Today, my Give seemed to backfire, energetically. A homeless man asked me for change, and I offered him the grocery gift card I've been carrying around. He asked how much it was for, and I said, "Five dollars." He scoffed dismissively ("Only five dollars?") as he pocketed it. I heard myself say, "Well, that's all I can afford!" - but he was already on to a guy walking behind me, asking him for money.
I know that giving is about me being willing (and able) to part with something; it's not about the recipient being deserving, and it's not about being appreciated. But wow, his attitude really pissed me off, and it threw me off for the rest of my day. (I've also seen this guy around before. He's one of the more aggressive ones, in terms of asking for money.) I spent a while processing why this exchange bothered me so much, and I think it was his energy - just aggressive and almost bullying. That triggered some old stuff in me. So I decided that, in the future, I can choose to give to someone else. Not (I'd like to think) because I need to be appreciated, but because I want to give freely and not out of feeling bullied. I didn't like how that exchange made me feel.
It was just a weird day all around. Prior to that incident, I took my work down to the waterfront and began this new project - which is mondo confusing; I don't think I have enough information to deliver the desired results. (I'm not too worried about that.) While I was there, a man walked by, and I nodded to him. This is someone I see walking almost every day. I've spoken to him a few times, when he's been sitting with the transient man I used to write about frequently. But I don't know this guy; all I know is that he seems very gentle and that he lives outdoors (he has said this is his choice; because of the temperate climate here, there are a few people - men, mostly - who choose to go 'off the grid'). Anyway, he stopped and said, "Why don't you ever say hello?" I was taken aback, and I said, "I wave to you." He said, "But why don't you ever verbalize it?" I was even more taken aback, and I replied, "I'm usually listening to something or am thinking about other things." Then I added, "In the future I will make an effort to say hello." He said, "I appreciate that." And he left. What bothered me is that it's compounding the feeling of "Would he ever say that to a man?" I don't feel threatened (at all), and unlike the last time this type of issue came up, I've never felt like he's intrusive (at all). I mean, I only see him literally in passing. I just don't like being told what to do - and I'm angry with myself for not saying, "Because I don't." (And in thinking about it, I don't usually say hi verbally when I'm walking - I smile or nod or wave. It feels awkward to make myself say "hello." I'm extremely introverted and don't particularly enjoy being social). I want to be open and friendly and treat everyone equally...but on my terms. And it feels like that intention is backfiring on me.
Maybe the lesson here is that I need to diversify my giving a bit more. I feel extremely safe here, yet I also know that people in survival mode are always going to want more and more and more (that's the only way they know how to survive), and to be known as "the woman who gives away money" probably isn't in my best interest. Doing it indirectly, through the cashiers or stealth gives, is another matter. I don't know. I'll have to think about that.
And then tonight, I had a brief interaction with someone very close to me - my only really close friend here - that left me feeling a bit jarred. There was nothing wrong in the interaction itself; the "jarred" part is a scenario I'm making up in my head...for which I have absolutely no basis. So I'm grateful that I have enough awareness to see that I'm the one making myself upset.
On the bright side, at least I was able to give the card. And I helped out a woman at the coffee shop. So there's that. But overall, today really felt like a write-off. I'm sorry this isn't more upbeat, but I just don't have the perspective right now to write something more positive.
I hope you all had good Tuesdays! Cheers! (I can at least be sincere and positive in that wish :) )