sharecropping

In ALL, INTROSPECTION by Stephanie Klein27 Comments

It was all a lie.  The curriculum said we’d learn to share in Kindergarten.  Finger-paint, yes, share, not so much.  I had play dates where I was forced to let new friends touch my stuff.  No, not while we played doctor, gutterkids; I’m talking trains or a new doll.  But it’s mine and I don’t want to, but mothers whisper and you’re seen as bad if you don’t.  Praise, and cookies, come with sharing.  What a good girl.  Pat. Pat.

When my childhood friend Hillary and I went to the movies, I offered, “can I get you anything?”  All she wanted was a diet coke.  Done.  I can do that.  I got my most favorite disgusting item in the world: spicy nachos from the heat lamp box, with extra cheese.  I know, gross, whatever.  Mine.  Here, would you like one? Say no. Say no.  Say no. 

“Oh sure, thanks.”  I want to stab her in the eye with the pointiest nacho in my lap.  Okay, very nice.  Let’s watch the previews now.  La-di-da. 

She takes another one, the good one that’s been saturated and is now softened with warm cheese.  I hate her (hate with an enunciated "t").

I’m not 8 in this scenario; I’m 28.  I still can’t share.  “Oh, I’ll just have some of your fries, okay?” 
“Um, no.  Order your own.”  I swear to God, this is who I am.

Linus is a bully.  I mean, forget food, that’s obvious and common with all dogs.  But he doesn’t want to share his mommy either.  He’ll bite you for her.  Don’t even think of trying to pet him while he’s on my lap.  He’ll think you’re cutting into his one-on-one time.  It’s like you’re asking for an eye patch. 

And now I know how he feels.  I’ve developed a growling problem.

I thought I was getting good at this.  I’m ashamed to say this.  I have two friends that I’ve recently introduced to one another.  Now, they email and chat on the phone every day.  They order in dinner and watch movies together.  They go out without me.  I feel replaced, and I want my land back.

It made me cry at my desk today, even as I write this.  I’m so menstrual; that has to be it.  Okay, for good measure, throw in some jealousy and insecurity.  Now we’re talking.  I hate that I feel this way.  I’m ashamed that it hurts me so much.  Feelings don’t know right from wrong.

Intellectually, of course it’s silly.  Parents, for example, don’t love their first born any less once their second and third children arrive.  But a five year old still feels jealous.  I’m not five or in kindergarten anymore, though… I should know how to share.  I don’t want to control or dominate anything.  They’re not mine.

Baby steps I guess.  Maybe I can offer up a nacho as emancipation. One.  Okay, fine.  Two.

Comments

  1. I once went over my friend's house to play after school and her mom came into the family room carrying a plate with two pop tarts on it. When I reached to pick up one, the woman said, "Oh, no dear, this is Shana's snack." I'm sorry, WHAT??? So I sat there and watched the kid eat. I think sharing would have been appropriate here. Or maybe the slap-worthy bitch could have given me my own set of tarts. I KNOW they could afford the 16-pack box…that brat had a fucking pony.

    As for accidentally setting up friends and triangulating myself out of the equation, been there. And I can relate to the shame of caring about it. I always feel so dumb, as an alleged adult, to say, boo hoo, "You hurt my feelings." Talk about kindergarten. Nobody wants to seem weak or petty, but it still stings. I've even gotten mad for not being included in events that I would never even go to in the first place. It's just the principal of the matter. We all like being included. We all like feeling like our company significantly contributes to a good time. I've always blamed this what-about-me? behavior on my only-childness. At least it's somewhat comforting to know others have felt this way…

  2. I know the vulture critics are waiting to swoop down on me for the 'suck up,' but who cares?

    "She takes another one, the good one that’s been saturated and is now softened with warm cheese."

    OMG, that's legendary. I know you don't like LOL, but I am sitting her cracking up out loud at that vision. That's what you do, ya know. You *and* your words. You make people laugh. You make people angry. You make people cry. You make people think. That's a friggin' gift and that's genious.

    Look. Read. See all these comments? Smile, girl. People love you. Doesn't that rock? Sure, you don't have a companion, partner, spouse, boyfriend, or whatever and that sucks; but you're not alone. And that's something to feel warm and fuzzy about the next time tears come a croppin.'

