Posts Tagged ‘giving’

Give and Take

Give and Take

A gift courtesy david.orban, Creative Commons License

Alright, I took a week. I’m sorry, I’ve neglected you and didn’t tell you why or give you a heads up. We good?

If only it were that simple, right?

It comes back to this today. At work I am a Giver, with my friends, currently, I am a Giver, and with Dashing, I am equal parts Giver and Cleaner.

Even with family, especially this time of year, I am Giver/Cleaner.

I suppose we could say I use this blog to Take for myself, and it’s true, I do get something out of it (even more than this, although this was nice!). Or I wouldn’t keep doing it, right?

So when is it my turn in real life?

Well, if past experience serves, December? Not gonna be it.

See Christmas is in December, and my nearly Christian family thinks that means something…

Mini-rant: Why do we all have to celebrate holidays at the same time? I get that it makes things easier for employers and the government, but really? It’s so annoying when the shops all close down and when I was a shift-worker who didn’t get holidays with the rest of the country (hotels never close, yo. Service industry For The Win!) it was d*mn hard to keep track. Is this a holiday where I have to remember to buy groceries before the shops close, or is this a “holiday” where consumerism reigns and just the lucky government and school children stop working? I never knew until I was sitting in my car in an empty supermarket parking lot thinking “Wait… I know this… Crap, it’s that day!” And the reasoning behind specifically Christmas (which is my family’s argument every year) and that it’s not about taking the holiday with the rest of the country, it’s about that’s when it is, Baby Jesus couldn’t help being born on December 25th — EXCEPT THAT HE DID! Religious appropriation – puts Christmas right up there with Thanksgiving in my fake holiday book… End Rant. Continue: Mostly Thought Out Argument…

Add to that my birthday is in December, this past week actually. And from where I sit, birthdays rarely seem to be about the person growing older. Maybe it’s my div0rced-child roots showing but if the point is that it’s my daaaay and time for me to do whatever I want then couldn’t I forgo the party? Or by that logic, shouldn’t that be a mandated holiday every year (I had my first uni exam on my birthday, so holiday mandation could have been useful)? At the very least – could I go on a crime spree and have no repercussions? “Sorry officer, it’s my birthday and all I wanted to do today is race down the highway at 150 km/hr and invite myself inside some nice person’s home (side note: now that’s how to make friends!)… ”

It just feels like this period is all about me but not actually for me.

And maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.

I get that birthdays are on the surface about surviving another year, and presumably acknowledging one’s accomplishments, and celebrating one’s mistakes, self-reflection, finding enlightenment – but they seem to end up being about how your mother was very uncomfortable once upon a time or how your ex would really like to get drunk and lock himself in your bathroom (true story) or how your community really just wants an excuse to eat, drink and be merry – which means you smiling – a lot… I get that ultimately holidays are about celebrating family and togetherness and gratitude for our communities. I understand that is an easier feat to accomplish when it’s scheduled in the communities’ collective consciousness. I get that the date is not actually important so long as the intention is preserved.

Maybe I’m a Grinch. Maybe I just resent being told what to do and when to do it.

After all, if the point is to celebrate your community and show your gratitude for how they lift you up and preserve you from harm – isn’t making it easier kinda lazy? Wouldn’t it be more meaningful if you took time out and made a holiday happen instead of allowing a religious or governmental institution tell you when to do it?

Wouldn’t you appreciate one of your friends celebrating you on a day that isn’t your birthday more than having to say “It’s my birthday, let’s party, and you can buy me gifts/shots/lap dances?” If it’s not about the gift, if it’s about the thought behind the gift… then isn’t a gift “just because” better than a gift “because it’s [insert holiday]”?

One Last Mini-Rant On This Subject: And for the record, while I would really rather not get anything, if you must buy gifts, on behalf of anyone born in December or early January – Christmas themed gifts are not birthday presents! Buy some new wrapping paper – or use comic books, or newsprint, or fabric, or a dropcloth – stay away from red and green combos (unless the person you’re buying for actually likes that combination – which is cool if they do) and go for red OR green instead, and for goodness sake anything with snowflakes, Frosty, Santa, or reindeer are not welcome unless, you know, the recipient collects that stuff. I would rather you write me a poem, or make a card, or give a gift certificate, or put some thought into what I might like, versus, OK check, gift done. If you can’t find a mug/sweater/tchotchke that doesn’t have Christmas all over it for a winter birthday, you’re not really trying, and it’s kinda insulting. I’d rather not get anything at all. Seriously.

The Point

Yeah, I'm definitly one of the spokes on the dented wheel

Broken Bicycle by Cecelia/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

OK, confession time.

I was a bad girlfriend.

I don’t mean that I was unsupportive or abusive, or even that I didn’t listen to him (I really hope none of those are true!). I had unrealistic expectations. Ridiculous expectations, in fact. It all comes back to this, doesn’t it?

I know that I am not a hub of any social network. I’m barely a spoke, these days. Dashing is a hub. He is one of those people who naturally draws people in, and manages to keep them around. People call him, book him for gigs, want to spend time with him, want his opinion, his perspective, his presence. I know I do.

For me, this is magic. I know it actually takes a good amount of work on both parts, but from the outside, it is magic. For someone unskilled at maintaining a community, it is awe-inspiring magic.

So I think some part of me thought that I could learn this skill from him. Or that it would rub off on me somehow. And when that didn’t work, and we’d been together for awhile, I think I began to think that if we just got married, if we just lived together, if he declared me family – then I would be part of the hub, too! I actually think this may be the source of a lot of our issues – my feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, and desperation to move foward (because it’s better over there, it has to be, right?), and his feeling pressured and like he couldn’t give me what I wanted.

Well, of course he couldn’t. No one can, except me, and I don’t know how!

This is not a new thought.

The realisation that I was unconsciously doing this to him, to us, is new, but the knowledge that I suck at maintaining friedships, and that no one can fix it but me, totally not new.

It’s actually part of why I started this blog. To figure it all out. To put my thoughts out there (semi) cohesively.
See, I’m kind of a hermit. Or I go through periods of hermit-like behaviour.

Part of this is that I newly suffer from anxiety, of the kind that avoids crowds and loud environments. And part of it is that I carry a good amount of shame around with me. I very recently figured that part out.

See, I try to stay in touch, but then people don’t call back. Or I organize a party and people don’t show up (true story!). So then I stop calling and reaching out, because if people really wanted to be my friend, they’d call, right? They’d show up, right? They’d do some organizing and invite me places, right?

So then I think, I’m not worth it, they don’t want to talk to me because I stopped acting and sold out to a corporate overlord for drugs and money. They don’t want to talk to me because our communal event which forced them to endure my presence is now over and so they can go back to their real lives, which don’t include me. They don’t want to talk to me because I’m not cool enough, I speak too loudly, I’m too opinionated, I’m offensive, I get too excited at the prospect of hanging out – maybe I smell…

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this. In fact, I think one of the keys to it all is that maybe, just maybe, love is all about giving.

Maybe nine times out of ten you feel like you’re the only one  participating, for the payoff of that one time when you get contacted. Maybe it’s always a struggle. Maybe they’re not calling you because they’re so wrapped up in wondering why you’re not calling them.

To Dashing, I’m sorry. Clearly, I have a lot to learn yet.

I thought we could learn together, but maybe these are lessons best learned apart. Maybe.

To the rest of the world – what do you think? Do you ever feel this way? How do you combat it? Do you never feel this way? Are you a ‘hub’? How do you do it??

Student living and me.

Just life. But through the eyes of a Blue-eyed History student.

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