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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Little Gnarly Creature

I glanced at the bar tab and cringe a little bit. It has been a great weekend, but it comes with a price. Ouch. Mind you, I am not the one who's paying it all. My contribution is minimum and only when I was able to whipped out my card faster than him. Which, in my mind, what makes me cringe.

I'm worthy. I know this. I keep telling myself this fact over and over again. In a world filled with suspicion and fear, having someone who's unafraid to smile is priceless. Having someone who wont judge, someone who'll listen, someone who actually care is worth that someone's weight in gold. And yes, I am not so bad looking myself.

Yet I keep refusing 'payments'. Good things happened to me and I thank my lucky stars. Better things happened to me and I freaked out. I can't tell you how many times my friends and best friend roll their eyes in exaspiration, "because you deserve it", "because you work hard for it", "it's not good fortune, it's good karma". But the bar tab was still etched in my mind.

People think I am being humble. I am not. I am being a coward. It's easier to give than it is to receive. 'Giving' gives you the control of the situation, you get to dictate the term and how you feel about the whole exchange. 'Receiving' puts you in the mercy of the person who gives it to you. You don't have a say when you choose to receive something, your power is limited to either accept it or reject it. It is scary. It debilitates you.

But I give freely. I do things without thinking what I can gain from it. I want people to be happy. I want people to know they are not alone, that even though life is hard it is also beautiful and fun. I don't go around calculating life, who owes me what or whom should I 'invest' to. Why is it so difficult for me to think other people feels the same way too? Why is it incomprehensible for me that it is people just want to see me happy, no strings attached?

Beneath the bright and bubbly exterior, the little ball of sunshine, beneath the teddy bear appearance that ready for a hug anytime or to give comfort against the scary darkness of the night, deep down inside lies a little gnarly looking creature tightly hidden by a mass of knobbed thorny black roots. It looks at the world through the slits of the thick, suffocating roots that protect it. It keeps on looking at the world, longing to be there. But it can't.

The world is a scary place and human is not to be trusted. Deception and lies come in abudance. There is no shortage of greed and selfishness. The hand that feeds you may be the hand that hits you next. Expectation is beyond foolish. Why bother to hope when the only one you can rely on is yourself?

"But they are not giving it for free," the voice in my head reprimanded me. She was right. Didn't I show my gratitude and appreciation to people who help and care about me by showering them with love and affection? The food I cook, silly little surprises, never ending supply of hugs and kisses. And by them graciously accepting it, haven't I feel the surge of joy and a sense of accomplishment?

I am not Belle, the smart Stockholm-syndrome survivor who turn the table on her capturer. I am not Aurora, a damsel in such distress she'd rather sleep on it and still manage to snag a prince. I am not Cinderella, a house cleaning OCD that satiate the king's son's feet fetish. But that doesn't mean I don't have my merit. That doesn't mean people shouldn't love me for who I am, nor should I forbid them to. They are allowed to give, and I should be brave enough to receive.

Under the purple light of the cantina I glanced at the bar tab once again. A young Jedi walked past our booth. Behind the bar, the bartender with crazy contact lenses photobombed somebody's photo. Some people put glowsticks on their hair, one for every drink they purchased. My date looked at me and smiled. "Ready?" he asked. I took a deep breath, swallowed my fear, and nodded with a smile.

Deep inside a tiny piece of the knobbed thorny black root fell, and the little gnarly creature can see ever so slightly a bit more of the world. It frightens it, it hurts the little gnarly creature. Close it down, it begged, block it up! But the world outside is so beautiful. Its eyes lit with wonder over the tiniest sliver of the view from the world outside. The fear coiling up around it like a black boa, yet it still fixed its gaze on the little slit that showed it the world. It took a deep breath. We will be fine. I will be fine.

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