Dangerous Compassions

refill my cup

refill my cup, pumps

I need a lot of self-care and do it all day, but community care is important too.  I’ve been thinking a lot about boundaries, reciprocal relationships, what I really need, and what being refilled looks like.  I’ve complained about feeling used in relationships and people not reciprocating, like in this post.  But how do I like to receive love?  What are ways that others can refill my cup?

Money is a very standard way to refill someone’s cup.  I bake a cake, and there’s a price.  Or I charge a certain amount of money for a zine, or I get paid an hourly rate for babysitting.  But if I want to create a world where love is more important than money, how could I receive that love?

It could look many different ways.  If someone wants to refill my cup, there are ways I only feel comfortable with if I’m close to them and really trust them.  Some are more easy because they’re less vulnerable.

ideas for how to refill my cup
  • touch
  • dance
  • co-counseling
  • weekly check-ins for a specified period of time
  • support teams with rotating facilitator
  • pods
  • polycules
  • chosen family
  • skills bartering
  • time banking
  • mutual aid in a small group
  • words like “I love you” and “you matter to me”
  • aftercare
  • clarity, consistency, commitment to openness and difficult conversations
  • art
  • gifts
  • food
  • paying my cell phone bill
  • visits with a pet
  • love letter
  • errand dates

Some people are hurtful in relationships, irresponsible and using others.  Then some people are clueless in relationships, especially people with social differences such as myself.  My disabilities such as autism can work together to make friendship and other relationships confusing.

I prefer a community responsibility of refilling one another, over a self-care responsibility of it being entirely on me to make sure all my relationships are happily reciprocal.  I’m an adult and have a lot of responsibility for myself.  But my whole life I’ve been expected to have social skills I have zero clue about.

If I’m skilled at faking it, or being quiet and hiding, my cluelessness is unaddressed.  That’s part of what masking is.  For my own survival, I do my best to hide social problems, which means I have very little chance at being helped.


How can someone refill your cup?  Is your cup already overflowing?  Sometimes mine feels dry.  When my mom died, I lost the person who was most skilled at refilling my cup.  Ming does a lot, and a few other friends love me well.  But it’s not enough.

I want to ask for help but often don’t know how.  I can know what I don’t want way more than what I do want.

Part of my autistic functioning can include a rule-based mentality.  I like “always” “never” “daily” and tying an activity to another activity.  Like brushing my teeth every morning when I take a shower, and every night before I go to bed.  Having things defined helps me feel safe.

Yes, friendship is cool.  But knowing how often to contact someone and in what ways can be very confusing.  That’s why dailiness and having things really defined helps me so much.  If there’s a rule, I don’t need to moderate.

thank you

Thank you for reading this peek into how things feel for me socially, and what would refill my cup.  I have no desire to be normal or usual, but I definitely want to be happy in my own way, with other people who are caring, non-violent, reciprocal, and help me feel safe.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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