Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Taken advantage of... and finally smart enough to realize it

I know I'm supposed to give until it hurts. It's starting to hurt.

My friends are great, and I'll do anything for them when I can. I love cooking for people, and I really have fun entertaining them when they come over. Most of the time they bring ingredients or offer to pay a couple dollars for food--that's how we do things. But when I go out of my way to make dinner or dessert and they show up for a quick bite before heading off to other friends' houses, I feel pretty bad. Not exactly a fun way to spend an evening.

At work, I'm expected to give money to buy flowers for funerals for coworker's relatives. I give for birthdays, parties, special treats, and other things. The department has fundraisers every month for the poor, the hungry, the freshmen... it's a never ending cycle of give, give, give! And I walk away from giving my precious $5 knowing that I could have used it for two lunches instead of suffering through my usual peanut butter sandwich.

Two evenings each week I get to spend with my sister before she heads off to late classes. Sometimes we cook dinner together (I'm trying to teach her to cook more than macaroni and cheese), and sometimes we just hang out. She has a key to my apartment, lets herself in, and studies until I get home. Among other perks, she can study in peace and quiet, in warm, comfortable surroundings, with food and water at her disposal. Sometimes I come home to find her stuff strewn in every room, food all over my desk and crumbs on the floor, and even dishes in the sink. I'm not complaining that she eats while she studies, but the dishwasher is right there. If she's not going to cook me dinner, the least she can do is get her dishes into the dishwasher.

The clincher for me was yesterday. I spent five hours of my precious day off (gotta love personal days!) following her around with a camera taking pictures of her. Then, once she left for class, I spent another two hours editing those photos. I fed her, taught her how to poach chicken, and gave her my undivided attention for the majority of my day. I don't recall hearing a single "Thank you, sis." AND THEN! Tonight, when I got home from a dance, I noticed she'd gone through those pictures without my permission and used them on her Facebook profile. It doesn't bother me that she used them--they're actually pretty good--but that she'd let herself into my apartment and snooped through my computer files... unacceptable!

I work hard not to be in debt to anyone for anything. I take pride in being able to do things for myself, and I really do like helping others learn new things. I enjoy feeding people. But I'm feeling very taken advantage of. I don't want apologies or offers from people to pay for things. I want attitudes to change. I want people to realize how hard giving can be on a tight budget and limited resources. This probably sounds like I'm a whiny brat, but I'm going to stick up for myself this one time.

Editor's Note: I wouldn't have posted such a rant if I'd not spoken to the concerned parties before writing it. While I may be airing my grievance here, I have already taken care of matters on my own. My blog is not a platform of communication for serious matters. I was simply ranting.

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