Posts Tagged ‘playing it forward’

Doing For Me What I Cannot

June 19, 2014

Do for myself.


I had no idea how hard it would be to surrender to this, but, I have, and here is the result–I let someone start a fundraising campaign to help me get through this month plus of not working due to being out of work with a severe sprain.

It’s hard to wrangle toddlers when you can’t do more than hobble about on crutches.

Although, hurrah, I did do some more walking about my studio.

I even did a load of laundry and I made my bed.

Then I took a shower.

In between these monumental tasks, because that’s what they are at the moment, time-consuming, monumental chores, I text back and forth with my new friend and followed the directions he gave me to get the link and see the site he set up.

He started a Go Fund Me donation site to help me get through until I am back at work.

I did nothing other than say, yes, you may and yes, thank you, and yes, I need help, and yes, I will let you.

Yes, yes, yes and more yes.

I explained to a friend earlier how uncomfortable I was accepting the offer that it made me realize that I needed to accept the offer.

In fact, the site had been live for an hour before I could bring myself to look at it.

It takes something to admit, at least for me it does, that I need help, that I haven’t gotten it all figured out.

Granted I don’t need as much help as I would have if my employers hadn’t agreed to pay me a little stipend until I get back.  I haven’t yet received word as to how much exactly it is, but I am estimating it to be about $300.

I sat down when my friend said figure it out, the total to ask for, $2,000, $3,000, and I’ll make it happen.


I don’t need that much.

Although, sure, give me the money!



That’s dishonest.

That’s not a principle I am supposed to be working.

The opposite of that in fact, so I took out my notebook with my spending plan, took a photo of it and sent it to him, sans the manicure/pedicure/eyebrow waxing column (no one need pay for my vanity except me, thank you very much) and what I had in the bank and was expecting to get from my employers.

The needed rest to get through I estimated at $1500.

He set it up to be slightly higher than that, to cover the cost of the fees for using the site.

I finally looked at it.

And yes.

I did cry.

I also shivered and got goosebumps, I am so playing this forward.

I am currently doing some data entry for a service entity in my community and I was offered $10 an hour to do it.

I made the decision to not ask for money, but volunteer my service to the facility until I was back at work.  I told the manager of the establishment today and he said I may change my mind, to keep track nonetheless, and maybe we could move forward with it when I went back to work.


Probably not.

But who knows.

$10 and hour for data entry is not my cup of tea.

And I like tea.

But not all tea.

I don’t like green tea, it tastes like data entry.


I also resolved that I would continue to do creative work and use my time well that way, to not sit on my ass and watch movies and shows and downloads.

I read a little today, in between the chores, and that felt good too.

To be a competent writer I need to help hone my craft by reading.

I will say, I am not really into the book I am currently reading, Jonathan Lethem’s Dissident Gardens, it’s ok, but it’s too transparent and obvious in the narrative, and too wordy in a historical way that I don’t find compelling–I’m not much on historical novels.

However, I am reading it as it’s well written, sometimes I will continue to read something that doesn’t capture me all that much  just because it’s written in a style completely different from mine.

It is the learning and being teachable.

And hey, something’s working for Lethem, he’s got a lot more books published than I do.

Plus, I only have one other book in the house that I haven’t read and I am saving it for as long as I can.

I still have two and a half weeks of down time before I return to work.

I am feeling better, just getting to be a little more active is helpful.

I did notice that I pushed a little harder and had to sit down and rest more this afternoon than I wanted too and by the time I was ready for my once a day outing, I was reduced to needing to use the crutches to get about.

But, hey, they are some fancy looking things, all gold and shiny, that I don’t mind relying on them.

Keep that upper body strong since I am not hauling and toting little boys and girls around.


Miss those little monkeys too.

I feel like they are going to be five years old by the time I get back to them.

With full on adult vocabularies and career paths that outstrip mine.

Right now, there is no career path for me other than humbly accepting with gratitude the help being offered to me.

“You are helping other people to ask for what they need,” she said to me on the phone when I choked up telling her about the GoFundMe  account.  “It is so important that we allow ourselves to ask for help when it is needed, and it’s keeping you connected, you aren’t isolated.”


I am not.

I have taken more phone calls these past thirteen days then I can recall having all the last two months.  I have seen people whom I haven’t gotten to see because our work schedules and life schedules haven’t synced up.

Now, well, I am hostage, humble hostage, to this ankle and this slow recovery and healing.

But I can see it.

The healing.