    Just thought I'd share this with you.

  3. Ok…had quite a few drinks and dinner with many friends this evening…so ignore grammatical mistakes and typos.

    So, you are selfish and you still haven't learned how to get over it. Since you say you are trying to work on it, I think you need to continue it.

    Selfishness can be a downfall in any relationship. Life is about sharing. Even more so in a relationship. It is when two people come together at that level that they share everything. It just doesn't mean sharing experiences or sharing chores (although that helps). Sharing food with each other is only minor and can be ignored.

    I can understand Linus being jealous and selfish because it seems like he is left home alone a lot, doesn't get the daily walk he wants, etc. That doesn't mean you don't love him, but he wants his time too. Probably he doesn't get enough time which is why he gets that way. Too bad you can't bring him to work every now and then which would satisfy him and you. You also have to remember you are all that he has. If he had another person too, then he would be sharing you more because he knows he has another person.

    Now if you are being selfish in a relationship (meaning you don't want that person to go out with another woman on a romantic level), then I believe that is ok. However, if you want to have them 100% of their time (meaning outside of work) then that will likely not work unless that person feels the same way about you. People need time to spend with their friends. If you both have the same friends, then that works even better. It also won't work if some of his friends are women and you become selfish and jealous when he spends time with them.

    Being jealous especially without a reason will without a doubt cause significant problems. A guy should not put you in a position of being jealous (meaning flirting with another woman). If he does, just send him to the curb because he is playing games.

  4. Are you sure you are feeling jealous or insecure? It could be that you are overly generous and caring (e.g., being a matchmaker of sorts) and are feeling that others don't reciprocate as much. Resentment due to unrequited generosity and caring sometimes masquerades as an inability to share, jealousy, and insecurity. When was the last time friends tried to set you up with someone desirable? If they have recently arranged a few dates it's likely you would be happy about the success of your recent introduction despite the temporary loss of companionship. How often do others gladly serve you first before serving themselves?

    It could also be the case that your friends are absolutely wonderful and equally generous and caring–very likely–but stress can make you extra needy. Stress can last a year or more and just weave itself into the fiber of your personality and sit there unnoticed until it manifests itself in unpleasant emotions and reactions to frivolous matters. How do you overcome feelings of neediness?

    I loved rereading your "dogs and their owners" post. I am happy to say that my two dobermans are about as much protection as a sharp and pointy nacho chip. Protection is not why I got them. Magic is handsome and has presence and personal magnetism. Mara has a delightful loving personality.

  5. My little boy goes with me everywhere, too, whether I like it or not. He's chewing on the claw leg of my chair, actually, as I type this…impermeating my office with his perfect little dog smell. Good thing my boss is a dog person.

  6. I have a friend where with every other friend I introduce her to, she has this tendency to become closer with than I am. She's been doing that for years and years and I can really relate to the way you feel right now. It sucks – almost like something's being stolen. Sure, it's fine if they hang out ONCE in a while — but the second their time together surpasses your time together, you feel threatened. I guess I've just tried to accept it, and really started looking at it like maybe they have a little more in common than we might, and maybe — it's time to branch out and make some new friends. Not saying lose the old, but don't be afraid to meet some new girls who can be just as good a friend to you.

  7. I love those fake-cheese nachos too. I have to refrain from getting them because they are so tasty and yet evil. I'm sure that in your situation, if I had offered to get someone something and they got a stupid diet coke, and then wanted to horn in on my good nachos, I'd feel a little irritable too. Especially if she took the good one. Get your own nachos next time, diet coke drinker! :)

    When my hubby & I first got married, we'd go somewhere and I'd get a soda. He'd say "I'll just have a sip of yours." And then drink way too much. I made him get his own damn soda. Nowadays, we tend to share food a lot cause restaurants here in Texas think we all want to eat three meals at once. But we split the food onto opposite sides of the plate. I guess my point is that food is not exactly shareable in that way. You can share a sweater, and it's still around later to wear. Share a barbie. Share a donut? Not likely. Get back or lose a finger. :)

    Maybe let your friends know you want to be included by doing a three-way email, or three way phone call series. It doesn't have to be a two-person friendship– you introduced them, obviously they both like you and probably don't realize you feel left out. I think of it like a cat, rather than a dog. If a cat feels left out, they rub on your legs, weave in and out and meow. Hop up on your lap and offer kitty massage therapy with paws kneading your tummy. You can't help but pet them and maybe give them a kitty treat. Dogs will growl and push you away…. kitties get more snuggles this way. With soft insinuation, instead of growly teeth.

