I made a Facebook post the other day.
Then I thought I should take it down.
I left it.
The thing that prompted the post was the endless "asks" we receive to support someone's business, idea, fundraiser, or whatever.
And we do, very often.
So, the issue became when folks who never interacted with me, never bothered to read my work, support the literary circle, or frankly, anything else I did, were asking for my support. They wanted my access, the people who in my networks, on my pages, the many groups I interacted with. The value of my "like" exposed them to even more people.
But they never "liked" my work.
And it should never be a quid-pro-quo. That has never been my way. I serve, am called to it and I give.
What bothered me, though, is something that bothered me years ago after Ferguson.
It was the expectation that I had to do it. That I had "more" and that they were "owed" because of where they lived.
One encounter that was some of this guilt-tripping was someone, an educator, who had just as many degrees as I did but chose to live where she did. She felt trapped and unable to leave. She absorbed a rhetoric around her and then began projecting it.
I thought about that encounter, and many others, after it. How much do we "owe" to each other? How much is enough?
Giving Tuesday is tomorrow. It is also my last child's, my second daughter's 17th birthday.
Where do I make choices?
The post was prompted also because the ask is never enough, especially when folks want to "friend" or "follow" you with their "business offer" that is nothing short of a MLM. The only thing they post or talk about is some trinket or beauty item or whatever that is supposed to make us all independently wealthy - that is, if we are able to convince our friends to be part of their "team" and sell the "opportunity."
Why does it still bother me?
I am called into service and do serve, as I mentioned. I work for a non-profit and for several years, worked for 1/3d my rate. When is it enough? I already am not a big shopper for frivolous things, it is not like I am holding onto stuff just to say I possess a million of some luxury item.
I'm a muse, an empath, a deep thinker, and really an all the characteristics of an INFJ. Maybe there is that sense in me that I am one who will help, give, donate, support, etc, that they felt comfortable enough in asking me. That is fine, the thing is, when is enough enough?
As I am moving more into the second half of my life and considering my limiting investments, I'm thinking more and more of where I want to put support. I still work for that non-profit, while writing, running a literary circle, and raising children. It is not like I am sitting on an endless well of money. The future, even in the midst of Covid, is compelling us to deeply think about what we are able to do and how we are able to do it.
Taking an assessment of one's capabilities and responsibilities is not a bad thing. Neither is saying no. Appeals and requests will keep coming, as long as Covid has people in untenable situations. There is a fine line we all sometimes traverse.
So what am I going to do tomorrow?
I already have my daughter's birthday present. It is her first celebration in her new state, far away from family and friends, and in the midst of Covid, no chance of even a restaurant party. We always have the big day on that big day of one's birth, she will still have it.
But I will also give.
I've set aside what I have. And that is it. I've made a mental list of those groups and organizations that I will support. And when it is gone, it is gone.
Because sometimes, enough has to be enough. And that has to be ok.