If this were the charity equivalent of an AA meeting, this is where I'd tap the mic, wince at the screechy feedback through the speakers, clear my throat with an awkward cough and say, "Uh, my name is Martha and I'm a Charitaholic."
When I was in elementary school, our class was asked to fundraise. I don't remember the cause, I only remember it involved public solicitation of cash from parents, friends, and neighbors. And I remember refusing to do it.
Oh, and no one could make me do it. Not the teachers. Not the nuns. No amount of Catholic guilt was going to sway me.
I don't know why I had this particular aversion to fundraising. But I do know after the class raised money, and I found out the amount, I made an equal, private donation to the same charity...but didn't tell anyone about it.
There is probably some psychological reason I have this weird dysfunction, but I suspect I'm not alone.
- publicly shun the donation till at Church only to sneak in after the service and stuff it with dollar bills
- refuse requests to fund races for leukemia and whatnot only to go online later and donate anonymously
- when alone, and only when alone, randomly dole out cash to all kinds of people on the streets...only to learn that some of them are not homeless or pandering, only bike messengers chilling between assignments (oops)
- often purposely over-purchase at restaurants and pretend you are throwing it away only to give it whatever poor soul is hungry and huddled in a blanket nearby
...then you, too, may have Charity Shame.
Why am I ashamed of charity? Maybe it's the word - charity. It's full of connotations. Like I'm somehow "better" and giving to someone "in need" or "helpless" which makes me feel all douchebaggy and squirmy inside.
But the truth is....
...I love, love, love giving away my time, energy, and money to other causes/people/friends/strangers. I really do.
NO. I DON'T MEAN IT LIKE THAT. STOP LOOKING AT ME WITH YOUR HEARTWARMING SYMPATHY EYES, DAMMIT.
Charity is fucking ridiculous and I don't have to do it just because you expect me to and get the fuck out of my face with your stupid cause.
(no really, it makes my heart warm and fuzzy...)
BUT NOT BECAUSE YOU THINK I SHOULD, DAMN YOU.
All right we're clearly not going to solve all my issues in one blog post.
Sometimes prickly people are charitable, too.
Stop making so many damn assumptions about us.
(grumble grumble grumble)