Thursday, January 12, 2017

REGIFTING's not spring yet but I definitely want it to be...

Do you know what regifting is? 

Here are a couple of definitions:

or another:

I notice a few key points about a regifted item.  

  1. It was unwanted 
  2. It was given away in the hope that it would be wanted
  3. It is wrapped up and portrayed as though it is special and only for the new person

Keep these things in mind. 
The first person didn't want the gift..
they wanted it so little that they wanted to give it away.  
They disguised it so that someone else would want it.

This is not necessarily a bad thing.
When a recruiter gives you Godiva chocolate
and you KNOW that your step-sister adores
Godiva chocolate.
It's totally ok to give her that chocolate along with the rest of her Christmas gift.
Here's another example.
If someone gives you a mug that you like
and you don't have any room in your house for more mugs
but you know your neighbor was really needing some mugs
and that she will absolutely love this mug too
then regifting is the right move.
Feel righteous.
I do.

Q:  But when can regifting go wrong?

A:  When the thing you regift is something that you think is crap.

You should not be giving other people something that you think is worthless.

That is not a gift.

That is taking out the garbage.

Let's run a scenario.

Let's say that my father gave me a ring for my birthday.  
My father is sooo excited about this gift.
Every member of our family for 4 generations has worn a ring just like this ring.
This ring stands for our family, represents who we are.
This ring is worth A LOT of money.  
This ring is valuable and precious.
To my father at least.
And presumably to the other family members who have worn one like it.

When I look at this ring, all I can think is....
This ring is horrendous. 
It is the ugliest, 
least inviting, 
least appealing thing
that I have ever seen.  
Not only is it ugly and not my preferred style...
it is also something that would embarrass me to own.  
The mere ownership of this article makes me cringe.  
I have watched the members of my family wear this same type of ring my whole life.
I played with it as a child while I sat on my grandmother's lap.
I stared at while recovering from illness.
I was excited as a child to get to this point.
I was honored at the thought of being mature enough to earn this honor.
I actually love all of these rings...don't get any ideas friends

 But now as an adult, I feel differently.
Somewhere along the way
the honor and love that are inherent in this ring
disgust me or make me feel small.
i consider ways to make it more ME-
modernize it or update it.
Wear it with other rings.


No matter what I imagine or try 
this ring is still a piece of crap.
I would definitely never wear this ring.  

So what do I do with this thing that I don't think is valuable?

Funny you should ask....
my friend has a birthday coming up.
This person is my best friend.
I love this person more than I love myself.
When I cast about for what I could possibly give this person,
I realize that nothing feels appropriate.
This person is part of my family
closer to me than anyone else.
We have a bond and I've promised to keep them safe.
We've been through so much in such a short time
and I know that I can commit to standing by this person forever.
There is nothing dark or terrible about this person that I cannot rejoice in.
This person is everything that I wish I could be.

Original Art by me

I think about all the people who have felt that way towards me
my father who held me when I was sick
my grandmother who shelled peas with me
and I try to think about what they would do in this case.
I remember the ring and the tradition and the value that my family places on it.
After thinking about it for a while
I decide that this is what I should give to my best friend.
I can think of no greater tribute to this person
than giving them this ring
(that I think is ugly and that I wouldn't be caught dead in.)

Wait.  what?

I think that it is awful
and ugly
and never to be seen.
But somehow, in my mind
 my best friend will overcome
all these judgments that I have against this thing.
I am confident in this person's ability to transform 
anything ugly into something resplendent.

Sometimes you're hustling while doing the dirty business...

 I wrap it up in a new, beautiful package.
I make it look extra special.
And I deliver it to my friend.

My friend's eyes light up when the package is opened.
This is EXACTLY what my friend has always wanted.
This ring means we are family.
That we belong together.
My friend knows the details about this ring-the weight and the meaning behind it.
My friend believes that I am giving them something that I value and appreciate too.
The look on my friend's face is everything I've ever dreamed of seeing.
My friend puts on the ring and I feel something powerful.
Maybe it is possible
that I have done the next best thing 
to actually wearing that ring myself.
Maybe it was never intended for me
but was meant for my friend.
This person who is so magical and extra-specially special.
I will give this friend everything I've got.
Especially the crap.

magical thinking gets you every time
A few days (or years) pass.
My friend is still my friend 
the magic isn't as fresh as it was.
And my friend ALWAYS wears that ring.
and my friend LOVES that ring.
Simply adores it.

And the thing is....
that ring is still pretty horrendous in my eyes.
I wish the ring could be reworked
new stones or a fresh coat of metal maybe.
Anything but that same ring.
Plus...not only is it ugly but after all this time
it's beat up.
It's not even shiny anymore.

But my friend LOVES it.
When I suggest a replacement or a fix
my friend quickly rejects that idea.
This ring is beautiful and perfect.
dr. Laura is pretty right on...even when you wish she weren't

And I friend is a total idiot.
No one could like this ring-much less LOVE it.
It becomes obvious to me that my friend is 
a poor judge of these things.
I will really need to get some advice from someone different.

And this is what happens every time you regift something that you think is crap.

Why does this ugly ass ring matter so much?

This is a metaphor I've been using lately for marriage.
More specifically, a metaphor for a challenge that I've seen in a lot of marriages-
including my own.

How many of us approached marriage as a way to belong?
How many of us showed up and said 
'I give you all of this, all of me, all my love'
while secretly thinking 
'who would want this pile of crap'?  

How many of us prayed that this person
this glorious, perfect-for-us person
 would never figure out that 
we are totally 
unlovable, uncool, unattractive, or not enough?

How many of us thought that being chosen, 
being loved unconditionally, 
being valuable to someone else....
would suddenly help us become valuable
to ourselves?

How many of us thought we would feel differently about that gift
(sub in your body, your heart, your family for gift in this metaphor)
 when we saw how happy it made that other person?

And how many of us eventually thought...
what an idiot that perfect-for-me person is
 for valuing me.
I'm just a worthless piece of crap and you're too stupid to see it.

Or another line in this magical thinking trail...
How many of us thought
the magic didn't work with THAT person 
so they must not be perfect-for-me.
Perfect-for-me is still out there.  
  Let me try it again with something or someone else.  
Maybe it will take this time.

How many of us gave the gift anyway?

Knowing that it wasn't a gift but was instead a pile of crap.

You can love someone else
exactly as much 
as you 

Stop giving the gift of crap.
Find what you truly love 
and know is priceless
and give that.

You are beloved.  Be a gift worth giving.  Or stop giving gifts....just give money.