The Art of Sharing

Sharing is a problem for me. You would think I could handle this societal practice being the eldest of 3. Oh no. Interestingly enough, I'm actually good with sharing certain things. Need to borrow my car? Go ahead! Want to stay over? No problem. Interested in having a bite of my dinner? No way in hell! I've come the realize I can share any of my material possessions however when it comes to my food, don't even ask. I know, this is a major problem and definitely not in line with my health counselor persona. Being ashamed of this deep character flaw, I've done a lot of pondering and soul searching around this point. Thinking back I've traced it to my Dad. It always goes back to childhood, right?

My Dad is not a big sharer. Wait, let me rephrase. My Dad is not a big sharer with his own food. When asked, "Can I have a bite of that?" The usual response begins with an eye roll and proceeds, "Don't you have your own?" However, my father LOVES to share other peoples food. He has no problem asking for a bite of this or that. You get the feeling he perceives all food as his own and is just letting you borrow it for the time being.

In addressing my sharing defaults, there is one memory emblazoned upon my brain. I was about 6 years old and my Dad asked if he could taste my ice cream. I was not yet jaded to the pitfalls of sharing so I innocently responded, "Sure, Daddy." Upon my retort, his giant mouth appeared from the distance above and began to suck up my little ice cream cone. Remember when Spaceball One turned into Mega Maid and sucked all the air out of Planet Druidia? It was like that. My Dad, with his giant hoover like mouth, sucked down almost all of my child-sized cone in one single swipe!

I was mortified! What was he thinking? My perfect mint chip cone was left looking like a tornado hit it, mishapen and cock-eyed with stranded chocolate chips looking for mint shelter. I screamed, I cried, I yelled at my Dad. He looked a me with a little smirk and said, "What???"

With that I vowed never to share anything again. Especially not ice cream! As years went by I owned by non-sharingness. When friends asked if I wanted to share something the response was always, "You know, sharing is just not my thing." My friends became so well trained that in mixed company they answered for me, "Oh no, Jamie doesn't share". On dates I just laid it on the line. "Just so you know, I'm not a food sharing kind of girl". Non-sharing became part of my persona; a hard exterior that protected me from feeling vulnerable and left without.

I will say I have gotten better over the years and love making and sharing food with family and friends. Yet sometimes I still hear a voice from my 6 year old self saying, "Will there be enough for me? Will someone finish off the last bite before I get to it?" When that voice comes up I try to remind her that there is always enough and if she wants more she can have it. It sounds kookie but the conversation helps. Maybe with enough conversations I will be able to share a bite of something with my Dad. Though I doubt it will ever be ice cream.

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