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Sunday, June 10, 2007


I've always despised the philosophy of selfishness, all that Ayn Rand baloney; it's just awful! But I guess there's a kernel of truth and a middle ground. Meaning, our fellow humans won't recognize us of their own accord, so it's up to each of us to create our spot, and to lay down the flowers, and to dust off our own plaques.

My big reminder to you (and to me) is to honor yourself. Meaning, there comes a time when we all have to set everyone else's needs aside and remember that we as individuals are just as valuable as everyone else.

And now I'm talking directly to you, so listen up. If you have a dream, desire, or purpose and that thing is likely to change your life for the better, don't be thwarted. Sadly, you'll need to stand up for yourself, to really fight for it, because while you really should strive to be kind, reciprocation is extremely rare. In fact, if you're doing something that's really positive for you, it might just interfere with the needs of those around you. Train yourself to say no, and if you mean to be kind, know that kindness is a sacrificial act, and be comfortable with the sacrifice. Alternately, you can trumpet your kindness and demand recognition. That's the way of the world.

If you realize that the rewards won't be great enough, be strong; sacrifice no longer.

Do you really mean to do good on this earth? Then set limits. Your efforts are much better served if you only give to the extent that you receive. Think of the big picture. If you want to give, give to the world, not to an individual. The world provides oxygen for breathing, oceans for swimming, sunsets for weeping, herbs for seasoning.

I wouldn't say this if I didn't love you.


Blogger matty said...

Rand aside, I understand and agree with you to a point. But, for me, being kind isn't a sacrifice. To me, that is what we should try to do to the best of our abilities. Can't always hit the mark, but I think one should try.

I guess, if it feels like a sacrifice -- then, to me, being kind is not what the individual really wants to do.

And, I try to get the whole nature thing. I get close when it comes to the beach. But, I'm more touched by people than by the forces of nature. Nature scares me. And, sunsets don't make me cry. They just signal that the day is over and night has arrived.

I think that as we live, we learn to interact and understand ourselves better. I don't know that we ever are really meant to fully understand each other. We try, but it is hard to read into the thoughts of another. It is like guessing.

And, trust can be a sticky walk. It takes courage.

10:15 PM

Blogger ginab said...

Oh dear, but what about starting out small? There's one child at a time, and all of that; and if the world were exploding all around I would actually hope to be swimming, to be doing that one thing for myself (but alas I speak for myself).

I hope you love you.

But I'm going to draw a bath and light some candles right now, and massage my feet because there's no one to do it for me, and likewise I'll do the dishes before i head out to work this fine f-ing-less Monday morning. Oops, I'll do that to.


PS: Trust is a very sticky, high and slippery wall (I'm talking to Matty somewhat). Makes me anxious and it makes me want to swim. The water is there and oops, I jump in, it's still there!

4:34 AM

Blogger jungle jane said...

Ahhhhh! i've just spent the past year chasing my dream. it was hard and it sucked by now its all mine.

Now, i wonder if i will be able to sit back and enjoy it? to savour it? or will i just tick it off my list and go chasing the next dream...?

3:58 PM

Blogger ing said...


You just pinpointed the awful cliche in my writing! It's not the sunset that makes me cry, though; it's the idea that all things come to an end. It's true and it's sad. Or maybe it's a good thing. Because we live through a series of new mornings, and though endings are difficult, there are new beginnings to look forward to.

I do miss hiking and camping. The other weekend Sarah and I were talking about going to Yosemite some weekend. I think we even half-talked Alan into it. I'm afraid of drowning and of being struck by lightning and of being anywhere within twenty feet of a snake.



Yes, and starting next week I'm not going to let one thing get in the way of my yoga class! I've decided that yoga is most important, and from now on I'm going to plan around it. If I had access to a pool, I'd try that one, too.

I'm just about to eat, take a bath, massage my feet, etc, because I, too, have nobody else to do that for me. Oh, and then there's the dishes. Haven't done them in a couple of days now.

May they never, ever drain the pool! I have a story I've been meaning to send you, a story about swimming. I'm waiting to see. . . you know what I mean. Oh, and which was the story you loved so much in How We Are Hungry -- was it the one about the mother waiting for her son? I cried pretty hard over the final story, the one about the fast dog jumping over the river. Sheesh!


Jane, o Jane:

I'm so glad it's yours now, and I'm glad to know that it's possible to get what you were looking for.