    Unsolicited advice again. I know your stories aren't written to ask for advice but I can't seem to help myself.

  8. I too get miffed when my buddies start socializing without me – esp. when I intro'd them. But then again, I'm just a tall 5 year old. You're quite normal sweets.

  9. If I'd wanted half an order of nachos, I would have ordered it that way…

    This post — it's my life. But I'm working on it.

  10. Do these particular 2 friends read your blog? If they do, then doesn't this seem like a somewhat passive aggressive way to let them know that their behavior is bothering you? If they do read your blog, a healthier way to deal with the situation might have been to share your feeling with them directly and then, if you wanted, share it on your blog.

    If they don't read it then disregard this post entirely.

  11. My four year-old son was inconsolable yesterday morning. What set him off was that we told him he couldn't watch TV in the AM before his older bro and sis got on the bus to go to school. Ah, the morning routines…

    Since he was in full "Woe is me" cry, I guess he figured he'd unload his other grievances with the world in a three minute endless crying rant. The target of my son's wrath: Ryan Hurley.

    Aside: Ryan Hurley is his best friend… and he is ONLY ever referred to as "Ryan Hurley"… first name and last name… even when my son is talking to him… "Hey Ryan Hurley, let's play Rescue Heroes…" This social norm is only outdone by his older 5-year old sister. She has identical twins in her classroom with names like Jasmine and Renee. I brought her into school one day, and she ran up to the both of them for hugs, saying "Hi Twins!!!" "Can you tell them apart?" I asked my little girl. "No." So seeking an answer to the constant grown-up conundrum of "What-to-do-when-you-can't-remember-someone's-name," I asked her, "So what do you do when you're only talking to one of them?" "Easy, Daddy. I just say 'Which one are you?'"

    Back to Ryan Hurley and my crying son's tale of woe. And I quote: "Well, Daddy… Ryan Hurley borrowed my UPS Truck and he took it HOME with him and I asked him if I could have it BACK and he said 'NO!' and he said he put it in his CLOSET where nobody could GET it and he said 'NO, you can't ever, ever have it BACK!' and I don't LIKE Ryan Hurley anymore and I want my TRUCK back and I ALWAYS share with him and he NEVER shares his toys with ME and that's not FAIR and I'm really MAD and I want it BACK!"

    Now, all three of my children are generous to a fault… but to a LIMIT. I've seen them (at times gregariously, at times when they know that they're being observed by their parents or Santa Claus) not just let each other borrow toys, but say to my wife or me: "So-and-so wanted to borrow my (insert small now-forgotten toy here), and do you know what?? I told them they could KEEP it, Daddy." [Eyes widening.] "FOREVER."

    Sensing that my son might have been thusly posessed, I asked him if he had GIVEN the toy truck to Ryan Hurley 'forever.' Yes, he said he had. "But I want it BACK now."

    "Well Danny, you gave it to him. You really can't ask for something back when you give it to somebody 'forever.'"

    The pal that bogarts the nachos, the spouse that doesn't order their own but take most of yours, the friends you introduce that hit it off better than you realize you wanted them to. Nobody ever said sharing was easy, or fair.

    It happens. It hurts. Especially when you share The Big Brown Truck with Ryan Hurley and he doesn't share back.

  12. People who eat your nachos are TACKY. One or two is fine but, beyond that you should let them know they are being obnoxious – IMHO.

    I have a friend that's like that – she'll ask for a drink of whatever you're having and then take a huuuge gulp. Same with sandwiches – the biggest bites ever. Now, luckily we're close enough that I can say "Yes you can have a bite – but not one of your usual big honking bites".

