Something I like about myself is my generosity.
While I certainly like doing and buying stuff for myself, I get an oddly more satisfying feeling from doing and buying stuff for others. This translates a few different ways across different contexts. It means that, for example, I am happy to spend a decent chunk of money on ice cream and lunch and whatever to make my little brother enjoy a day of being treated. For my friends’ birthdays, I will buy the perfect gift, or will create something thoughtful tailored just for them. If someone I know is not doing well, I will invite them over for dinner and make them feel welcome.
Genuinely, one of the best memories of my life is the extended work I went through for a certain friend’s birthday. I did just about everything I could think of that they would enjoy, from singing them happy birthday with my uke, to making a collection of words of love from people that cared about them.
Like, I didn’t exactly “get” anything out of it, and I went through it all without any personal expectations, but I still felt very fulfilled and happy afterwards. Just knowing someone I cared about had more joy in their life because of me felt amazing. Giving and showing love was just… nice.
I’ve been going through a somewhat difficult time lately.
Moving to an apartment I’m paying full rent for, and living without any financial support from any of my family has been tough. I have to be careful with my money, and even then it’s not enough. I definitely have enough for the basics, but every few weeks I realise there’s another necessary long-term expense I haven’t taken into account.
When I first moved out of my aunts’, I spent a decent chunk of my ‘expendable’ savings buying pots and pans, dishes and cutlery of my own, etc. Then I moved in to my new place, and had to purchase a drawer. After that came a chair for my computer desk. A toaster. Now last week I ended up buying a bunch of cleaning products since I hadn’t taken into account I’d been using my aunts’ up until now.
It’s just small stuff, and I won’t have to spend money on it again for months, or years, or ever. However, there are just so many expenses like that, that no matter how many I get out of the way, there are still more. I bought the cleaning products last week, then realised this week I need to buy new PJs. That’s going to take a significant bite from my disposable income next paycheck. I know the week after that, I’ll realise there’s another thing I need to purchase.
The larger problem isn’t that I don’t really have much money to be throwing around purchasing things for myself (though I do feel awful that I probably won’t be able to afford Pokemon Sun and Moon when it comes out,) it’s more that as the things I need to buy pile up, I have to compensate with money from elsewhere.
Last Sunday I had some tea for dinner, then on Monday I bought a packet of peanuts for ‘lunch’ to hold me over till I could eat a proper dinner at home. It was terrible. I couldn’t even focus properly on work because I kept thinking of how hungry I was. The same thing happened on Tuesday, but worse. I ate something tiny around lunchtime because I couldn’t afford more, and while I was waiting for my dinner to cook that night, I collapsed on the floor and nearly broke into tears from how hungry I was.
I suppose that was a low point in my life.
Maybe not in the usual sense, since my job is going well and I feel satisfied with my relationships, but definitely in the ‘how do I feel at the moment’ way. While I’ve known plenty of emotional and mental exhaustion, stress, and pain, I’ve rarely had to deal with physical discomfort, and definitely not of that sort to that extent.
I hope I will never find myself in that place again.
I made a post on a facebook group that’s close to my heart, because I was just feeling so frustrated and sad. The biggest issue wasn’t even how I felt starved; I cared more about the fact my body won’t fill out properly. I am essentially going through puberty again, after all, and it’s hugely important for my physical development as a woman to eat well. I thought of how my already tiny boobs probably won’t grow much more than they have if I don’t find a way to feed myself properly, and I couldn’t even deal with the feelings it brought up. I’m getting a second chance at puberty, but I won’t get any more do-overs. This is my last opportunity to end up looking like I want to, but if I fuck this up that’s it, I can’t try again.
Do you realise what that does to someone?
It’s been eating away at me this past month. It’s been hurting me through my insecurities about my body, my fear of rejection, my memories of the pain and effort I’ve gone through to get where I am. I felt like a complete failure, like a waste. Past me had worked so hard for so long for me to be where I am now, and I couldn’t even manage to make the most of the opportunity they’d given me.
As I was saying, I made a post on the facebook group hoping to hear some sort of comfort for all my fears and frustration and despondency.
That didn’t really happen. Instead, a bunch of wonderful, loving people tried to help me figure out a way to find help getting food, and some of them even offered to buy me groceries or send me money. I couldn’t accept it in good faith and thought I was too relatively well off to take resources others needed more urgently, but this all happened while I was still waiting for my dinner to cook. So while I was lying on the floor trying not to lose control and cry, I realised how arrogant and stupid I was being.
I accepted the generosity of one of those people, and she spent some of her own money on buying me some groceries. Not just one or two things, but a ton of food I hadn’t been able to afford last time I went grocery shopping. I ate some of it right then and there, and put the rest of it away.
Giving what I have has always felt great, but I haven’t been on the other side of it too often. I was reluctant to accept her offer because of some weird pride, but after I got over it, I realised how incredibly comforting it was. I’ve rarely felt so loved, appreciated, and cared for as I did looking at the box of groceries someone had given me, blinking away tears.
So, thank you for the generosity you’ve shown me.
I hope the kindness I’ve tried to show others has made them feel half as good as how I felt then. I’ll try my hardest to live up to that; it’s amazing to feel such strong encouragement during a difficult time.