insecurity

Little Miss Scarcity

Do you know her? She’s not part of the Mister Men or Little Miss clan I’m afraid. I loved them when I was growing up. I thought they were so cute and interesting with all their different personalities and characteristics. I never questioned their dissimilarities, They were exciting and unique. I was innocent and very accepting of the world around me. Everything was about discovery and nothing was impossible. I remember that when I was ten, I had the idea that I could be a doctor in the morning and a lawyer by night. Nobody ever told me that I couldn’t so I only ever knew that I could. Then I met reality and her very sharp teeth.

Another stage was born in my life and I only learnt about how difficult and tough things were. How I had to work really hard for whatever money that I would make. How life could be painful and full of disappointment and that’s when I learnt how strong I really was because I fought. I refused to give in and accept that kind of pessimism. My friends would tease me and call me ‘The Optimist” but they did it in jest because I think secretly they wanted some of what I was having. They didn’t want to feel as defeated and low as they sometimes did. They would occasionally ask me, “Are you high?” And I’d reply, “Yes. I’m high on life!” I became the agony aunt for many of them. I soon realised that the majority just wanted to hear themselves talk. They weren’t really looking for a solution. They just wanted to be dramatic and be the center of some attention. They continued to do the same things in their lives and feigned helplessness. I didn’t understand it and it became frustrating and energy draining. I started to become what I was surrounded with. I guess that’s why they the say, “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are”.

Then something magical happen. I was made aware of two tools that would change my life forever. I learnt about perception and choice and all the power they would bring into my existence. It was liberating. I no longer had to feel angry at the traffic. I didn’t have to say yes to doing something that I didn’t want to do just because someone thought I ought to do it. I learnt how to say no and be okay about it. I didn’t have to do anything. I had a choice. I could choose and I became a phoenix, rising up from the ashes. It was as if I was given wings.

This was the part in my life where I came full circle and I realised that reality didn’t have to bite. That I had the power to create my own world and that it could be anything that I wanted it to be. I became a little of that child again and the possibility was limitless. Sure I am not the doctor by day and lawyer by night but I truly believe that it is that way because that is the way I want it to be and not because I can’t achieve that. If I wanted it, it would be. Sometimes I still get teased and I’m told, “Well, I want a Ferrari!” My answer to that kind of statement is usually, “Well obviously, you don’t want it badly enough” And then we laugh.

Perception is everything. Not to make Choice jealous but really it is. I wouldn’t have created a new relationship with choice if it weren’t for perception. To further illustrate, I want to introduce the star of this show. Little Miss Scarcity. She is a lovely girl and she has a warmth about her that no one can deny. However, she is also very afraid and insecure and because of these elements, she can be infuriating. I coined the phrase for her because I understand that her reactions are based on one main thing and that is that she feels there is just not enough. And so when someone feels that way, they become greedy or stingy and she is almost manic about it at times and over such petty things.

One evening, after a dinner she had cooked for us, her mother and I had decided to clear up and dish out desert. When I opened the freezer to get out the ice-cream, there were several tubs in there and her mother caught a glimpse of one particular flavour which took her fancy. “Oh I’ll have that one” she said excitedly. Sadly, her daughter quickly answered, “No, you can’t have that one!” Her mother looked disappointed and a little taken aback, “Why?” Her daughter replied, “Because that’s the good one” and her mother looked at me and shook her head with disbelief. I ignored the whole thing because something like that coming from her was not surprising. Fancy telling your mother that though? That saddened me. Especially because her mother is one of the most giving women I know.

Another incident was when I was cooking dinner for them. She called me up and left a message about an hour before they were meant to arrive, saying that she wouldn’t be coming because she had to finish some work that was overdue but that she would send a container for me to prepare a “doggy bag” for her. It was more like a bucket. And yes, I filled it to the brim and when my sister asked me why I had done that, why I didn’t just put in her portion and leave it at that? I smiled and calmly said that it wasn’t a big deal and that it was only food. She then told me that I shouldn’t have because she wouldn’t have done the same for me and that she was just being greedy. After all she even wanted some of the dessert they had brought along for the meal and sent specific instructions to bring some back. Her boyfriend told me that if he didn’t bring some back that he would ‘be in trouble’. I ended up giving whatever we hadn’t eaten back. I understood the frustration that my sister had felt and how ashamed she felt for Little Miss Scarcity but I told her that it didn’t matter what she would or would not do for me and that I do not do or give in accordance to what others will do for me or give back to me. The important part in all of this was that this is who I am. Never mind about her. My legacy is much more important to me. And my sister gave me a hug and was silent. I knew she understood and that she got it immediately.

