This I Believe

Angela - Madisonville, Kentucky
Entered on December 8, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
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What do I believe? So glad you asked. There are plenty of beliefs I have that I am anxious to share with the world.

Primarily, I believe that Self-Absorption has engulfed our planet like a tsunami. We are flailing, floundering, and drowning in it. It may look and feel like green-house gases, but it is, in fact, Self-Absorption.

We are all guilty of it. I love to sit at my computer, sorting, chiseling, and honing my thoughts with the hope that others may read them. They may think to themselves, “This is exactly what I believe, only stated so much more clearly.” They may show my thoughts to a friend and suddenly I am an overnight sensation. “Tell us how you came to possess so much wisdom,” Diane Sawyer will say. “Truthfully, Diane, I have no idea. It must have something to do with microwaves because for the last 16 years I have been at home raising children and I’ve nuked a lot of corndogs.” Even now, a two year old is pounding on my leg: “Mama, come watch Dumbo!” “Wait a minute, honey,” I say. “The world needs to hear this.”

Self-Absorption is what makes fathers desert their families. They may call it severe, prolonged unhappiness, another woman, addiction; it’s all a by-product of Self-Absorption. And it is pervasive. Not only does it destroy the age-old, God-ordained institution of the family, but it also ruins my bi-weekly trip to Wal-Mart. In a parking lot that holds about 500 cars, a self-absorbed person waits for someone to load groceries into a car and back out. Four other cars wait with him. In the store, a self-absorbed woman angles her cart across the aisle as she studies greeting cards. When I say, “excuse me,” she seems surprised that there is anyone else in the store.

I don’t know when it started. I suspect it has always been there, just dormant like cancer cells. It can probably be charted on one of our chromosomes. At some point a psychologist said for the first time, “And how does that make you feel?” And that was the impetus for worldwide self-examination-global introspection prompting thoughts about “what I think, what I want, what you did to me, what everyone can do to make me happier.”

Years ago, a friend decided she wanted to be called by her maiden name hyphenated with her husband’s name. “That’s part of who I am. To give that up and call myself by my husband’s name alone takes away part of my identity.” Her employer changed its company letterhead to accommodate her new, more complete identity. The rest of us didn’t know what to call her. It occurred to me that no one cared what she called herself. What it boiled down to was how she treated people. She could call herself Smidge Thumperstinkle….or Thumperstinkle-Collins-and that only summed up what she thought of herself….which really left no lasting imprint on the rest of us.

And isn’t that what it’s all about? Making an impression? Leaving a legacy? Or, if nothing else, just not being remembered as a fool. I have to remember that I’m not the only one with an opinion, and I have to keep in mind how good it makes me feel when others express an interest in my opinion. When my child asks for my time and attention, I can put aside what I am doing and think only of him for a few moments. There will be rewards down the road. “How did you become so thoughtful of others, so warm and inviting, so YOU?” Diane Sawyer will ask my beautiful children. “Truthfully, Diane, we have no idea, but maybe it has to do with micro waved corndogs. Our mother fed us lots of those.”

This I believe.