Both of my ego and of my ankle.

It’s an amazing thing.

Not something I could have ever orchestrated on my own whatsoever.

And for that I am grateful.

Over the moon grateful.

Thank you friends for your help.

May I return the favor soon.




I Am Here to be of Service

March 29, 2014

That doesn’t mean I’m gonna give you a blow job, I told my friend.

Who doubled up in laughter.

Super happy that I was able to help him out, I will probably be helping him out for a bit, he just had a pretty big surgery and has to be on crutches, in a cast, resting for a bit.

I live a block away.

Today all I did was bring him some soda for his tummy which was upset from the anesthesia and the pain killers he was on.

But I will be doing more and I like that.

I am playing it forward.

I told him as much, don’t be proud, let me help out.

I am a busy girl, I got things to do, but when a friend is a block away, I can stop by and bring groceries, plan on dropping off some homemade soup tomorrow, it’s the least I can do.

When I think about all the help that has been given to me, the couches, futons, attics, and beds that I have crashed on, the money that people have quietly slipped into my pocket when I was going through financial straits, the cups of coffee bought, the meals, the endless streams of love that I have gotten to be a part of, the least I can do is go run down to the 7-11 and buy my friend a couple of liters of soda.

It really, also gives me a great sense of being useful.

Which I think is one of the most satisfactory things to fill my emotional life.

My brain wants to know, “what’s in it for me?”

My heart, knows better and when I can help out, I am going to.

The feeling of doing a small thing like emptying another’s trash, really is the best high.

Yeah, I know, hard to believe that.

But there’s a deep gratitude here too, I remember, well, what it was like when, it’d be about nine years ago this very month, when I hurt myself horribly at work and for three months, three, I could not lift anything over five pounds.

I could not bend from the waist, which meant that I could not shave my legs, because I could not reach them.

I could not walk without using a cane.

And I could not walk very fast even then.

I could not make my bed or do my laundry.

I could not buy groceries.

And I was destitute at the time, I had very little income following in.

I ate a lot of ramen noodles and when I was feeling rich I ate cheddar cheese sandwiches on country bread with Best Food mayonnaise.

I was given money for groceries, rides here and there, mostly on MUNI, a friend gave me his monthly pass that he got from work and he rode his bike all over, people showed up at my house and gave me pep talks when I had to sell my record collection.

When I had to sell my two Technics turntables.

I cried.

I cried when I sold my music collection to Amoeba.

I remember a friend telling me to buck up, it was just stuff, and the records and cds that I sold kept me in food for another month.

I cried anyway.

I remember when rent was due and I did not have rent and some one out of the blue asked me to edit a history on Russian politics and gave me a check made out to me for $500.

The amount of my rent.

Those were the days, when rent in San Francisco was $500.

Not so much anymore.

It was cheap then, it was rent controlled, and though my room-mate turned out to be kind of a freaky person, he helped me out a lot.

Bought me take out pizza from Zante’s Indian on Courtland at Mission Street, did laundry, bought me groceries, made my bed.

So, this, helping a friend out, is just me playing it forward.

I look forward to getting to know him better too.

Sometimes you know someone peripherally through connections to a lot of other folks, six degrees of separation and all that, and you know you like them and they are cool, then you wind up in the same neighborhood and hey, neighbor, how can I be neighborly?

I get to help and I get to grow in my relationships to another human being.

I need people.

I cannot live in a bubble, despite not wanting to go out and socialize tonight.

I was invited to a little shindig over in Potrero Hill and another in the Upper Haight and I just wanted to head back to my hood, do some writing and chill the fuck out after the week of work.

Then as I was riding my bicycle down Lincoln Ave with the wild wind off the ocean invigorating my senses, I remembered the photograph my friend had posted up on his Instagram feed of himself in a cast and feeling stircrazy.


I knew what I needed to do.

I hopped off my bike, sent him a text, got an immediate response, got some soda and for a couple of hours kept him company until the Chinese food take out brigade and Friday night video gang buzzed at the gate.

It was perfect.

I felt alive and helpful and needed.

Isn’t that what everyone wants, to feel needed and appreciated?

I don’t know that I can count my acts tonight as estimable acts, since I am writing about them and I consider an estimable act one in which you don’t toot your own horn, but I will say this, being of service is sweet and rich and brings a kind of depth to my life that I don’t get anywhere else.

It makes me a better person and if I get to help someone out during a challenging part of their life, then bring it on.

I am here to serve.

With pleasure.



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