Finding a Focus
There it is! Oh, wait…
Recently, Donna at Banned from Baby Showers answered a question that has been going around the natural-parenting-blogosphere: If you had to pick just ONE issue – natural birth, breastfeeding, or intactivism – what would it be? I read Donna’s post with interest, and although I disagreed with her on which issue I would pick, I agreed with all the reasons she feels that breastfeeding is such an important issue – something that childbearing women EVERYWHERE need to know is normal, and beneficial, and POSSIBLE. It’s a good thing that Donna HASN’T had to pick just one issue, because I’d be willing to bet that her blog (and her work as a childbirth educator) has changed a lot of minds on a lot of issues.
Then my mind went down another rabbit hole, leaving behind the idea of choosing a single natural parenting platform, and following the rabbit-idea that, to be honest, we DO have to pick a platform, if for no other reason than to save our sanity. We are all
cursed blessed with the same 24 hours every day in which to Get Things Done, and we have to choose what is right and best for us to do, what means the most to us. There may be lots of things that we think are worthy causes, but because we eventually have to go to bed, we can’t work on those causes.
This is especially noticeable on the internet, where our Life’s Purpose is summed up in 140-character bios and taglines, where bloggers are encouraged to find a “niche” so they don’t lose readers with random non sequitur posts. And it’s a bit frustrating sometimes, because you begin to think of The Writer of the Environmentalism-Focused Blog as JUST an environmentalist. This writer (a fictional person I just made up for argument’s sake – let’s call her Zoe) may also be a classically-trained cellist, or a fan of cheesy horror movies, or a trainer of service dogs, or a terrible public speaker, or someone struggling with bipolar disorder. But because Zoe has not chosen to write a “cello blog” or a “bipolar blog” we don’t know any of that.
And because Zoe’s online personae is focused on one thing, because she is trying to spread the word about the issue she values most, she can be a little intimidating. Those of us who are just starting to be a little green wonder how we can EVER measure up to Zoe. I mean, she has eliminated all disposable products from her life, even toilet paper and sticky notes! She also has an organic garden that produces about five hundred tons of gorgeous tomatoes and she buys all of her clothes secondhand AND she rides her bike to work every day (two miles – each way). She writes such passionate treatises on the evils of plastic water bottles that every time we find ourselves parched and thirsty while at a gas station, we agonize for a full (very thirsty) three and a half minutes before we finally break down and buy a bottle of Dasani. And then we get into our car and continue our commute to work feeling like a total worm. And not the good kind of compost-eating worm, either. A bad worm.
What we need to remember is that the Zoes of the world are only showing us so much of themselves. And the part that they’re showing us is a part that believes fiercely in something and has chosen that something to FOCUS on. And unless we make that same something our focus, we will NEVER measure up to the Zoes.
And we don’t have to.
We tend to forget is that no one – really, honestly, NO ONE – is perfect. And everyone – really, honestly, EVERYONE – has something they feel insecure about.
If you spent some time with Zoe, you may be surprised to hear her say, “I save a lot of stuff so I can reuse it, and I buy a lot of stuff secondhand, because I hate to waste anything. So my house can look kind of cluttered and shabby. I don’t mind usually, but when I see a picture of a house that’s all shiny and new and organized and clutter-free, I do feel a little insecure about my little dump.”
Isn’t that interesting? I mean, I know I just made this Zoe person up, but that’s because she so perfectly illustrates the point I’m trying to make – we can’t do it all or be it all. We have to choose something (or several somethings) to focus on, and we have to choose things to let go of. And most of all, we have to choose to let Zoe (or whoever it is you happen to be comparing yourself to today) be better than us at something. It’s okay, because that’s how God made Zoe. It’s not how God made you.
Find your focus. Cultivate your gifts. Bloom where you’re planted, follow your bliss, et cetera et cetera, insert inspirational quote from Pinterest here. In other words, be yourself. You’re the only expert we’ve got on that subject, and who knows? Zoe may need your help with something later.