The rational response to someone doing your laundry should not be bursting into tears.
The reaction to an unsolicited compliment should not be shrinking back and inhabiting a reflexive fully flexed, self-protective posture.
The verbal exchange after being given a kindness, especially when it is freely given without an ask, should not include the following: ‘no’, ‘I didn’t want’, or ‘I don’t deserve’.
You look like a god damn idiot. And by you, I mean me.
Why is it so hard to just take the help and say ‘thank you???
Sometimes life and our travels through it convince us that we are pretty lousy, pathetic creatures. Maybe we were told that specifically. Maybe it was implied with actions or an absence of actions. Maybe it was acted out in a puppet show at an open mic in a seedy dive bar. Whatever the method of transmission, the message comes through to many of us. Loud and repeated.
You. Can’t. Have. Nice. Things.
Now, I have as many issues with snowflake, everyone-is-a-miracle culture as the next gal. Work for what you get. You are not the IRS or a sex worker who takes remuneration in installments. The world does not owe you anything. And by you, I mean me. If you get something, you probably stole it. So, you should not stop to say thank you or take a second to think too much about it. You should probably just start running.
For me, it comes to worth. Am I worth the time/money/energy expenditure it took for someone to do a basket of my laundry?
In reality, probably. It’s a pile of bed sheets. Takes five minute and twenty steps to make that whole thing happen. In the truest sense of the phrase, not a big deal.
In my head, am I worth it?
Oh hell no.
Maybe it’s self-preservation. If you become accustomed to nice things and then they go away, you have a sad. And what if that sad turns into a pyramid-sized meteor of awful that crushes you while it’s incinerating your flesh to ashes, so all that’s left is crusty dust and the smell of burt hair? That’s a logical possible outcome, right? Pretty sure I saw that in a Doctor Who episode.
Maybe it’s setting the bar low. I usually proclaim to anyone unlucky enough to ask that I can’t cook. That way, if they are forced to someday eat my food because we are broke, or really drunk or hungry, or are trapped in a small town on a Sunday night, when absolutely no restaurants are open for the love of Gaia why???
Where was I?
Oh, yes low bar, so that way, if I’m caught cooking, my friend or lover won’t expect gourmet and I show up with dorm room noodles.
Maybe it’s just momentum. A long while, after along while of being by yourself, not having help for the day-to-day, not having favors or niceties, it’s easier to keep going it alone. You know the steps. The music plays. You dance. If you stop, it might all drop to the ground. And not in a hot way.
So, what to do, when you are suddenly presented with someone doing the nice? You could absolutely freak out and panic.
And by you, once again, I mean me.
Complete with shaking hands and global full-body, every inch of skin saturated sweating. Now, if that’s not incredibly sexy and a turn on across every gender and sexuality expression, I don’t know what is.
Full disclosure: I probably don’t know what is incredible sexy or a turn on. In any gender or expression. In fact, pretty sure I have no idea. See cooking example above. Set a low bar. Same theory applies. Ibid, your honor.
So, this is what I want to tackle. Accepting the kindness. Being okay with someone seeing my gnarly, dirty basement all in the name of giving me clean sheets, because they think I’m a swell lady who deserves to go to sleep with the scent of lavender and not funk.
But, but, but my basement is dirty! And awful. Just like under the sink. Don’t look there. Or in my closet. Agh!! Or my desk drawer. Or at my third grade yearbook. Or my work performance review. Or my tax returns.
My flaws are pretty apparent. They are booming and not easily concealed or kept quiet. They’re not hiding in the basement. But acting like I don’t deserve consideration or a brief act of generosity because of those flaws isn’t fair. Not to me. Not to the person who just wanted to help me because, brace yourselves scouts, they might not hate my couch or me being next to them on it. Because I just bet, they might have flaws, too. Probably not. Or if they are, they’re adorable peckish flaws, like whimpering in their sleep or forever losing their glasses or forgetting names. But, cloyingly cute or not, they still might have metaphorical goblins in their own basement.
And let’s breeze quickly past the trope of the single mom, raising the son. How important it is that she expects courtesy and respect from him, so he learns how to be that way with all women. If I want him to honor and give equality to the women of his future, I have to accept no less than the same from him now, with the woman of his present. An uncomfortable job. But one that simply must be done. By me, whether I think I deserve it or not.
With all that wrapped, ready and smelling fresh and springy, a thank you is due.
Thank you, for doing my laundry. I can’t believe I turned for a brief moment into nightmare, nonsensical girl. It was a lovely help that was fully appreciated, if not tactfully shown. Sometimes I just show my gratitude with weeping and hiding. See above the ‘not knowing what’s sexy discussion’. But that’s another conversation.
You can step down into my dungeon basement and wash my sheets anytime. No nightmare. Just thank you.