Thursday, August 26, 2010


Been thinking a lot about the word/concept/notion/ability of some people to be "selfish." Worked with a woman, Ruth King, for awhile, and she pointed out that one of the sources of my rage (and we all have it) is my resistance to being selfish. Actually, what she prescribed was for me to take six months and be completely selfish.

Never did it, and that was years, and what feels like lifetimes, ago.

It's about a lot of things, this resistance to being selfish: my concept of selfish (bad), my misunderstanding of being Selfish vs. selfish, my confusion over what is being self-loving/caring vs. what is being selfish. It's about my own bias against those I perceive as self-absorbed/self-involved and Selfish. All of that and none of that. It's about what I was taught as a child about God, it's about what I consider being a good mother/wife/friend/daughter. It's about guilt. It's about martyrdom.

For years I've had a book bubbling in me about Rojo and what I consider his divinity, his special needs that come with incredibly special gifts. I've tried not to write the book for a number of years. I wrote a whole different book instead. I've distracted and diverted myself in every way imaginable in an effort to do anything but write this book.

If you knew how many times a day my mind goes there, you'd have me hauled away in a straight jacket. As Rojo is talking I'm thinking of how to write that, where the commas go, the other punctuation, which parts of what he says to keep, which parts to drop, how much of his ADHD the reader can take without going crazy, that sort of thing. Every day, all day long, for years and years.

When I went to Iowa to work with 11 other memoirists and one gifted teacher, I went with 20 pages of what I was hoping might turn into that book someday. My pages got workshopped. My pages had life breathed back into them. My pages made me (for the first time in months) want to write more pages.

So. I have decided to turn this next school year into my Year of Being Selfish. I am going to go big with the question, "Does this serve my needs?" when asked to do one of the many things I get asked to do on any given day/week/month/year. If the answer is "no," then I'm not going to do it.

I am going to write this book. The book may never be great, never be sold, never be read, never be anything but out of me and onto the page. And that will be enough.


* Photo from


kario said...


You know, it was Hope that really gave me the shove I needed to write my book, too. I hope that this year of being selfish turns into an incredibly empowering one for you and your family. So much so that you never turn back and the selfishness becomes an integral part of your awesomeness as a mother and wife and friend.

Love you!

deb said...

I'm toasting you today on this Carrie.
Absolutely .

I started picking and choosing my yes and no answers to things and people more carefully this past year.

I have seen more good as a result. All around.

And I will buy the book.

RED said...

It's about TIME, Carrie! You are so giving of yourself, always; always have been. I've been learning to love saying, "No" more often....hard for us stay at home moms to do, when everyone thinks we have nuttin' but time. I know that I inherited my guilt complex from my mom--how about you? Anyways, I will be first in line to buy your book!!!

Lori said...

Go for it. Be selfish. Enjoy the hell out of saying no, asking for what you want, and not apologizing for needing something from someone. :)

As for the book, we're wanting to see you do this for our own selfish reasons - we want to share that part of you and your son.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, amen! You go, girl and we're right here beside you, we writers, being "selfish." I have to tell you that I began writing again about five years ago, after a dead period of ten years (the first ten years of Sophie's life). The writing was rekindled because of a memoir workshop that I attended -- I just started writing again and never stopped; in fact, what I wrote became a book of sorts (although it's stalled at the structuring phase!).

Deb Shucka said...

Please notice that not one person here has gasped in shock, or tsked at you. It's no accident that part of Rojo's gift to the planet, is the gift of you finally believing in your own worth. Here's to the year of listening to and responding to your heart's desire.

Lola said...

I 'get' this post so much! did the same thing...kinda....Stopped giving in to doing just because I was asked and could and would do a great job! On all committees, super momming everyone's kids and my etc....even if i didn't want to or really care but just because i could and was good at it. just because i am 'good' at it doesn't mean i have to say yes and/or do it. it's very empowering and you get used to it!!!! Cheers! I CAN'T WAIT TO READ THIS! xo

Anonymous said...

I support you in this Selfish endeavor. I encourage you. I applaud you. This is a good, good thing.



jess said...




Suzy said...


This grasshopper is learning from you...and your sidekick!

The book will happen- This I know for sure.
Love you


Amber said...

Number one, HOLY CRAP DO I GET THIS! Every drop. With you on the journey.

Number two, BIRTH THAT BABY. Go through the active labor now, Carrie, because you have been doing the inactive labor long enough. You are ready.The baby is ready.No fear, no holding back. Let it out into the light of day, and whatever life it is meant to have.



Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

I can't tell you how much I needed to read this post right now. For so many reasons. Love you!

Kim said...


Ask Me Anything said...

Go big with it.

Anonymous said...

one big fat AMEN, that follows all the Hail Mary's.....
I love you love you love you!

Anonymous said...

I have a lot of guilt and self loathing around being selfish as well, taught to me by my lovely mother. All my children were home for lunch yesterday and I love them all but I thought to myself, I thought I was supposed to be alone now. I want to be alone now, which surprised me. Perhaps I should work on allowing myself to just be selfish and see what happens.

As for you and your book, it sounds amazing. And Rojo is divine, in all it's many forms.

Wanda said...

When I was in my 20s, someone told me about The Art of Selfishness by David Seabury. It was written in 1937. Classic. Timeless. Appropos now as it was then.