For want of inspiration, I am going to write about hand-me-downs. I think that we all have something in our closets that is a hand-me-down, maybe an antique piece of jewelry or an elder sibling’s jacket. Whatever they are, these hand-me-downs, are parts of other people that we carry with us.
Taking the idea of hand-me-downs in a less literal sense, there are lots of hand-me-downs we get from our family- unusual mannerisms, funny food habits, a dislike for horror films, pretty much anything that we greatly resemble those people in.
It’s not just family members, there are hand-me-downs we get from friends, maybe not in the traditional sense, but things that we pick up in the course of the relationship, be they items of clothing or phrases that we have heard too many times to resist using them ourselves.
The people who have these hand-me-down relationships usually also have something I would like to call ‘reciprocal hand-me-downness’, which implies that both the parties give something to one another. For instance, I used to get a lot of my older brother’s clothes when I was little, and as we grew older, there were a lot of phrases that I picked up or made up, which he began to copy (mainly to annoy me).
I see this happening in all my connections with other people and I wonder if hand-me-downs have come to mean an exchange that affects both the involved people in different ways, and one may benefit more from it this time around, but what about the next time?
Note: ‘Hand-me-downness’ has been used before, but my contribution is the idea of reciprocity in a hand-me-down system.