I am nowhere near perfect. I am absolutely a work in progress. A considerable amount of time, I get things completely wrong. I spend a lot of time writing about myself only because there’s no other subject I know so well. There is one subject very dear to my heart I have not said a word about. That is kindness. I have a lot of failings. I have made many mistakes. I am always in need of some form of help. I am a bit of a mess. I do, however, like to think of myself as kind. I can’t say I’m kind all the time. I wish I could tell you my first thought is always kindness, but I would be lying. My kindness does not always come off as kind. I do however try to live out of kindness; it is the driving force behind the majority of every one of my conscious actions when I leave the house and enter other people’s lives.
I am a judgmental person, but I believe it to be a very human quality. I’m pretty sure one caveman nudged another caveman pointing at a third caveman trying and failing to teach his platypus fetch to only grunt and nod in simultaneous judgey agreement from their seat around the fire their cavewomen made. We all judge people all the time. I firmly believe it’s not the first thought popping into our heads but the second and the actions or words to follow that defines who we are as people. I try my very best to only share my initial thoughts with my dearest friend, who will call me out immediately knowing full well I would never say such an awful thing to anyone else.
Kindness is an essential pillar in my life. I have been on the receiving end of many an unkindness. The truth is 98% of the time it has nothing to do with me at all; I’m just the outlet. We live in our own bubbles, and unfortunately our bubbles tend to dictate how we react to the world around us. 0.5% of the time it is undeservedly about me, and the other 1.5% of the time it is about me and I absolutely deserve it.
I try -not always successfully- to treat everyone with an overwhelming amount of kindness because I just don’t know. I do not know. I don’t know their life. I don’t know their trials. I don’t know what they’re going through emotionally, mentally, psychologically, physically, etc. I am not them. In my opinion, everyone is their own judge and should live their life accordingly to their personal moral compass’ position of true north. Consequences almost always catch up. It is not my place to be the jury, the judge, or the executioner. I am but merely an observer in everyone’s life but my own.
For me, the key to kindness is patience. I have no problems saying please, thank you, hi, how are you, have a nice day, etc. But I am not a naturally patient person, so this can be particularly difficult every day all the times I am not in my own home sans pants. The only person who’s life revolves around mine is mine; everyone else does not run on my schedule or sway to my rhythm or move out of my way. Would I love for my Starbucks to be in my hand in three minutes post order, YES; but sometimes during busy hours it can take ten minutes. The baristas always apologize, but it isn’t their fault. Instead of being upset, I say thank you and have a nice day. It’s inconvenient, but it’s easy to be kind. What is being rude going to do? Make them go slower? When I was double charged for an airline ticket, it was not the lovely lady’s fault working in customer service; she is, in fact, not the automated website. Instead of yelling at her, I explained the situation calmly, and asked how it could be remedied. Not only was it taken care of, my ticket was upgraded. The tragedy had already occurred, so I waited an hour before calling to ensure kind RaeAnna was on the phone instead of pissed off RaeAnna. I love living in big cities, but the homeless population accompanying it always breaks my heart. I try to keep a few dollars or loose change on me, but more times than not I have none. It’s hard, but the least I can do is smile saying I’m sorry. I genuinely am. I will not ignore them. They are people too. I hear so many say it’s drugs or alcohol or stupidty, but you don’t know. So often it’s mental illness, abuse, tragedy, so, so many things. If it weren’t for very kind people once upon a time, I would have been there as well. Is a smile so hard for a person? I have this compulsion to like every single post I scroll past on Facebook – unless it counteracts my beliefs or morals- and Instagram, which has actually gotten me blocked from liking posts on Instagram a few times because I liked too many too quickly. We live in a tech fueled world where likes boost our self-esteem. People took the time to share that post for whatever reason. I am already scrolling, so why not take the extra .2 seconds to double tap. When people use sexist, racist, or any kind of slur to demean, humiliate, or dehumanize a person, I politely let them know I will not tolerate that kind of language in my home or presence, and if they continue, I remove myself from the situation. Not often but sometimes, kindness can call attention to someone’s skewed thought process or belief system (just ask my boyfriend) because maybe they weren’t aware of the impact their words have on the people or world around them. Maybe my kindness is the spark they needed to educate themselves… A girl can hope. Kindness does not mean tolerating obscene behavior or being a doormat, but it does mean a gentle yet firm reminder. When in doubt, leave or call the cops depending on the situation.
I have always tried to be kind, but I have actively tried to live from a place of kindness over the past few years. I have been through a lot. I have made decisions for which society has deemed me unworthy of basic human decency at times. More than anything, I chose to be open about all of these things and more. This transparency has lead to so many good things but also my being judged, harassed, threatened, and encountering some truly horrible experiences. I could be but I do not want to be an angry woman. I want to be a kind woman. I try to meet every rude comment with warmth and understanding. If I am unable to, I try to choose silence. Kindness will not persevere in every situation, but I choose to hope it will help in most.
I am not always kind, but my basest goal is to live out of kindness. To be an ear for those who need to be heard. To be a friend for those who feel like they have none. To support those in need. To empathize with those who feel misunderstood. To help those who have no idea where to start. To encourage those without cheerleaders. To be warmth in a generally cold and indifferent world. To stop when no one else will. I strive to leave every encounter a touch better than I entered it. I want to acknowledge everyone’s existence by, at the very least, remembering their name. I want to commit to memory the details which make them uniquely them. I want to make each person feel like they are important in this world. Because isn’t that what we all want? To feel worth something. To feel important to someone outside of ourselves. To feel like our existence is not going unnoticed. To feel like we are unique, beautiful, creative, talented, important, complex beings with aspirations, feelings, motivations, obstacles, jobs, loves and so much more.
I am one person in an ever expanding billions. I do not matter to 99.9999% of people I encounter on a daily basis. People with equally brilliant, complex, difficult lives as mine. I write about myself in this space, and the people who care, for whatever reason, find themselves here. The truth is, I am the least interesting person in comparison to the multitudes surrounding me. I know so many people with devastatingly wonderful stories, who I barely know, and I will never have enough time to get to know each one as thoroughly as I wish to. It is utterly astonishing to think about the numerous people whose lives are as beautifully diverse as my own. I pass through so many lives to which I do not matter. If I live through kindness, maybe I can faintly touch each life with a smile, a hug, a nod, a momentary personalized contact where they feel like they matter. Because they do.