  13. Having an open mind about divorced people may be associated with knowing at least a few people who have had amicable divorces. If one has only known divorced people who are jaded and have latent unresolved issues that cannot be uncovered no matter how much one gets to know the person, a divorced person may appear quite unappealing. When it comes to evaluating prospective lovers or spouses it's better to have a detailed checklist that is free of labels, but that doesn't mean that concerns (e.g., jaded about passion, unable to trust, exaggerated fears…) reasonably associated with evaluating a divorced prospect are not included in the list.

    Having an open mind about someone suffering from an STD is difficult. It's hard to put the risk and benefits in a perspective that would permit a rational calculus. My inclination would be to run, but I know that's contrary to my rational approach to everything in life. It's possible to have children through c-section so as to avoid exposing them to the herpes virus so it's not like contracting the disease is certain, at least for one's children. Precautions may allow one to avoid contracting herpes, but the possibility remains that some will contract it despite the precautions.

    I guess one way to look at this situation would be to consider whether one would be willing to take the chance of getting a bad case of something milder like the flu 4 more times a year every year until death as a price for being or having been with someone with herpes.

    For some people, even regularly contracting the flu may sound like too high a price to pay for one's soulmate. However, that could be because they have never been in a relationship in which they loved someone deeply, so an appreciation of the concommitant rewards is not there for them to incorporate in their calculus. I wonder how others feel about this. Would you tolerate the flu 4 more times a year as a price of being with your spouse or lover? When one is in love can someone even rationally make such an evaluation? Instead of the flu you can substitute something else you abhor. For example, you may want to use as a substitute arguing and screaming for an hour once a month or sleeping in separate beds 6 times a year on account of being upset with each other. With each sentence being typed, being single is becoming more and more appealing, but having had parents who were happily married for over 40 years still makes the grass of matrimony appear inviting and greener than that of being single.

    I am in such a good mood today I don't want to work. I heard from Dan, and he is going to drive the not van to a buyer. Thanks for the virtual companionship everyone.

  14. I honestly cannot imagine that I could care less if a "childhood friend" were to eat some of my self-described "disgusting" nachos. If I have decided to keep a friend since childhood, they clearly have earned the right to eat some of my food.

    Perhaps since you mention in other posts your past life as obese, you are a tad food obsessed.

  15. hey robotnik, shut up already. no one wants to read your lame ass comments.

  16. Sharing is hard. Whether or not you're menstrual. But as parents, we feel pressure to "do the right thing" and make sure our kids share their precious toys. Now that I have a child in pre-school, I'm getting a different perspective. "What if you were told to open up your jewelry box and let your friends wear anything they want and walk around with it? How would that make you feel?" The short answer is, "depends on the friend", but when a teacher posed that question to me, I realized I needed to handle my expectations of my preschooler differently. I LOVE that for now, she doesn't HAVE to share. I will live vicariously through her for another year when things will have to change a bit, as social expectations do. But as life has it's little surprises, she is openly sharing some favorite things lately WITHOUT coaxing. Is altruism innate? I don't know. I don't think so, but maybe by good examples we learn…and learn…and learn. Some friends should know better than to dive in to that saturated nacho. Ah, I guess it depends on the friend…

  17. Robo,

    You're right. But long and roundabout in comparison to WHAT???

    YOU try diplomacy between two four-year olds!

  18. I feel you. I don't like sharing either. The person you are being polite to will take the best part of the food that you are eating. I will go and buy someone their own rather than share mine. I had a female friend that would plunge her fork into your plate without asking if you had something on your plate that she wanted to try. The server would have barely set the plate down and she was digging in your food. The first time she did it to me, I told not to do it again very politely, the next time she did it. I just took my plate and dumped it into hers. Then I got the waiters attention and reordered for myself. She sat there stunned for a few minutes and went to the ladies and cried. And believe me from then on she never pulled that crap again when I was around.

    And I had two friends of mine that I had introduced to each other start hanging out without me and I felt the same way you did for about a minute. Then I realized they were both kind of needy and I didn't need that crap in my life. So now I only call them when I need something done for me and we are all happy.

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