There was this pretty girl who starred in a vampire movie that we made in our high school film class. I was in that film too, sort of. I was the clapboard girl, the take one/take two person. Usually these people aren’t on screen, but the joke was on me. I learned later in a big way how much of a cow I look like when I chew gum.
The day the vampire movie screened in the school’s auditorium, I discovered that they had included me in the footage. My huge face took over the screen while I clapped that board, fiercely chewing, blasé as hell. The audience was hysterical. It was comic relief in intervals throughout the film. I guess the teacher thought it would be funny to include it. Yah, thanks pal!
Back then I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day – I smoked, chewed gum, suffered angst… I bummed cigarettes from the vampire star of that movie sometimes. “How much do you smoke,” I asked her. “Two packs,” she said. “Two packs?!” A pack was too much, but two packs seemed over the top, especially for someone so young. We were 16, 17 years old. I had an uncle who smoked a carton a day, but he was much older and had mental illness. It probably gave him some kind of relief. At my exclamation, the girl explained that it was because she gave most of her cigarettes away.
That sticks with me to this day because it was so generous of her. Maybe that’s why she was the star of the film and I was just the cow chewing gum clapping the board. There were other kids I had grown up with who were generous, thoughtfully buying x-mas gifts for friends, nicely wrapped bottles of perfume, gift bags with trinkets of jewelry in them.
I admired this behavior. But gifts, for other kids? Not me. I probably did buy gifts for friends but only because I felt pressured. These other kids seemed to be doing it freely.
My spirit has shifted, I’m pleased to say. And I realize that giving isn’t just about material things, it’s about giving time, effort, presence. It takes me out of myself, especially when I get too self-centered. I don’t force give though – ha! It has to be organic.
I learn so much from others on this issue – the people who have helped me. I have a few great examples of friends who give thoughtful gifts and help other people, and there’s my aunt, an amazing woman with boundless energy that she uses to volunteer at organizations. My aunt doesn’t go around bragging about it either.
Yeah so, I need to erase some of that bad karma I created when I was younger. Anything I can help anybody with? – No, never mind, seems I’m not available — hahaha!