It's Not "Cheap" Or "Woke", It's Reasonable!
I am so happy for people when they are getting married, having a baby, moving or buying their house! I am always very moved by people going through a tough time, saying goodbye forever to a loved one, a pet or anything else they value. Turning the page to a new chapter in life is always amazing but it takes a lot to do that! It takes investment emotionally but also in time and money and I think we should all try to damage control however we can. It is costly in every kind of resources to change course in life, be it drastically or not, and I really think we should be here for each other in these moments. I don't believe the only way people can help someone in these moments is by dropping a bunch of cash on them, it sure helps, sure, because unfortunately the world has been shaped to revolve around money. Regardless, we should do our best to keep it authentic and ask for or give what is reasonable to expect from one another.
What is reasonable is subjective, I strongly believe that asking never hurts as long as you don't feel entitled to a "yes". I also strongly believe that giving only what you can give is the most reasonable thing to do. It is important to me that none of my loved ones put themselves, our planet or their loved ones at risk for me... if the price of you giving me something is to see you, or someone else, hurting or missing what you took off your back to give me ...no way I will want to take this! I was recently gifted a bunch of things from my friends in Salem, tears were shed and I cherish every single present I ever got from them and anyone else. I was never really used to meaningful gifts growing up and I attach sentimental value to things most don't understand. I prefer my grandmother's ring to remember her by instead of fighting over her dead body for a piece of the estate. I attach a lot more to the sunglasses my friend Zee took off her nose to give me than any very expensive designer jewelry billionaires parade in on red carpet because they can. I prefer my friend holding me as I go through something hard than some rich stranger I happen to be related to dumping a cash in my hand at xmas because I am here and they forgot I existed but it's tradition. When celebrating any kind of special occasion, we should always stick to what is important to us. What is important to me is not how much money I or my loved ones spend on one another. I am not getting married in a performance to show how influential and wealthy I am. I am not buying expensive gadgets or precious meaningless stones for my dog or even baby. I want what is best for me, my loved ones and my planet. And what is best is not always new or expensive. I really don't feel bad thinking second hand wedding stuff, baby stuff or house stuff are perfectly fine if in good condition. I don't want everything new, it is wasteful and the state of the planet, my finances and more just compel me to not buy or encourage production. I don't want to rely on other to not burden my loved ones either. Let's face it though, babies grow super fast and weddings are super ephemeral. Apparently, it can be seen as bad parenting to have second hand stuff or "cheap" to have second hand wedding stuff. I mean, it's not like I HAVE plenty of money, I am from a family of artis/artisan/worker-class and I don't personally earn much... I was raised eco-friendly by necessity! Honestly, that s probably one of the best gift life gave me: creativity, adaptability, finding ways in doing what needs to be done with what you have.
So yeah, I do ask for free or negotiated prices stuff all the time, and I also volunteer my time and skills instead of giving money I don't have to people and causes I want to help. I will ask people if I can have what they don't use sometimes, yeah I am that bold! I am happy to do my best to preserve these stuff and return them after I use they if they are planning on using it again, have a second baby or else. I will sign papers saying I vouch to donate them after my use and continue that chain of good deeds. I will swear on record that I will not sale the items if they want even... How is that something that leads people to think you are taking advantage of their happiness for gain? Obviously, I'm not going around commenting "oh, congratulations, cute baby, save me this outfit, I am expecting too" or "beautiful wedding pictures Shauna, can I used that dress now or what?". I am not pressuring people into buying things on my registry, I don't feel entitled to people's possession but I also don't understand why people are so judgy or offended at the idea. So what I am asking for free shit or 1/3 of the price used goods...what else are they going to do with it, hoard it in a box in the attic, donate it or sell it? It is absolutely their right to say no! I will not be humiliated or scolded for asking for help though! How is it so sacrilegious to people that my baby would wear clothes from their neighbors, cousins or strangers? Wanting the best for my child does not mean putting this planet or my family in danger by buying a brand new designer trench coat in size 9mo out of vanity. If that is what makes you happy, be my guest, but I can't see myself doing that. That kid will outgrow that coat in less than 3 month, and then what? Sell it, give it away or keep it for a possible next child. Exactly! I am on the other end of that stick you see.
Please gift me hand made, second hand thing. Please gift me homegrown fruits and vegs, hand picked rosemary or the honey from your bees. Don't buy my kid a stupid dress from a store if you want to crochet them a beret... If you are an author or an artist, nothing is more meaningful than gifting me something you made in my opinion. I never feel as loved as when someone takes something of theirs for me to use and tells me "it looks better on you, I don't wear it anyways, keep it please".
I am a strange and unusual bird and my nest is made of shiny things picked up here and there that are essentially trash, beautiful insignificant to most things and love.
I would feel sooooooooooo loved if you spent any amount of your time to try to find something I need or would love on the internet or in a thrift stores even if it's only to give me a link so I can buy it myself. I love people sending me videos or photos of things that might interested me Do I want the expensive eco-friendly option for everything that must be bought new though? Yes!...And? Some people think I am sending mixed signals. Let me explain: I want things that will last like and can be reused indefinitely and/or repurposed. I want to be able to keep forever for my use or someone else's. I want the inevitable disposable stuff to be ethical and non lethal for the environment, the people and the economy I evolve in. That is my way of giving too.
I sincerely hope this article will give you food for thoughts, maybe even give you good ideas or encourage you and validate you in continuing to do what is best and most reasonable for you. Maybe you will finally get rid of stuff, maybe you will start volunteering, or maybe you will end up buying what sticks to your way of life best... and don't get me wrong, if it means buying yourself designer clothes or an expensive car, go right ahead! It is your resources, our agency and your reasons and no one should shame you for it. Do not shame people for not having the same means, priorities or lifestyle. I have personally switched to buying less and from select places only for my own reasons. All I wish is that people be more aware of their habits or their fealty to arbitrary social norms and traditions. My dream is that this block of text will empower people to get more from gifting or receiving gifts.