I’ve been gone for a while. I needed some time to experience things to write about. Does that make sense? I hope it does.
In my month long hiatus I realised that I am constantly keeping tabs, tallying what people have done for me and to me, good or bad. Concerned that I am not giving enough to my consistent friends and family, annoyed with myself for apportioning more to an individual than they warranted. You see I am a giver, it makes me feel good to bring others happiness. But over the years, I’ve started to notice that I am the reliable donkey like the one taking Mary and Joseph into Bethlehem (queue the Christmas song Little Donkey).
Cautious Cousins (sorry I love alliteration)
I have a cousin that I grew up with. With all family with have traded favours indiscriminately over the years – a borrow of the car here, a loan of $100 there, some babysitting, etc. I loved her unconditionally until we took a few trips together. I realised she was miserly counting every cent each of us was contributing into the trips – taxis, meals, etc with the exception of the hotel which I paid the majority for, go figure? She would regularly get an attitude if I came up short for a taxi journey (I admit, I am rubbish when it comes to carrying cash) when I wasn’t bothered about the gap of 100’s when it came to the cost of hotel. We never discussed the disparity in reactions but when it comes to lifelong relationships, isn’t it petty to be concerned about a pittance of dollars and pounds when you’ve probably gained far more in the duration of the friendship? To be honest, the past few trips and the focus on pennies have caused me to reclassify my relationship with my cousin.
Crossing Oceans When They Won’t Cross Puddles
It’s been over 6 years since I returned to the UK. In that 6 years, I have had 3 visitors. In that time, I have returned to North America approximately eight times. Don’t get me wrong, no one owes me anything. But what upsets me is when my friends and family consistently question when I am returning to the US as if this is something I owe them, as if I have some infinite disposable pot of cash. I don’t think anyone is asking with intent to offend me but they do. No one thinks “Well damn, Reds may tired” “Reds may be sick” “Reds may want to have someone come to visit her”. I left some pretty heavy memories behind in Boston and every time I visit, it costs me, financially and emotionally but it feels like no one really thinks about that. I just get remarks about how long its been and how this person was expecting to see me and that person was expecting to see me. My father hasn’t even made the journey to England to see his only daughter using the excuse that he doesn’t like long flights. I have other cousins tell me they are planning trips to London (I live in Manchester) and won’t come up to see me. All in all I feel a bit like an after thought when I am expected to put others first.
I realised that I made life way too comfortable for many around me. At the end of the day, my tallying system is a form of self preservation. It is helping prevent me from expending more energy than I need to. Spending money than necessary. Reaching out to people who don’t reciprocate. I used to regret my tallying ways but I am okay with my bubble of protection now.
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