Yesterday at the family dinner, I refused to talk about the current sociopolitical situation with the special inclusion of war in Ukraine. That was met with unbelief — how come I don’t want to discuss the most important issues on a local and worldwide level? Well, I don’t. I want to be informed about what is going on. I want to follow some issues more in-depth — but I don’t want to waste my time on a pointless talk that will not change anything but only will trigger the anger. Anger that is caused by a lack of control over the current situation and a lack of possibility of changing the current suffering of countless people (in Ukraine in specifically this case, but also everywhere where the injustice of any kind is done against the powerless).
At work today, I refused to be drawn into more discussion about the financial repercussion of almost 2 million Ukrainian refugees currently in Poland (I repeat — 2,000,000 people who escaped the war currently reside in Poland). I was asked if I don’t care about the changing fabric of society and how will my money and my taxes will be used to help them. It is clear that I do care about those issues and about a lot of other things, but don’t care about discussing them in public with people I barely tolerate as my coworkers.
So what is it that I deeply care about right now? What are the things that I want to discuss? For example — I care about my garden and all the work I want to do there this season to make it even better. I care about the book I am reading now, and the list of tens or hundreds of books I want to read next (and specifically — which book will be next in line for me). I care about my thoughts and emotions and the ways I am working on expressing them. Express them first to me, and then to any other interested party. I care about my time and my travels that I am in the process of planning. I care about new places I want to see and what I want to experience there.
And I feel that all this makes me extremely selfish. There is still the underlying thought that I should and could do more for others. That I have so good in my life that it would be “a sin” not to share it with others. There is still something in me that makes me feel guilty, feel like a less of a person I am supposed to be, like an egoistical shit. There is still very little of me in myself.
And as an aside — today was my volunteering day after work. I tried to call the lady I am helping at least 10 times to make sure that she remembers that I will be coming to see her today. No success — her phone was dead. Or there was something wrong with her or the phone. She would always answer me or call me back, but for some reason, she didn’t today. I called the Municipal Center for Family Help and let them know that I cannot reach her and don’t know the reason. The answer I got was that if tomorrow still there is no answer, they will send somebody to check out the situation, and they will let me know. So it was settled — I was supposed to wait for more information. In the meantime, the elderly lady I help might be in trouble, might need help, might have fallen down, or something like that. But I couldn’t help it — in the evening, I just got up, forgo my plans for the evening, and drove to her apartment to see what is going on. The door was locked, no answer for the bell. The neighbors knew nothing. Finally, on the floor above, I found her in the apartment of her friend — she went there to talk, felt too woozy and weak and couldn’t get down the stairs to her apartment and her phone was locked, and she couldn’t unlock it. I repaired her phone, led her down to her apartment, and felt relieved.
My plans for the evening went to hell because again I couldn’t just look at what I wanted and what is important to me. I mean — I know I did something good, but for somebody else. Not for me, again. And I’ve been doing this my whole life, always putting the wellbeing and comfort of others above my needs and wants. During my drinking days, that was a cover to show everybody that I am still a good, helpful person. But I am still doing it, even if I see small steps towards changing it. If I don’t change the fundamental idea in my head — that caring for myself and my wants is selfish and worthy of condemnation, I will not regain control over the life that I want.