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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

#2 The Ungiver

I’m not a very giving person by nature. I’m sure that I was one of those kids who wouldn’t share my toys because I never broke that habit. I had a much older brother so I was practically an only child. I didn’t have to share anything with him. My mother is a tiny, short woman, and I am a tall athletic gal, so we never shared any clothes. I developed pretty early so I was always too curvy to share my clothes with my school-aged girlfriends (plus my mother wouldn’t let me). By the time I got to high school, the stinginess was ingrained.

The girls in the college dorm made fun of me because I NEVER leant out my clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry, and especially make up to anyone. Then I joined a sorority where I fought tooth and nail to get my very own closet. It was so tiny that I had to bring clothes back and forth from home. Other students took bags of dirty laundry back home for the weekend visits with the parents. I took armloads of clean clothes on hangers so I could swap them out with other clean clothes at home. I had a sort of rotating system so I could wear everything I had. My sisters didn’t understand why I would opt for privacy over space. I would watch how they would try on each others things and mix and match accessories. They would say things like, “I have the perfect belt that would match that tunic.” Then they would rush away and bring back not only the belt, but a purse and maybe some earrings, as well. Some girls would leave the house for a date wearing nothing of their own. I couldn’t believe it. And, of course, everybody wanted to borrow something of mine, something they’d seen me wear. I would make up excuses like, it’s a size 20, or it’s dirty, or my friend in Wichita borrowed it and hasn’t returned it (that bitch). They would just nod their head disapprovingly and go back to the gaggle of girls who would share with them and bond. It became apparent that if anyone wanted to borrow anything of mine, then they would have to take it when I wasn’t around and claim a wardrobe emergency. “I waited for you to get back from class, but then I just had to go to work and just had to wear your shirt. You don’t mind, do you?” Uh…yes. I would get really irked when someone would help themselves to my lotion or perfume or whatever consumable I had in the bathroom. I fantasized about setting traps and catching people in the act. I remember going through some pictures that a roommate took. Everyone else was looking at the main focus of the pictures – the people in them. I was looking at the background for stuff of mine they were using.

The fact that I had a lot of stuff exacerbated the problem. People think that if you have a lot of stuff, then you can afford to share or that you should share. But my sharing problem has never been about monetary issues. I never saw pennies flying out the window when I caught someone using my things. I saw a boundary issue. Yes that’s right, I have boundary issues. Don’t get into my physical or emotional space, or else. I guess I feel that if you borrow my belt, then you know just a little too much about me. Yep – I’m totally nuts.

So here is why I am blogging. I am going to start a little self improvement project. I am going to become a giver. I, at 40 years of age, will finally learn to share. I am fairly certain that being a giving person is the better way to live. I have a feeling that sharing will have an affect on various other parts of my life and the story will be nothing short of miraculous. I’ll probably end up on Oprah’s couch talking about how it changed my life. But, be sure of one thing, this is not going to be easy for me. I plan on doing things that will make me very uncomfortable, and I will tell you all about them. You’ll probably laugh at my idiocy and mock my failures. I hope you’ll be a little inspired to give a little, too, because this world needs something right now. I don’t have any idea if this is the answer, but I’m willing to give it a shot.
I plan to give at least once a week, for starters. I will share my time, or my belongings, or any talents or expertise that could be useful to anyone in need. I will seek out opportunities to give, orchestrate a plan, share, observe the outcome, and then report about it in this blog. I promise to keep my sense of humor about me and always find the upside in all of this. If you can’t laugh at yourself, then who can you laugh at? Read along and enjoy, but whatever you do, please don’t ask to borrow any of my lip gloss. I’m not ready for that…yet.

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