“Admission is easy, just say you believe and come to this place in your heart.” Prince, Paisley Park
Everybody knows about the five love languages, right? If you don’t, here are the Cliff’s Notes: there are five ways that people speak and understand emotional love 1). words of affirmation, 2). physical touch, 3). acts of service (devotion), 4). quality time, 5). gifts. It’s no accident that when reciting these, I always list gifts last. Gifts have never really translated to love for me. But that’s just me. I had a boyfriend once who was ready to break up with me because I had not given him a Christmas present. I thought he was absolutely nuts. He thought I didn’t love him, which further made me think that he was absolutely nuts because I had been pouring love all over this man in the form of quality time spent together whenever I wasn’t working, at school, or mommy-ing and acts of service like cooking meals for him, which he never ate. In his own way, this man adored me and still does. I love this man with my entire being, but you have never seen two people more miserable together. He texted me a few days ago to tell me that he still loves me which completely pissed me off. Love, to him, is a sweet text reminder that he is thinking of me. Love, to me, is being here. We speak two different languages and have not been able to understand each other for years. >sigh<
I am the recipient of much love in my life, but for years, much of it went unnoticed. I get a lot of gifts. I mean, like, a lot. From friends, family, lovers, and strangers. I have always joked that people just give me things. Seriously. I get a lot of gifts. The thing is, I rarely reciprocate. I have just never been a gift-giver. In part because my identity was always “I am a poor single mom.” And for much of my life, I was. I am not anymore, but that’s the tricky thing about “identity” it hangs on. I’m working on being more generous with gifts because I now realize (thanks, in part, to that boyfriend) that people like gifts and it makes them feel loved (especially if that is their love language).
Nowadays I will buy a gift for someone because I know they will like it or make good use of it, and I am happy when I have that thought. I also still get a lot of gifts. Sometimes when I receive something, I am definitely thankful for it, but I also know that someone else might really like that particular thing or make good use of it. Re-gifting isn’t just for horrendous, tacky gifts that you receive and don’t want. I had quite a few things in my possession that were given to me, but in my heart, they had someone else’s name on them. So today I gave them away, with love. I won’t go into the specifics of what exactly was given away, because if you gave it to me, I don’t want you to think I didn’t appreciate it. I did. And I know the new owner will appreciate it too. We both thank you.