I've made you satchels
The virtues of a gift are also the liabilities of a gift. I think of my mother-in-law’s passive aggressive texts when I don’t thank her for stuff she gives us at Christmas and birthdays within the week. When friends have not adequately appreciated the gifts I have given them, I have to remind myself not to get upset or expect anything special in return. It’s petty, I say to myself, and yet there’s not a ton I can do to prevent it actually hurting my feelings when my own gifts go unacknowledged. The handmade ones ignored, especially, break my heart.
I used to make satchels for people. I may yet, again. I gave a few of these away one Christmas at a gift exchange but someone else at the party gave out luxury purses in the same breath and well, it’s hard to compete with luxury when my bags register somewhere in a class of junior high summer camp craft project. I was offended more than anything, by my own naiveté, when my handmade sacks were left behind by the guests.
I have continued to make things for people to my own detriment. I must be sublimating some pathetic but deep-seated need to be valued.
Why do we keep giving what is not ours to offer, to those who do not want it?
Last month I saw a satchel I made with pure love (the purest love), get trampled in a public setting and its owner did nothing to protect it. Pardon the hokey metaphor but the footprints on my broken hands were clearer than such gestures as human emotion. The footprints were too beautiful to hurt my feelings.
I always joke about the awful care packages I receive from my mother. I don’t have the heart to tell her to stop shipping things that will likely get lost in the maelstrom of the many other bribes in my life. You don’t need to prove your love with cheap tchotchkes that remind you of me, mom. But I don’t just discard these items. I look at them, often in the morning—ritualistically inside their parcels, as if a point-of-sale altar, postmarked packages ripped open—how do you interpret me with things, if we cannot abide by words? How do I tell you I love you, with something besides facsimiles of my soul, containers that have clear surfaces for you to lie down upon. I’m asking you to take a nap inside of me but all you hear is sentimentalism. You need a nap, though. Trust me.
I must learn that the gift is not always accepted in its intended form. My moms are wise. They just want me to take the gift and let them know it was received. They do not care what happens once its in my possession. The delivery was the gift. I could learn from that. Could you?
I have to believe that for you and for me, that the gift was ever used—it was—was ever seen—it was—and is ever understood—more than anything else—as something that is mine and yours all at once, is enough.