Thursday, November 12, 2009

Size 2 Purple Dress

I am shamelessly absconding with an idea someone presented at discussion group last night. (Thank you, M!) They referred to it as the Size 2 Purple Dress Issue. It's that thing that happens when a partner or metamour is giving you something that you don't really have any use or desire for. You didn't ask for it, have no clue what to do with it, and, regardless of how fabulous it is, you don't feel terribly grateful to be receiving it. You don't fit a size 2, don't wear purple, and can count on the fingers of a single hand the number of times you've been stuffed into a dress.

I've been guilty of this on more than one occasion, for sure. The most shining example of that would be when I was extending "family" status to a metamour that had zero desire to be part of a larger structure than who they were dating. Understand that, for me, family status is probably one of the biggest honors I can bestow on someone. I have never been someone who has a lot of close friends or intimates in my life. Inclusion in my inner circle happens very infrequently. For me, it is a sign of trust, caring, permanence, priority and importance. Absolutely none of which was of interest to her.

It took quite some time before she got around to bringing me up to speed on that, so I kept trying harder, being more inclusive, giving and sharing, basically compounding the issue. Not only had I given her the size 2 purple dress, I then accessorized that puppy! Shoes, matching handbag, jewelry, the works! It was truly stunning. When I, metaphorically, saw the entire ensemble in the window at a consignment shop, it was extremely hurtful. It was entirely my issue for giving something to someone that they didn't value or desire. I gave them the gift that _I_ want for myself.

No more Size 2 Purple Dress giving for me! Tell me what you want. Tell me what you value. Let me know if I am giving something you don't need. I'll take responsibility for doing the same in return.

1 comment:

livingtotears said...

really good analogy! in spite of how kind the intent is, the analogy really demonstrates how ineffective the golden rule can be sometimes.

ack, and ouch about the huge and significant gift of extending family status. that's a big deal to me too, so it resonates as a surprise that other people might not value, want, or hugely appreciate that.

yet i wish that even when i slip and give what i'd want, the concept that i gave something i truly value would still seem like a precious gift to the person. to some extent, even when i make a mistake by forgetting to ask what the other person wants and values, i hope and wish the person assumes my good intent, and still might acknowledge and appreciate the thought and reasons behind the gift. (with some re-direction input...?)

in a way, perhaps my intent, thought, and reasons are one piece of the gift...? the intangible part, yet not insignificant...?