Sunday, August 16, 2015

I Can't Spare a Square!

I was 3 years old when the first episode of Seinfeld aired.  As a kid, I found the sitcom boring.  As an adult, I found a genuine appreciation for the series and I find myself often quoting or referring to it.  I am an original fan, staying up watching reruns before it was available via streaming media.  I've seen them all. 
Seinfeld is life.
The beauty and true comedic genius behind Seinfeld were the series of moments everyone can relate to.  From Jerry's dating experiences to George's employment woes, we've all had a Seinfeld moment. We have all encountered our own personal Soup Nazi at one point or another. 
In January of 1994, "The Stall" aired.  In this episode, both Elaine and Jerry are at the movies with dates. Elaine goes to the bathroom only to realize, too late, that there is no toilet paper.  She pleads with the woman in the stall next to her who refuses, saying "I can't spare a square".  The women never see each other, and both leave outraged by the encounter.  Later, we find out that the woman from the bathroom is Jerry's new girlfriend, Jane.  When Jerry hears Elaine's version of the story, he decides not to introduce the women.  Elaine runs into Jerry and Jane at  the diner and realizes Jane is the woman from the bathroom.  When Jane announces she is going to the bathroom, Elaine runs to the door and shoves past Jane on the way.  The next scene opens in the bathroom to find Jane is asking her neighbor if they will give her some toilet paper. The stall door opens to reveal Elaine sitting in the stall with all the rolls.  She exclaims that she "can't spare a square" before running out of the stall with her stash of toilet paper.
I often overextend myself until I feel like I can't spare a square (I wish that didn't sound like a fat joke).  I strive to be generous, but sometimes give so much of my money, time, energy and spirit that I have nothing left for myself.
It is distressing to me that I don't have financial security.  It is more distressing to me when I see someone I care about struggling to make ends meet.  I choose to help people struggle less, even if it means I struggle a little more.  It is a choice I make but doesn't make situations where money is tight any easier for me when I need the same support.  
It bothers me when I give of myself, only to feel like my time isn't appreciated when it is such a commodity to me.  As someone who deals with chronic pain, I have limited energy.  Giving someone my energy means something in my life doesn't get completed that day.  I hate that when I finally ask for help I'm treated as a burden; a burden I wouldn't be if I'd focused on my own needs to begin with. 
 It's hard to see someone take my generosity and abuse it.  When I work for something and have enough to share, I choose to share with the people I feel need it.  It bothers me when I don't get a simple "thank you".  It bothers me when people use my generosity like a handout instead of a hand up as it was intended.   It hurts when I give things to people I could have gotten money for, and they don't use it in spite of "needing" it. 
It's hard when I accept someone only to find they don't accept me because I don't fit into some mold or box.  I hate feeling like I've given someone a special place in my life only to find out I don't hold a place in theirs.  I hate when I've been accepting and gotten judgment in return.  I hate when I've shown compassion and acceptance and in return found intolerance.
 I accept that I don't get to dictate how people use the things I give them.  I also know I should only give what I can afford to lose or replace.  If we teach others how to treat us, I'm failing because I feel like I build one-way roads to other people.  At some point, when I realize that no one is going to spare me a square in return... I stop.
And so when I feel like I can't give any more, when I can't give to people who can't spare a square for me, I hoard the squares.  I hate feeling like I'm alone in my cave, running my fingers over the soft, double-ply roll as I call it "my precious".  I hate feeling like I grow apathetic.  I need to learn how to balance caring for myself, and giving to others in ways that make me feel good.


This has been a Sunday Confession.  The prompt this week was: Square.  I hope you'll take the time to read the contributions from all of the great writers who have chosen to participate.  If the prompt inspires you, feel free to link up your own post below or share an anonymous confession in the comments below.   Thanks for joining us. 

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