I am not a pie chart



My son doesn’t like it when I nag him.  I justify it by saying I don’t push him nearly as hard as I push myself. Lately, I’m starting to understand where he’s coming from.

I have this inner voice that hisses at me when it thinks I’m not spending time as I should. I want it to shut the eff up. If I’m working on the novel, I should be practicing, if I’m practicing, I should be working on a grant proposal, or some new submissions, or I should be running, or maybe even cleaning house, or cooking dinner.

I feel so divided these days, my mind always in many places at once, fully present in none.

My wise friend Sarah W. Bartlett wrote about wholeness last week, and it really resonated with me. I feel the stress of serving many masters. The irony, however, is that all the masters are me. It is my own expectations that I bounce up against, my own desire to optimize at all angles. The reality is that it’s not possible.

I am one being, one person. I am not a pie chart. I cannot be divided into parts and percentages, each one fighting for a share of the whole. Each one cannot grow infinitely without straining the resources of the others. The only way to grow is to build a bigger pie, which requires each element to create more energy than it burns.

Artistic endeavors can fill my soul, can move it beyond its natural boundaries, but only if I remember that I am just one person. I am not a writer, or an artist or a musician or a mother. I am all of these things, together. And to balance these needs I have to view them in sum total. I cannot be a house divided.

So I choose to pursue whatever moves me at any given point in time, be it music, or writing, or sleep, or a really large cup of coffee. As long as it serves the whole rather than itself. Which means housework can wait. Talk to you later–going for a run.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Mark Morgan ©2011 Creative Commons


16 comments on “I am not a pie chart

  1. whimsygizmo says:

    Ohhhhhhhh. I relate to this so well. Whatever I am spending time doing, I should be doing something else. Ad infinitum. Goodness. This hits home.

    My name is De Jackson, and I am not a pie chart, either. Though I would kill for some pie.

    • Consider yourself an inaugural member of Should Anonymous. The first step of the 12 step program is eat the pie, don’t be the pie (and make mine a lemon meringue or berry crumble) There’s a post in there somewhere!

      • whimsygizmo says:

        Eat the pie…don’t be the pie. Eat the pie…don’t be the pie. Eat the pie…

        I think I’ve got it. Make mine coconut cream. 😉 Or I could share your berry crumble. With coffee. Lots of coffee. Oooooo. I would LOVE to have coffee and pie with you! 🙂

      • Oh man, I love coconut cream pie. It’s like that scene in “Michael” where they order every kind of pie the place makes? I have dreams where I do that. I would love to have pie and coffee with you, especially if we busk music and poems afterward. 🙂

      • whimsygizmo says:

        Yes, let’s busk. Busking is a must. We must busk. Busk, plus bask in the task of tasting. Mmmmmm.

  2. mgb says:

    Great post…thanks.

  3. hiyacynthia says:

    I feel ya, Jeannine! I am in the same boat. I keep hitting myself in the head with my own oars, LOL!

  4. I’m totally loving the riff on pie. When my nephew married, his wife wanted not a traditional wedding cake but a selection of pies. Guess she’s not a chart either, huh?!!!

    So I love baking pies AND love a good (strong) cuppa. When and where is the first meeting of Should Anon?!!! Step 1: eat the pie, don’t be the pie. Step 2: bask and busk. Step 3: sing yourself whole, in harmony

  5. Amen! I just came to this same realization lately. Basically, I tell myself, “Self, give yourself a break!”

  6. […] I am not a pie chart apparently hit a nerve.  As I am not alone in casting aside the divided self, I am launching my own movement. I’m calling it SHOULD ANONYMOUS. For those who feel they always should be somewhere else, doing something else, the time has come to own your problem. So say it with me. […]

  7. […] Bergers Everett over at mobyjoe cafe recently posted I am not a pie chart, which segued into a rather nice discussion about pies in the comments section. (Warm apple pie […]

  8. Jeannine, I absolutely loved this post! I feel the same way. It’s hard when I’m pulled in so many different directions and I don’t feel like I can give my all in every case. I love this: “So I choose to pursue whatever moves me at any given point in time…” I think that is a wonderful place to be! You inspired me so much I had to write my own post about it…and I dropped everything else to do it!

  9. Veronica Roth says:

    I guess part of my pie chart is Northmoor village resident and contributer to the village flower and veg show. Tomorrow I was all set to make an apple/pineapple/ginger pie and now I’m all confused. To pie or not to pie. Piece out, 3.14… 🙂

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