I remember when I first read “To Hell With Good Intentions” by Ivan Illich. I was at the height of my “Savior Complex,” filled with rhetoric about alleviating the injustices of the world: a modern day Superwoman. Illich ends his address with the line, “…Come to look, come to climb our mountains, to enjoy our flowers. Come to study. But do not come to help.”
I remember thinking about why “helping” caused such a negative reaction? I spent the next several years taking classes, working with community partners, reading books, dialoging with friends, neighbors, to better understand not only service, but also a bit about myself. And this is the bottom line: I like feeling needed. I like feeling that I can bring something to the table – that I am irreplaceable. And that is the problem.
If I truly value those in need, if I truly want to help, I cannot be irreplaceable – in fact, I must be absolutely replaceable, and not because someone takes my role and responsibilities, but because my role and responsibilities no longer exist. The conclusion of sustainability, advocacy, social justice, is that some day, some very distant and far day, nonprofits will no longer need to exist. Those systems of injustice – the vast and complex systems that required these organizations in the first place, will no longer exist. And if I derive my self-worth from being needed, in always being able to help, I am playing into a system that deep-down, I never actually want to change.
Having spent 2019 intentionally reading Womxn of Color, I'm carrying the same intention into 2020. Check out my bookshelf of some of my faves and send me recs!
When I'm trying to concentrate, I like having background music that's super dramatic. For some reason, instrumental music is instrumental (pun!) in helping me concentrate. Most of the songs are Korean-drama OSTs (original sound tracks), w/ a few classical music scores in the mix!
I don't categorize anything other than my "random round-ups" because it takes too much work (insert laughing emoji).