A capable…

January 5, 2009 at 2:28 pm 3 comments

…girl.  That’s me.  All my life that word has been used to describe me.  What a boring word to have associated with your name your entire life, eh?  I think it all started with a story my mother tells fairly often.  She says that when I was born and the nurse brought me around for my mother to see that my head wasn’t flailing around like a typical newborn.  She says that I was holding it up and looking right directly into her eyes.  Then she says she could have sworn she heard me say, “Here I am.  What the hell are you gonna do now?”  She then responded, out loud, “Well, there you are” and she says I was full steam ahead from that point on.

My mother (and father and step-mother) says that my whole life I entertained myself, kept my room cleaned without being asked, did homework without being asked, took myself to ballet class on the public bus system in grammar school, was ironing by the age of 8, cooking by 9, you get the picture.  A very capable girl.

At times I have wondered if this capability was a product of necessity or just the way God created me.  At this point in time, I don’t care.  It’s who I am (I guess).  I am not intentionally capable.  My response to situations just tends to be a practical approach with a get it done attitude.  I can’t stand things hanging over my head so I’d rather just get it done and be able to move on.  Honestly, there isn’t anything that I really don’t think I could do if I put my mind to it.  There are things I don’t want to do and that I know will be difficult for me but in the end, I have the basic belief in myself that I can do anything I try to do if I just try long enough.  So again, at this point in time, I don’t care if it’s nature or nurture but there is a new revelation associated with this.  Ready?  When you are a capable person, people think you don’t want them to do things for you.  Being a capable person can actually make your life more difficult.

Here is what I’m talking about.  My internal message of, “I think I can fix this” prohibits me from taking electronics into repair shops.  This year alone I fixed our X-box, stereo and Kitchen Aid mixer.  But this leads to a problem.  My elliptical machine makes an excrutiatingly loud sound when I’m on it at 6:30 am.  You know when you’re driving down the road and something is rattling in the back seat and it drives you crazy?  Put that on about level 27.  Not what you want to wake up to.  Well, because I fix things without thinking about it my husband doesn’t respond to the excrutiatingly loud sound and grease the machine for me.  I don’t think he does it maliciously I think it just doesn’t register with him that I want him to do it.    Another case in point: at just about any planning meeting I attend it is assumed that I will pick up all the administrative and creative tasks.  Administrative because they all say, “well you’re so organized” and creative because they know I’ll get it done on time.  What is that?  Just because other people are slackers and don’t get things done to the best of their ability and on time it falls to the capable girl?  Did anyone ever think that just because I can do it doesn’t mean that I want to do it?

Dont’ get me wrong.  I am not a ‘yes’ girl.  I dropped that label a few years back and I don’t do anything I don’t want to do.  I’m done overextending myself and my schedule.  I’m not really sure what the point of this whole thing is except that I came to the realization that if you appear capable no one offers to help you.  That is fine in some cases because sometimes you just need to be on your own (or want to be) but when it’s a broad sweep across your life it’s a little annoying.  Yes, I will go on being Capable Girl but somewhere, somehow, I will find it in me to get that elliptical greased without doing it myself, to appear a little less eager to do everything for myself and let someone else assess my need and meet it and maybe, just maybe I’ll visit a repair shop or God forbid, replace a broken item with a new one.

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Happy New Year! The one where…

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tricia Wilson  |  January 5, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    From one capable girl to another,
    Yes, you are indeed capable. I myself have used that very word to describe you and agree that it can be both a blessing and a curse. The one thing that I can offer is that it may be necessary to ask for help once in a while. If others aren’t used to you needing it, they probably won’t think to offer it. I am sure that if you asked there would definitely be those willing to lend a hand.
    xo
    Tricia

    Reply
  • 2. gretchen owens  |  January 7, 2009 at 2:15 am

    yes…you need to let others do things for you…but they happen so much faster when we do them ourselves…

    here’s to a year of letting others help!

    you can do it!

    Reply
  • 3. tania  |  January 7, 2009 at 4:26 am

    i think you’re in my brain or something. seriously. i could sign my name to that post. word for word.

    i hear ya.

    Reply

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