When I was in sixth grade of primary school I went to Switserland on a skying holliday, with the class - a school event. I want to write about the last day we were there, the day of departure. It had been announced, we would be allowed to visit a touristic shop before leaving. So everyone was looking forward to this. I remember there had risen some kind of a problem, because a lot of children were planning to buy a swiss knife and the teacher wasn't all too confortable with it. I thought these children - who dared buy such a knife of their own initiative, by themselves - to be very far away from where I was standing. I don't know if it was true but they claimed their parents had agreed in it, when they left on holliday. I remember being jalous, when eventually the teacher decided to let them buy the knives. The deal was they had to put them away immediatly in one of their big bags and leave them there until they were home again. I hadn't even thought of asking my parents such a thing. And I was too afraid to lie because it could end up wrong - with my parents getting mad and the teacher finding out I was a liar.
So finally we stood in the shop and everyone was buying stuff. I could not even get myself to buy me something for myself. I bought presents for my two sisters and both my parents, until I had no money left - or maybe some, but not much anyway. When we were done and standing outside, I was trying to convince myself how nobel it was of me to not even buy a gift for myself. And I wanted to show it off. Look at what good person I am! A girl replied she bought ONLY things for herself and she didn't feel the least embarrased. I remember, bullshitting myself by saying: it's ok, my present is the fact I was allowed to go on this holliday. I hoped my parents would be 'proud of me', because I had given them a thought. The Swiss franks I had were ofcourse trusted to me by my parents to do with how i pleased, but still I felt obliged to just give it back to them, it wasn't my money and I didn't understand how the other children did not feel any constraint spending it. I didn't have the right to do so, like I wasn't worth it. I even felt guilty for the fact that I was on a holliday they were paying for.
For many years - when I got somewhat older and figured that I would have to live by myself at some point - I thought I would never work, because there was no point in sustaining myself. I did not need myself. When I was alone, I would always think of others and fantasize myself in their presence, making a joke or having fun. Nothing of me remained. I figured I'd rather kill myself than to live and work for myself and being alone with myself. The prospect became unbearable. But this specific thought I would only have at some point when I was in Kortenberg and that's another story.