons, more washing because ‘they’ won’t keep the laundry room open over a long weekend?!?!
I asked the bank teller what she thought and she said that it is COMMON SENSE that people need to do their washing! I asked a friend’s mom and she said that is just thoughtless and that the management haven’t locked themselves out of their own washing machine. I told a teacher at another school and she said “That’s ridiculous!” I told another teacher friend at a different school and what did she say: “That is so selfish!”
Indeed – SELFISH! No consideration for other human beings and what they need; and this is when it is there job to consider other people because they are in charge of “BOARDING!”
Selfish in that if there is a reason for this, then why hasn’t anyone been told? Selfish in that I have recently had a meeting where boarding management hauled me over the coals for asking too many questions and wanting too much information! Apparently, if the learners need to ask me questions, because I am the “boarding mistress” I must tell them that I don’t know, and I must look like I am incompetent because my superiors want to hold INFORMATION to THEMSELVES!
This school is the Twilight Zone for me! For those old enough to remember the TV show of bizarre happenings. Complete Twilight Zone.
It is bizarre that the world is PUMPING: “Communication, communication is the key to everything” and it has made communication WORSE. Like a literal example of THE BLIND DO NOT SEE and the DEAF DO NOT HEAR.
So many other examples of selfishness all around: Smokers, where their secondary smoke is more hazardous for those around them, than what they are inhaling. Where their desire to die early through cancer, means they are actively deciding that someone else should take care of them when they are hooked up to machines and riddled with cancer. They are actively depriving their families – if they have them – of extra income for everyone to share, due to the cigarettes themselves and the higher medical aid rates, or the transport costs to hospitals, or whatever one can whittle it down too. “I earn the money I can do what I like with it” – I, I, I, mine, mine, mine! Self, self, self. How did the world get to this place that is destroying relationships?
Phones and “Selfies”. More and more and more Instagram sites are purely pictures of the Self. There are literally no other photos, no awareness of any beautiful sites around, just photos of the one person who owns the phone. Why? Narcissism? Am I just not a fan of looking at myself and now I can’t understand why others are obsessed with themselves?
Depression? The desire to focus only on myself and wallow in self-pity about me… how is that healthy? Even David in the Bible suffered from depression when his son died, but he made sure he got up each morning and washed and ate and got on with his day as king. A son born later became the one who furthered the genetic line to eventually lead to the birth of Jesus Christ. If David had have stayed focused on himself, committed suicide, locked himself away, been selfish, both the Old and New Testament would have fallen apart and a story aging thousands of years would not have been.
Divorce? I married him/her because s/he made ME happy. I’m divorcing him/her because s/he doesn’t make ME happy anymore. Is the problem monogamy or selfishness? We raise girls to be ‘independent’ now, has that been over-enforced to now create a group of women who don’t know how to love? Who don’t know how to care for others / about others? Who don’t know how to handle sharing dependency? Women who think about themselves first? Is all this hype about ‘know yourself’, be with ‘yourself’, hear ‘yourself’ really what propaganda cracks it up to be? I am still super single, spinster of note, and this ‘be with yourself’ stuff has caused me more headaches and doubt than anyone else I know. It’s selfish. When do epiphanies arrive? When I am helping others, engaging with others, conversing with others, that’s when.
Suicide? I can’t do this. I don’t want to be here. I don’t care that a large group of people are going to be distraught, broken and irreconcilable for the rest of their lives because of my actions.
Addictions? A lack of desire to control self. A lack of ability to speak out to others and ask for help. An inability to see outside of self and see the damage being created – physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, spiritually. And others who don’t want to help, or don’t bothering helping properly and continuously, because “I don’t feel like it”, “I don’t want to”, “Why should I?”. I, I, I.
War, power, control? I must be ‘right’. I have to ‘protect’ myself. Who defined that ‘right’? “Protected” from who? From what? Why? I must keep my “stuff”? Why? It’s going to be out of reach when you are dead anyway. I must have ‘money’? Why do you need trees broken down and turned into paper with a particular picture on? Why do we need to be surrounded by stuff to be comfortable? Not excluding me, I am a terrible hoarder.
Entitlement? I deserve x, y, z, because I think I do. Can you even get more selfish? One who has done nothing but take from others and thinks that it is ‘right’ to do so? “I must get what I want purely because I want it”? Selfishness – staying in the mentality of a two-year-old, mine, mine, mine, without doing any work, without earning, without deserving, just ‘give it to me’. Someone else must sacrifice, someone else must work, someone else must organise and then just give it to me, because I haven’t graduated from my diapers and I don’t want to … We are moving to a state where there are going to be no more ‘someone else’s’ left because they would have died off.
Selfishness – a disease indeed, and one the majority of the world supports, contributes to and encourages. A disease that is breaking down everything that is so beautiful into the nothingness of Self. Self will die. These bodies will rot. The ‘stuff’ around us will decay. So why has it been made so important?
Hold both hands open and give, leaving self to last, receiving so much more in love of others.