As 2013 pulls out of the station and 2014 pulls in, I find myself getting ready to go back to work on Thursday, and all that entails. I’ve had a good break. Bryon and I have spent some quality time together, and we’ve actually done some home maintenance. For example, we actually have some place to hang up coats and put our gloves when we come in the door! I bought a curio cabinet for the (soon to be) six Couture de Force Disney figurines I received for Christmas! New art is up!

Next weekend, the excitement really begins, as I sort through old magazines and cardboard boxes in the dining room. Maybe a new table cloth and curtains? My resolution to de-junkify and spiff up my home is well underway.


If such domesticity bores you stiff, one can hardly blame you. I begin my writing every day regimen tomorrow, which is much like skin care and exercise–it’s a good routine to get into. I do all three with no agenda, other than to do them and enjoy them, and to keep myself healthy physically and mentally. I intend to have one more appointment with David to follow through that I kept myself reasonably healthy and well-tuned during the holidays. (Nope, haven’t stopped the weight loss posts. One is coming soon.) Another reason that I intended to follow up with David is to successfully report to him that I resigned from the Mindbridge Board and the Icon treasury.

I admit to great trepidation. I did this with the best of reasons–I’m trying to balance more demands at my job with writing time. I’m still weighing whether I want to go back to regular teaching, but I will tell you this–the Mindbridge resignation has been a real eye-opener.

No one wrote to me to try to get me to NOT do it. I suppose that makes sense, because that’s what people do. You explain things maturely, make choices, and people let it go. But my EGO!!!! I’ve come to see myself as someone who is indispensable to the organization, and then, to receive a thank you note from one of the board members, and nothing from anyone else!

I can’t bring myself to be bent out of shape, because clearly this reinforces the message that I am the person who puts myself in boxes, and I thought I was of more value here than I actually was. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing was true at work, and even though I am pretty good at what I do, if I resigned, that would be it and life would go on. This is not to say that I don’t do a good job, and I’m not valued. The take home lesson is that I am not indispensable. I believe that the world could muddle through without me, should I choose not to get up and make sure it rotates each day. ;P

Which means, honestly, that the only reason to stay as an ELA coordinator, if that is the reality, is that I make and save more money in this position, which gets me to retirement faster. And the only reason, the most important one, to leave, is if I can’t get the resultant health issues under control. The rest of it is illusory and to believe otherwise is vain of me.


There is a take home message here for art as well. And you know it as well as I do. You gotta do this for yourself, and you can’t care what anyone else thinks, one way or another. What everyone else thinks is illusory.

Wait. Is some of that zen reading sinking in? Woah. Well, at least David and I will have something to talk about during our final session.

So, I am laughing at myself right now.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

3 thoughts on “Ego”

  1. For what it’s worth, I would be at the head of a chorus of saying “no, Cath, please don’t leave the board” — if I cared more about the welfare of the organization more than the welfare and well-being of a friend who has explained her (eminently sensible) reasons and is making a healthy choice for herself. I hope I’ve at least sometimes expressed my appreciation of your work over the years, and I won’t lie, I have trepidation about What Happens Next for both those jobs. But the last thing I want to do is “encourage” you to do something that will be harmful for you, simply because it will make a small organization — even one I care about — run more smoothly.

  2. Lindsay, first of all, thanks. Michelle called last night as well, with a similar message.

    Of course, both of you know that the post wasn’t about wanting people to call out my name in panic. It was more a sort of tribute to all of you for letting me out (how unselfish of you all, really. People from my background are always amazed by that.) and me laughing at my own concept of self-importance.

    It is preposterous to assume I am do make the world turn, and I always appreciate finding out things about myself and the world around me. What I found out is what I already knew, that you’re a good bunch, but that *I* made some assumptions about what the response would be. I seem to always default to irrational when I no longer know irrational folks.

    What I think is that I have some good friends here, and we have built something well, and someone will come along who may do things better than me. My understanding is that Jori is taking the treasury reigns for Icon, and I am dazzled by her competence.

    And there are people who could be on the board, who will be good in a different way. As someone once said to me, you replace positions, not people. So, we learn from new strengths, and perhaps gain from them.

    Jim Hines told me, wisely, that a writer needs to learn to say no. I’ve spent a lot of my life serving others agendas for good causes. My whole career is serving others. It almost feels selfish saying no, but it’s not, and I’ve got to learn that it’s not.

    At any rate, one of the fascinating things about you is that we can talk like this online, but we seem to be shy about it in person. 😀

    Thanks again.

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