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Monday, 1 October 2012

More on silly ways to be upset over things I don't deserve to begin with

We got our Lancôme products today. Bought with a substantial discount (almost 50% off). Aunt A got facial creams and eye creams and a mascara for herself. She asked me if there was anything I'd like and I picked an eyeshadow. I might have mentioned before that I could have picked a gel eyeliner but the saleswoman didn't insist, neither did aunt A and neither did I. Fine. We picked them up today along with the gifts we got for the purchase. Aunt A made a point out of hiding them. She was visibly upset at the counter over less than 10% of the bill saying she handed her friend more money than was due and that our bag ought to contain more items. I pointed out that our bag, unlike her friends', should include the eyeshadow we got for me. I want to say she was surprised but it was more than that. I could almost hear it in my head: Did I actually buy something for you? Really? I can't believe I got you anything!. She put everything in her room and hasn't given me my eyeshadow or offered to let me take a look at the gifts to see if there's anything I'd like. Like with the Clinique products, I'm quite sure she'll only offer whatever she doesn't like.

As for the samples the other saleswoman gave us, intended for me especially? Aunt A gave them away to my cousin's girlfriend along with all the other gifts we'd been given so far and then some more she'd been stashing away. Now, when you consider that aunt A doesn't really like her all that much it really gives you perspective on what she might think of me. When the saleswoman asked me if I'd tried the samples and I did my best to act surprised like I'd completely forgotten and then I asked aunt A about it, if only so I had an answer to give the saleswoman, she said she might have put them away. She didn't look for them. She didn't think to take them from the bag she gave my cousin's girlfriend.

Sometimes she says she keeps these things to give away to people like aunt MT and my mother, but I sort of know for a fact that there's nothing much of interest left for them anymore. I also know she won't be buying a lot more to send them. I've mentioned twice now that I'd like to get perfumes for everyone back home because I know they're luxury items they enjoy and are less expensive here than they are there. Mind you, from the moment I first thought of it I've known it's coming from my money and I didn't even hint at wanting her to pay for it. This is my gift to them. At first she was a little outraged by the idea. Like it's silly to send them such expensive items (not all that expensive, if you ask me) just like it's silly she would have bought an eyeshadow for me. You'd think similarly if you wondered why a monkey would want a lipstick. 

When I brought it up the second time, she said she'd buy it for them and call it an early Christmas present. Did I tell her she should pay for it? No. I believe I even said once more that I wanted it to be my gift to them. But she's now going to pay for it (it seems) and I'm quite sure she'll resent it a little. If I can, I'll try to buy it myself, not with her, to avoid any problems (money wise, I'm sure I'll be in trouble either way). 

And it all boils down to kinds of generosity. I've grown up thinking that the right way to be generous is by offering things that make you go out of your way to make someone else happy in a special way that would make them (and them alone) happy. Sometimes, that means getting something you really like for someone else even if it means going without it yourself. Aunt A gives away expensive things (actually paid with uncle A's money) and thinks it's the same, but the truth remains that she only gives away second-handed items she doesn't like enough to keep for herself. Far be it from her to offer anything she'd rather keep. I grew up thinking it's impolite to get something nice for yourself when you're with someone else without at least offering. I feel guilty eating when I'm with someone else and don't offer. When I came across candy I know both my sister and I like I made sure to buy two pieces because it would feel rude to get one and eat it by myself while she had none. You might understand now why I feel it's so mean of aunt A to go buying lots of things for herself, often things she won't use, without offering me when I'm right there

Rationally, of course, I know she owes me nothing. I know they're being extremely generous letting me stay here, providing for me here, and paying for my education and I couldn't ask for more. And yet it feels mean. It feels an awful lot like charity and like I'm far below the nice things and therefore shouldn't want them because, what would I do with them? When bought the cosmetics there was also a strapless bra for me, also with a big discount, and aunt A was outraged by the price. It's true that it cost about as much on discount as a regular bra would without it, but is it not un-nice to suddenly gasp in surprise at how "expensive" it was? I do believe if it weren't for her friends there she would have made me return it and look for something else. I do declare I would have given it back because she made me feel horrible, as if I'd been asking for something completely beyond me. It was a bloody brassiere. 

I asked to get cheap clothes when I first got here (so most of the every day stuff is cheap) and I try to make sure that what is bought for me comes cheap, never asking for anything unless I actually need it. I actually sewed my bag when the fastener broke rather than asking for a new bag. I help around the house, sometimes doing more than the cleaning ladies bother to do. I'm fucking Cinderella here and I've come to believe I deserve rewards beyond a simple "thank you" sometimes. Maybe aunt A could have offered to buy the eyeshadows as a nice "thank you" present rather than be outraged that she might have bought me one. Maybe she could think that since most of my things have come for cheap it would be nice if sometimes I got a few luxury items rather than thinking anything pricier than "cheap" is undeserved by and wasted on me.


I just look forward to making money of my own. Then I'll owe her and uncle A nothing beyond my gratitude and I'll be able to afford buying whatever I want for whoever I want.

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