29 Gifts



I finished this a couple of weeks ago, but have been putting off writing this post. I chose this book in haste. It kept popping up on my suggested listening list in the library app. I was never really excited about it, but this one day as I waited for my train to work this guy was trying to talk to me. He had engaged me in small talk before, but on this day he seemed to be giving off the distinct creepy ‘I’m trying to talk to you because I’m interested’ vibe. As a woman, these scenarios are sometimes difficult to navigate, because you sound like an absolute lunatic if you say something out of the blue like “I’m not interested” or “I’m in a relationship” because then they might try to play the “Geez I was just trying to make small talk you conceited bitch, not everyone wants you” (even though you’re pretty sure that’s their defense mechanism going off from being rejected). Does that make sense? Ladies of the blog, can you relate to this? He wasn’t taking an of my visual clues of disinterest as I was scrolling to find an audiobook, I finally clicked on this one, popped my earbuds in, and wished him good day. Confession: I’ve had anxiety about running into this guy again waiting for the train, but I haven’t seen him since.

Now on to the actual book. It was ok. I get it, it was trying to spread positivity through giving and mindfulness. My opinion of this book went it waves. At first it seemed a little hokey. The narrator (not the author) seemed to be a little too sing-song-y for this book. I think I have listened to her narration before, but can’t place the voice and I think that was throwing me off a bit.

Then one day I had a revelation about the book. Giving not out of obligation, but from a genuine desire to give, to be mindful in how/why we give. The irony of this is that it came at the heels of confliction over giving my time and energy towards someone that hadn’t been there for me in my time of need. I was running scenarios over in my head of past pain and playing the victim of ‘always having to be the better person’. After a discussion with a very good friend and this book, I’m not obligated to help this person. If my help is requested, I’ll be there, but in no way should I feel obligated to OFFER. So yes, this book in some way talked me out of giving.

After this clicked in my head, I continued listening and had all kinds of warm feelings of wanting to give to people who made me feel good about giving. I even thought, once I finish this book I’ll do my own 29 day gift giving challenge. There’s a whole online community associated with this movement that you can join and share your stories of giving.

Then, before reaching the end of the book, MY CAR WAS STOLEN. And all those warm f’n feelings flew right out the f’n window. It was recovered a few days later with most of my personal belongings gone, clothing I had in the trunk, art materials, in-progress art that took many many hours to make, GONE. Oh and the police didn’t bother looking into the case at all. I know this because there were three cameras in the vicinity of the theft, but when we called to check up on the case (we found out it was recovered two days earlier, but they didn’t bother to call me and let me know) the officer or whoever (without actually having seen the vehicle and reading off a rudimentary form) said there was “no ignition damage” and the car was found “unlocked” and that he was “inclined to think I wasn’t telling the truth”. Except there was damage. The locks were smashed in, the trunk was broken into, the steering console was smashed to hot wire the car. It totally looks like a stolen car, complete with someone else’s personal junk in there including a BABY ON BOARD SIGN! If they had looked at the tapes, or the actual car for that matter, they would know I wasn’t lying, not to mention, I have literally nothing to gain from lying about a 26 year old car being taken.

In conclusion, I finished listening to the book. I feel zero inclination to give. I feel really depressed if I may be honest here. Any book suggestions to help get me out of this dark hole is really appreciated. Nothing to “cheer me up” as much to get out of my head. I don’t think I can take another “feel good” book right now. I realize that sounds like a contradiction.

5 comments on “29 Gifts”

  1. Oh Daniela, what an awful experience! I am so sorry to hear about your car being stolen and worse, your work in progress and art materials also stolen, and how incredibly inept the police were. I will try to think of a book that might provide some kind of solace by pulling you out of this dark hole, but in the meantime I just want to tell you how incredibly engrossed I am in the Robert Irwin book you sent me in the swap. I’m in the final pages right now and will write a full post later today, but I have already had such a sense of awe for his art and also a glimmer of understanding about the post-abstract expressionist art he made. And how so much of this relates to what was happening in writing at the same time. This was the absolutely most perfect book you could have sent me. Thank you so much! And I hope that the clouds will part soon for you–

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww Nadia! Your kind words really help! I quoted his book heavily in my thesis paper. I was impressed at how relatable his book was even though my art is so different. I guess his touches a core to writers as well. I look forward to your full post on the subject.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Daniela! I knew bits and pieces of the car situation from your Instagram but seeing it all laid out here in the context of reading a book about giving– UGH!

    I am so sorry you have to go through this– and that the police are being so unhelpful. What a nightmare 😦

    Email me your mailing address so I can send you some love!


    1. Email sent!

      I should say that the author wrote about her experience of the giving challenge while dealing with MS. The point was for her to get outside of herself and illness and engage with the world in a more thoughtful way. It’s not like she wasn’t dealing with her own struggles throughout. I would say right now, I don’t have it in me to commit to giving, but hope to in the near future.


  3. PS- Yes I am with you on the creepy guy convo– it’s never comfortable or easy to navigate. I usually just get up and move away if at all possible.


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