Try to savor it for a little while if you can. There's always the next dream and the next period of suckiness. I've spent a good deal of time savoring (I tend to get bogged down in that place). There's time. I say savor it for two years. Two years is plenty.

6:33 PM

Blogger matty said...

I still want to try camping at Big Sur. someday home. a camper van. it could happen.


i always feel the need to touch them and then scream in horror.

i'm more afraid of bears, rats and spiders than water or lightning.

Alan? Camping? ...that might be funnier than me!!!! Am I allowed to tease him on Thursday night?!?!?

9:05 PM

Blogger jungle jane said...

Blimey Ing...i was thinking of trying to savour it for like a week or two.

I'm already itching for a new challenge.

Just kidding - i'm going to savour all summer at least:-)

9:50 PM

Blogger Ahvarahn said...

I had to think about this *Ing, and although I am writing a response, I am not done thinking. I have to admit that Ayn Rand conjures up something tantamount to a cult in my mind, or a speed-typing course, as in I’m not at all read on Rand philosophies.

Lyricsgrl was posting about ‘giving’ on her blog, and I mentioned that in ways giving is selfish, for we trip on some of those experiences. However, I interpret what you write here as those experiences that really are the drudgery and the chores of existence, those that do little for the pursuit of happiness yet there is an odd reluctance to say No. No is a difficult word. It is for me (except for the times I am offered salt-cured fish on malt bread, or any of those vegetable drinks). Of course, if one’s particular addiction is wallowing in pity and cultivating martyrdom, then I would say, go for it, and continue to say Yes and enjoy the suffering.

But for me, I feel that my peer group of insecurities casts the decisive vote on the “Yes” call, and breaking away from that is like smoking my last cigarette. Every one is my last.

Nevertheless, I need small steps, or twelve big steps, because I can see that the Yes approach has me side-stepping through some of my days; I still get a kick out of doing things for others, and, although it is certainly not disingenuous, there really is a selfish motive behind indiscriminate acts of kindness, and to be honest, on occasions, not only do I not need to blow the trumpet, sometimes I don’t even need to mention I have a trumpet.

I appreciate the advice, and the love, and understand the benefit of the middle-road selfish philosophy in practice. Although, if I read carefully, you might actually be advocating that I continue as long as the ‘personal debt’ is not increasing. On many occasions, people have said to me, why didn’t you just say no. I can’t help it, I said, It’s in me nature.

And I seem to be rambling.

Night-night *Ing,

7:50 PM

Blogger ing said...


I dunno. . . I think Alan might be kind of an outdoorsman. He seemed to like the idea of hiking to the top of half-dome. I can picture it, I can!



Challenges shmallenges. I figure if you can sit back and enjoy a little peace, keep it up for as long as possible. The challenges will come right out of nowhere, and they will strike you like lightning, and the universe will turn inside out, and this might even suck a whole buch. So why seek it out?

Of course, I will never ever be rich or famous or married. I'll be lucky if I can get out of bed tomorrow morning. Why bother? I'm just going to lay here, thinking about how many days there are until Christmas. Last weekend I saw ornaments on sale in Chinatown and I got excited. Isn't that sad?



Whoooah, Nellie!

Yes, there is the selfish giver, the ultra-kind martyr, and the namby-pamby.

I was talking about the personal debt, or at least I think I was, though I may have been drunk. I tend to say yes, and then yes, and then yes, and before I know it I find that people are asking so fast that I can barely keep up. Which is all fine and good as long as I pause and remember that I want things too sometimes and that I have to remember to do some asking of my own if I'm to keep some self-respect. Or something.

I get really uncomfortable, though, when I find that I've said yes too often. I mean, when I find that I've trained someone to ask and that I will oblige. There's complicity in this, and when I realize that I've been complicit, I feel a little self-loathing, I guess, which then drives me to say no. And that's a gross concept, being driven to the point where one must take an uncomfortable stand of refusal and as a result risk bringing on a load of anger or hatred, all because one's been trying to make another feel good.

I don't know if that made any sense, but.

10:24 PM

Blogger ginab said...

on Eggers' stories from Hungry I like "The Only Meaning of the Oil-wet Water" and "Up the Mountain Coming Down Slowly". But I remember Pilar, really, from the first...the most. She was the most!

and so, tgif my friend. no fretting. all's well. Yeah T!!!! Happy-happy joy-joy!!

love, ginab+bb

7:49 PM

Blogger josh williams said...

ing: Yes Carp the day as someone I think thats how it goes, I'm working on it! Thanks for the advice, sound advice. JW

8:17 AM


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