I’m not a fan of sharing. There, I said it.
More specifically, I’m not always a fan of sharing. I can be very protective of my stuff, my friends, my personal space, my time, especially when others treat them carelessly. Maybe I’d been done wrong too many times. Like when I was in junior-high and I lent one of my favourite pairs of one-size-too-small, lie-on-bed-with-hips-thrust-in-air, pull-zipper-up-with-hanger, randomly-bleached-on-purpose jeans to a friend. When she finally gave them back (after my asking way too many times), they were unrecognizable to me. They didn’t look or fit the same, the denim felt weird and the zipper was busted. HELLO?! I wanted to cry. She gave me a lame excuse, like, “I don’t know what happened. The zipper just busted,” and that was that. I mean, what was I supposed to do? We were 14 and we were “friends.”
When I started dancing I entered a big giant world of sharing, and not just any sharing but super touchy feely, right up in your face, with good amounts of B.O., kinds of sweaty sharing. Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem sharing say, a bag of nuts. The problem isn’t with the concept of sharing the nuts, but the method. Since the nuts are in a bag and many dancers aren’t washing or sanitizing their hands before reaching into that bag, well, you can imagine the nastiness growing with each grubby handful. Honestly, I want to share my nuts, but my eyes and brain are frantically darting dirt, feet, sweat, hands, dirt, feet, sweat, HANDS! Don’t get me started on people who’ve asked for a swig from my water bottle. That’s just all kinds of inappropriate. Yes, as previously blogged, I’m a tad OCD too. And what am I supposed to say when asked for a swig of this or a handful of that? “Sorry, I’m uptight and you’re gross?” I don’t want to be that person, but I’m so clearly that person.
For the most part, we dancers are very generous with our stuff and our time, especially when we’re young. Forget your dance pants, socks, t-shirt? “No problem, you can borrow mine!” Want me to work past the end of rehearsal, put up these show posters on the other side of town, wear my best pants as a costume and do a fitting during lunch without any extra compensation? “Of course!” Me? I became increasingly bothered by these things, or the assumption/expectation that I would be happy to do these things. Look, I barely ate during my third year at dance school and the year after that and the year after that… I sacrificed enough for my fucking art!
I like birthdays. I like celebrating my birthday with friends over dinner, drinks – low-key, all good. But a milestone birthday is different. When I turned 40, there was another gal in the company where I worked whose birthday was the same day, but it wasn’t a milestone. There was chatter amongst our colleagues about a potential “shared,” celebration. Now as much as I like a certain amount of attention (after all I am a dancer and, apparently, a “show off,” according to my sister), I generally don’t make a big deal over a standard birthday. But for my 40th, I had to pull a Diva and declare, “NO SHARESIES!” 20 was good, 30 sucked, and 40 was ahhhhhh angels singing awesome, so YAY ME!
As a 40th present to myself, I saved enough money over a few years, to take a long-wished for trip to Italy. I put the word out to a few potential travelling pals, but their hemming and hawing and lack of urgency to commit, not to mention having to accommodate their needs/likes/dislikes was bringing me down. Damnit, this was important to me! This was my Eat, Pray, Love trip (sans India and Indonesia), and I didn’t want to compromise. I went on my own and spent more than three weeks doing only what I wanted to do, which was the most liberating way to jump start my 40s. I’ve always cherished my alone time, and I’m very content doing things solo, but I can’t deny that I didn’t miss catching up with someone over a meal at the end of the day. It’s not that food tastes different when eating alone, I just think the experience of eating is that much better when it’s shared.
Though it sounds trite, I do value my time more and more as I get older, and since we all seem to have so little of it these days, I’m supremely pissed when it’s infringed upon or mistreated. Like, being around people who aren’t very nice or have little joy or are idiots; or buying a ticket, putting on some make-up, negotiating traffic and going to see a dance performance where the choreographer seems to NOT have considered me (the audience), at all. It’s like inviting me to your party and then ignoring me all night.
The truth is, some of the best moments of my life are the encounters I’ve shared with good people, the ones I wish the best for and they for me. Scenic road trips with M, rented convertible, sun, salty air; girlfriends around my kitchen counter, gossip, way too much wine; group hugs before performing, deep breaths, racing hearts; multiple hands digging into big pots of drunken mussels, messy platters of nachos; laughing with friends till my body collapses; games nights; winning games nights; 14-hour dates with lots of kissing; dancing with dad at my wedding.
Do good people equal good times? It’s not a hard and fast rule, but I like the odds. Plus it tends to bring out the best in me, so it’s a pretty good place to start.