I do wish that Little Miss Scarcity would get that there is enough. That you don’t have to take so quickly from your neighbour. That taking in that way will ultimately perpetuate her feeling of emptiness because I can see that she is unhappy but pushes it aside and pretends that all is well. There is obvious imbalance in her life and a lot of fear. If only she would change her perception and free herself from the prison of desperateness she has created. She is essentially a good person. Would it be naive of me to say that I actually think that essentially we all are? Flawed definitely but also good. I know that eventually life will teach her that people do not gravitate towards takers. That sharing and giving is so much more rewarding. In the mean time, I will continue to love her and if she ever asks me for my opinion, I will tell her outright what I think but until then I will send her joy and peace and be the example. One day she may be inspired and reinvent herself with a shift in her perception too. After all, it starts with just a little twist in thinking and then everything starts to unravel and life can change dramatically for the better or worse. That is part of our power and ultimately, we choose.

Advertisements

The Petticoat Wars

I have four siblings. One of whom is adopted. She is actually my first cousin from my Mum’s family and after her father passed away in a car crash, she came to stay with us. I remember that day quite vividly because we went to the hospital and he was the first dead body I had ever seen. It was surreal.  He just lay there, lifeless and I recall feeling scared and anxious.

Maria was about fourteen when she moved in and she was a troubled teenager. Her mother had four children, each from different men and when she was younger, she was passed from one house to another growing up. My mother who was her godmother put an end to that when we took her into our family. I was very young when she came to our home. I didn’t have a problem with it. I thought that it was all very exciting and I loved her very much. Of course I didn’t really understand the dynamics of it all. She was ten years older than me and I already had a sister who was the oldest until Maria entered into the scene. They were only a couple of years apart and so they had more in common or so we thought. The truth is my sister, Talissa, was a bookworm and was very different from Maria. She didn’t care much for attention nor was she bothered about boys at that time. It was only later that I truly understood how annoying my sister found Maria and how her becoming part of the family would have an effect on Talissa for a long time after.

I was just a kid with my own issues and growing pains. I remember how Maria would drive me insane with her antics. It was always one thing or another. Believe it or not, we use to fight about petticoats. I know it sounds pathetic but I was a bit of a control freak as a child and I always had things in order. So much around me was beyond my control so I had to have that much. I was obsessive. I remember every dinner where it was compulsory in our household to sit and eat together at precisely 8.00pm, I would take the plate off the table and go to the sink to wash it and dry it before using it. My mother would always tell me to stop being silly and that it was already clean but I had to do what I had to do and so it became a routine that soon everyone was use to. The only time I couldn’t wash my plate was when we had guests so I would usually identify where I would be sitting and do some preparation before guests arrived. Understanding this, you will realise that the idea of someone coming into my room, rummaging through my drawers and choosing an item she liked to wear without my permission was a nightmare for me. That’s when the petticoat wars began.

It was just silly squabbling over nothing really but because of her heightened sensitivity and her deep insecurities, it was impossible for her to deal with me rationally. Everything was always blown out of proportion and she was ever the victim. This in turn lead to handling her with ‘kit gloves’ which would not help her deal with her demons in the long run. We felt bad for her and we wanted her to feel welcomed so tiptoeing around Maria was something we mastered very well. It was only later on in life that things changed and that happened because nobody can tolerate having to be careful and constantly on guard with their own family. We grew up and she had to catch up or be left behind. I soon realised that although I never had any issues with acknowledging her as my sister and it was never something that I debated on, it was a point of contention for her. She had the problem with that, not us. Even though my parents had done everything to ensure that there was no division or difference in their treatment of all of us, it didn’t matter. Her issues were too deep for her to see just how good she really had it. You couldn’t win with her. It was a constant test.

She was allergic to aspirin and I recall one particular evening when she had taken a pill that contained the ingredient and her whole face looked like it had been through a boxing match. I was hiding in the corner of the room because there was so much commotion and our aunts were all around her, getting her off the bed and rushing her to the hospital and for a child, that whole scene haunted me for a while because I didn’t know what was going on. I was petrified that she was going to die and I would see her lifeless body just lying there like her father did on that operating table years before.

For Maria, anything and everything is always about her trauma and her experience. You will never have it as bad as she has had it. Although we were close as a family, these issues would constantly be apparent and more wars would ensue. She harboured a lot of resentment and jealousy towards me, thinking that I always got what I wanted and things always came easy to me. She felt that any triumph or success that I enjoyed was some sort of negative for her. As if there wasn’t enough for everyone to share. There was always some bitterness involved and I let it get to me for a long time.

Maria taught me so much. I learnt that having everyone’s approval is really overrated and that self-love and recognition is the best kind of acknowledgement I could ever attain. She also taught me so much about unconditional love because til this day, I can say that she is my sister and that I send her the best of vibes and buckets of love. I learnt tolerance and acceptance from her too. Honestly, the list goes on but for the sake of a conclusion, I would say that one of the most priceless lessons I gained from having her in my life, is that I would never compromise my authenticity for anyone ever again. I owe that to myself and to the person involved. I am who I am and if you don’t like it, in the words of my marvelous mother, “You can lump it!”