many years ago when i first met my now-ex-partner (who is still my closest friend and more family to me than my actual family) one of the things that drew me to him was a conversation in which he stated how he believed all people could be put into two categories: magic and non-magic. at the time, it made sense to me. it often still does. of course his theories changed throughout the years, and his categorization varied from the magic and non-magic to republicans and democrats, texans and non-texans, to tippers and non-tippers (that one made the most sense to us, since we were both cab drivers at the time and you could tell quite a lot about people from how they tipped).
from time to time i think about this, this one or the other grouping of people and while i know nothing is ever quite so clear cut, i do believe there might be some truth to the matter.
a few weeks ago i went to visit an old friend, someone i know from what seems such a long time ago, a whole other version of me that i can barely even remember. it is always good to see him, he is such a joy and someone i admire and look up to a great deal, someone that always makes me feel as if i want to strive harder, focus more, be wiser and stronger and better at being the person i am supposed to be. he and his new partner (who isn’t really new anymore, but i haven’t had the pleasure of spending enough time with him, so he still seems new to me) are so kind and caring and funny as hell and things are always just EASY. and easy is what i need right now in the midst of so much constant chaos and exhaustion with the current familial/living situation.
so it got me to thinking again about people, and kinds of people, and after seeing another friend that weekend, someone i don’t know all that well but who is always such a kind and gentle spirit to be near and someone that appears to really LISTEN to the words you tell him (amazing!) and who is probably one of the best damn huggers i’ve ever encountered, i drove away from the whole weekend summing up my observations about such things and it kind of came to me then on the long quiet drive back:
givers and takers
those are the two kinds of people there are.
and of course even givers sometimes take and takers sometimes give, but the majority of the time our personalities divide us into one or the other.
i think i’ve come to realize this because i have so many wonderful givers in my life, but yet have also had so many really crappy takers. we all have i suppose. and while it’s impossible to completely eliminate the takers from your realm, and we need them to help achieve some sort of balance, i do say that i have spent the last few years trying hard to better establish boundaries, so that the takers don’t take quite so much and to allow the givers to actually give.
it could be said that there is another, third, category: the takers-disguised-as-givers, (and these are the most harmful ones to know) but in the end they are just takers. they are the ones to watch out for though, they are the ones that cause so much hurt and frustration and confusion and pain and heartbreak, for those that they take from, and for themselves. though i suppose that’s true for all takers, for can one truly live a good life if one doesn’t know how to give?
the trick about the takers-disguised-as-givers is: they don’t know it. they honestly believe they are givers. while, yes, there are takers that consciously try to employ giver qualities in order to be able to sneakily take, the takers-disguised-as-givers don’t wear their disguises in conscious malice. they believe themselves to be good and kind and generous and while they may confess to a certain level of faults (which good givers often do) they really have no clue as to how much life they are sucking out of your veins.
i then concluded that a fairly good litmus test for distinguishing the givers from the takers-disguised-as-givers is in how they hug. (though, granted, this isn’t an entirely foolproof method of distinction as i know some very lovely givers who aren’t much into hugging.) but while reflecting upon all of this i thought back to some of the more notorious takers-disguised-as-givers from my past and i realized that, in hindsight, ALL of them could be noted for their big seemingly bountiful hugs, but yet every one of those hugs just seemed “off”, even though they were wrapping you up and supposedly giving you something good and loving, there was an underlying feeling that they were draining some of your life force.
i’m certain this makes me sound crazy, hopefully some of you will connect with what i am meaning.
so, on a recent trip back to chicago, to immerse myself in music for a few days and catch up with some old friends and coworkers, i surrounded myself with givers. it wasn’t so much a conscious choice, i just began to notice throughout those days that every single person that i was sharing time with was a tremendously good-hearted giver. and while i certainly have my share of infamous takers in that handsome city, i resisted the urges to call them up, meet for a meal or slice of pie or a walk, because FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE i decided to just be all out good to myself. finally. i’m hemorrhaging so much giving right now with my grandmother-care that i very much needed to be the recipient of some major giving. which is not the same as taking. i am beginning to learn this balance, i hope.
the grace in all of this?
i know so many wonderful people.
kind and talented and caring and gifted and hugely-loving and smart and wickedly funny and beautiful
i’m going to do my darndest to give just as much back to them as i possibly can.