Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Functioning: performing or able to perform its regular function

Our new year began with a broken fridge and broken tv within 24 hours of one another....the joys of homeownership! haha
So for a fridge to be "functioning" that means it is working properly and keeping your food cold, right? And a tv has to work and show you all your favorite shows in order for it to be "functioning", right?

Similar things could be said for people's bodies and our respective parts: a kidney is either "functioning" or not, same goes for livers and hearts and numerous other things that keep our bodies "functioning" as they should.

The word can also be used with people. I have often used the phrase "a functioning member of society" to describe people...often my former students at Pace as they grow up, graduate and then join the world that exists after high school and college. By my own standards I have been a functioning member of society since I was 19. I worked and supported myself financially at jobs I cared about and at some that I didn't, but I was out there making it work and adding my 2 cents to wherever I was.

I think a lot of people's self-worth is drastically tied up in what they do for a living and how much money the make doing it. I know mine used to be. You feel good about yourself when you work at a job and you are good at it and you make a good salary. There's nothing wrong with that; however, it very quickly can become the Only thing you see as valuable about yourself - this ability to earn lots of money - to be a productive and "functioning" member of society.

What if you are a housewife or a stay-at-home-mom/dad? Does the fact you don't have a salary and benefits mean you are no longer "functioning"? That seems silly. My Mom stayed home with me and my brother for over 14 years and she did a heck of a lot of functioning!
Whether you spend your time making and keeping a home, raising children, volunteering, raising money for worthy causes, making new friends, learning new things, traveling....aren't all these things ways of "functioning"?

Not exactly, according to in fact you used to be able to perform certain regular functions and now you no longer are able to perform those regular functions...or even if you choose not to perform those regular functions...well, it implies you just aren't "functioning!"

Pardon my language on this one, but to that I say, "Bullshit, Matthew, Bullshit!" (It's a Kulinski thing...)

Any definition that implies the hundreds of thousands of housewifes and stay-at-home-parents aren't "functioning" because they chose to work out of their home - I say that's just BS. And frankly, same goes for those of us that deal with disabilities, chronic illnesses and well, Life.

Life sometimes makes it difficult to function as we used to - we get sick, we get stressed, we get depressed, we get pregnant and skinny and fat and old and millions of other things - and we don't FUNCTION the same way that we used to. But we are still lovely, interesting, attractive, funny and productive members of society.

And who wants to "function" anyway? What a robotic word.
I would much rather LIVE.


Kimberly said...

I say that "functioning" can go "func" itself. Lord, i've failed at that functioning thing from day one and think it's HIGHLY overrated. Some of the best people in the world don't "function". Anyone can "function". Not just anyone can shine, sparkle, radiate, warm, impress, amuse, and you.

Love you

Kempton Mooney said...

There are not many who function on as high a level as you, babe.....