This is a Pinterest inspired rant. Yes. One of those. I came across the above quote the other day and had a knee-jerk reaction of anger. Why? Well, to be honest, it’s because I’m the kind of person who a) hates statements like this, b) enjoys, and is satisfied with helping others. Thinking through my reaction led me down a few interesting trains of thought and through some personal history.
1) It brought up my old Dungeons and Dragons days. Yes. I was one of those strange geeky girls who played DnD and wore over-sized baggy plaid shirts and t-shirts. Deep down, that girl still lurks inside me. She lives alongside the farm girl me, and has been joined by the boutique girl me.
One of the great gifts of DnD—and there are many—is the insight it gives you into yourself and others. We’re all a little freer when we’re “role-playing” a character. There’s a safety when you’re just playing a character to do things and say things you might not normally do. It’s like the idea of you don’t know who you are until you’re put in an intense situation and then who you really are will come out. DnD creates fake intense situation with the covering of role-playing that lets you have some insight into the people around you that you might not otherwise get. (This is why choosing who you play with is very important.)
When I first started playing, I always played fighters and barbarians. I wanted to be the biggest and baddest in the bunch. (This also manifested itself in an odd height competition between me and my brother that resulted in us both having ridiculously tall characters.) I wanted to exert myself, prove myself. I was totally butch all the time . . . and almost never happy. See, I’d try to lead and then when it was important, I didn’t like being in charge. I tried to be big and bad, but no one liked my characters. I wasn’t a nice person to be around.
After many post-playing discussions centered on my unfeminine characters, I decided to try some of the support classes. I decided to try to help instead of lead. (Some feminist somewhere is vomiting.) I switched to playing rouges instead of butch, beefy fighters. Now, I had some great butch characters, namely TearSong and Phoenix, but I quickly found that I, myself, was much happier with my rouges. Rouges are the ones who help the party. They sneak around in the shadows making sure the party is safe.
I learned that I’m more content as a sidekick, as a helper.
2) I did the same with our business. Our boutiques were never my vision. Ever. And when the time came for me to shoulder the bigger leadership responsibilities, we sold the boutiques in less than a year. (There were other factors involved with this, but this was part of it for me.) I didn’t enjoy being the Boss Boss. I don’t mind being the Boss, but to be THE BOSS, isn’t appealing to me.
Trains of Thought:
I like helping other people build their dreams.
This doesn’t mean I don’t have dreams. I do. They just aren’t grandiose. They’re small. This is not because I lack heart or passion, but because it’s in my nature to be a sidekick, to be the Samwise Gamgee of the story, not the Aragorn. I don’t want to be Aragorn. I can be a captain. I don’t want to be a general. I’m content helping the general.
This quote makes it seem like a bad thing to help build someone else’s dream, but really it’s an insult to everyone who has every helped you.
As someone who has spearheaded many projects both in our business, at home, and at church, I try to always appreciate those willing to help me. They are vital and necessary. I need helpers to do the things I need to do. The dreamers have to have people who help them build, and oddly enough, the helpers need the dreamer.
We live in a society that almost always focuses on either the employee or the boss. We need both. We need someone with money to start the company and we need someone to work the machines. We need the hero and the sidekick. One without the other doesn’t work. And being the helper is no small thing! Our society likes to look down it’s nose at the idea of a man leading his family and the wife helping him, but all that does is degrade helpers. Helpers are very important. That would be like the general deciding he doesn’t need captains, or the business owner deciding he doesn’t need employees, or…the hero trying to save the world without a faithful sidekick. It won’t work.
And, it’s not an issue of forcing someone to help when they’d rather be a hero, either. There are people, like me, who are very happy being the helper. We don’t want to be the hero. We don’t want to be the top dog. We derive immense satisfaction in helping others succeed. We enjoy being on a team, working with others. We enjoy being the moms in the background, the geek behind the computer, the rouge in the shadows, the wife beside her husband.
It took me a long time to realize I am a sidekick, but I am. And once there, I’m content and happy! There’s no place I’d rather be.
Update on my Health:
I’m slowly but surely feeling better. As my doctor said, I must patiently work at getting better. This means lots and lots of rest. So this week I’m on light duty, very light duty. I hope to get the Christmas decorations down by the end of the week. I’ve had to forgo a lot of things I would normally be involved in, but it’s given me time to read, pray, examine my trust in God’s providence, and lean on my husband for a time. I’m so thankful for my church and my family who have brought meals, prayed, picked up groceries, texted me, and reminded me that I’m not forgotten or alone even while I’m trapped on the couch. I’m not back on schedule with the blog yet, so please bear with me as it’s very hit and miss right now. Writing can even wear me out. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts over the last few weeks and going forward into this new week.