I was accused many years ago of using a guy I briefly dated.
He was kind, sweet, helpful. You’re probably ready to judge me here, but let me explain. I’m a pretty independent gal. If there’s a problem, I usually can find a way to fix it solo.
The sweet guy, however, helped me a few times and overall, I’d like to think we helped each other. When I decided there was just too much sweetness for me to handle, I ended the getting-to-know-each-other stint. That was when I was accused of “using” him.
Um, hello? It’s our human nature to use each other.
I cooked awesome dinners and gave great massages. He bought me flowers and fixed my computer. See? Give/give and take/take.
Here’s another confession: I use my girlfriends too. When I’m seeking deep introspection into my life, I call Iris the Intellect. When I need to vent and drink whiskey, I call Betty the Barmaid. And when I need to dance my ass off and enjoy life, I call Dina the Diva.
And this variety of people in my life is what really makes the world go ’round. One person cannot possibly fulfill every one of our needs; thus a circle of friends.
And here’s the balance: I know I’m being used too.
I may not be invited to every social event, but when I’m needed to have a deep chat about our childhoods, I’m called. When I’m needed to support a particularly rough break-up, I’m pretty good at listening and make a mean dirty martini. And when my help is needed for motivational advice, it’s good to know I’m thought of.
I give. I take. It’s the beauty of relationships. Life itself gives and takes.
Flowers take nutrients from soil but in return, they produce amazing beauty to stare at and inhale. Then those flowers get cut down but are given to someone who’s depressed. And that someone who’s depressed is now more compassionate to support others in pain.
So giving and taking kind of sorts itself out in the most lovely ways.
I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my mother’s very painful childbirth on our kitchen floor, thirty seven years ago. I’m grateful and in return, she has the joy of seeing her two granddaughters blossom into little people.
My husband uses me for my fancy domestic skills and I use him for home repairs (while I drool because he’s so damn cute).
I’ve come to embrace this idea of being a user, because I derive so much happiness in receiving many gifts from my loved ones and in knowing that I give (hopefully) just as much to their lives.
I no longer hide under my covers in bed, shutting out the world in fear. I no longer clutch selfishly to my possessions (material or otherwise). My life has opened up like a poppy in full bloom, letting in and giving out freely the gifts of love and friendship.
So if you’re in need of a massage or some mending, I’m your girl. And the next time I need to dance my bum off, you know who I’ll be calling.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Assistant Editor: Yaisa Nio / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s own