Erin Thomassen | Sunday, February 9, 2014
In kindergarten, I learned how to be a communist.
I was told “Sharing is caring” and “Secrets, secrets are no fun, unless you share with everyone,” but I soon learned, though, that sharing came at a cost. My preschool pals were not so eager to finger paint with me once I shared their secrets. When I tried to share my sneezes, Ms. Robins told me to keep my germs to myself.
Needless to say, I became a bit ambivalent about the idea of sharing. As I got older, the issue only became more complicated. My priest preached about the virtues of sharing with the poor, while my professor lectured on the dangers of a sharing economy. “Thanks for sharing” could be sincere or sarcastic. Sharing a kiss could be a dream or a nightmare.
When I arrived at Notre Dame, I was fed up with the problems that sharing created. I was desperate to make friends, so I avoided any situation that would test my knowledge of whether or not I should share. On the first night of Frosh-O, I was quite pleased with myself. I had already successfully avoided the possibility of sharing a cookie by feigning a gluten allergy. When the 10 freshmen in my section squeezed into my RA’s room for our initial “Getting to Know You” meeting, I confidently plopped down on the beanbag chair next to my RA. Imagine my distress when she suggested that we go around the circle and share something about ourselves.
“Hmmm… which way should we start?” she wondered.
To the left, to the left, I’ll give you everything I own if you turn to the left. I invoked Beyoncé as my Athena, pleading that she uses her powers to make my RA start the sharing toward the other side of the circle.
Unfortunately, my RA was in more of a Fatboy Slim mindset, and turned “Right Here, Right Now.” Everyone looked expectantly in my direction.
I swallowed loudly. I cursed Fatboy Slim silently. I answered weakly. We moved on to the next girl.
I was too shocked to listen to anyone else’s response. I shared something without causing a scene. No one cared about what I shared, because they were too busy thinking of their own responses. I apologized to Mr. Slim, thanking him for his sage intervention. In letting me go first, he let me slip by unnoticed.
Since then, I have gotten over my fear of sharing. Thanks Notre Dame! Ms. Robins would be proud. I share a room with two girls every night. I share my notes with my friends. I’m pretty sure they’re my friends. I even share things without realizing it. I checked my credit card statements to find out that I have been sharing my identity for years. I checked my boyfriend’s Facebook page to find out that I’ve been sharing him with multiple young ladies.
So don’t be silly. Don’t be selfish. Don’t shy away from sharing.