How my 16th birthday gave me a great lesson

It’s a bright summer’s day. I’m sitting at the table, after eating a delicious barbequed meal. It’s my birthday. I will become a boy of 16 now. It’s time for the presents.

My sister and her then boyfriend come forward with a smile on their face. My mom had given me a presents weeks earlier. Something I asked for.

(I must tell you that I really, really hate surprises)

I know my sister had 2 presents then. I just remember one of them. I was so offended that that present etched itself unto my brain. She got me a box of condoms. I really, really didn’t have a girlfriend, not even something close to one. Not that I was ugly, but I wasn’t that social with the other sex. I was quite socially clumsy, so to say. Although in retrospect, there were enough signals that girls liked me though.

I must have done it more diplomatic, but I started ranting about the present. I know that it’s not about the presents, but about the gesture. But I thought that box of condoms, for someone sexually non-active was insulting. I threw the box to her, yelling and I went to sit in my room the rest of the day. My birthday, for me, was ruined.

So the next year, I adapted another practice. I made a list. I gave them the list, and if they didn’t buy me something from the list, I was entitled to be angry. It was better in my eyes, to not give me a gift, than give me something that has no use to me, or is insulting.

Now, my sister has given me gifts, still not from the list, but safer than the condom thing. The gifts she has given me, were shower gels and such, which I never used. I politely accepted them and let them collect dust long enough until I was allowed to throw them out.

Now, I still adapt the list thing, because it was custom to celebrate new years with friends of mine, until they backstabbed me, and I made a list again, which worked out quite good. I never asked for outrageous things. This year I adapted the list thing again, with the parents of my girlfriend, and for the first time, in my list making thing, I got what I asked for. So I was a happy boy, not having to act. Last year my girlfriend gave my wishlist from Amazon to her relatives, so they could get me something from that list as well, and it also helped. so I got books that I liked last year, and now I got a dvd-set from Elementary (which you know now already that I like).

I’m going to be using the list more and more, so I don’t have to act (because I can’t act surprised or happy when I’m really not happy and I really don’t like to be surprised, because I don’t know how to act emotionally).

It’s not that I’m greedy. It’s more an emotional thing. I really don’t like to receive gifts I don’t like, and if someone doesn’t know what to give me, just get me nothing or get me a coupon of a bookstore or something. (not a used bookstore that only specializes in DUTCH books. I can only read in English, rarely in my mothertongue.)

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