Twitter has been full of a helluva lot of negativity lately. A lot of people are pointing blame-fingers at each other. A lot of people are acting like assholes to each other. A lot of people are telling each other what to do, how to feel, and what’s appropriate behavior. A lot of people are just being downright nasty to each other. I’m not exempt from this. Things I say get taken the wrong way. I get accused of being overly snarky, and sometimes it’s just a bad day. Other times it’s the receiver’s bad day coupled with misunderstanding. Whatever it is though, I’m okay with owning when I screw up, and humbly apologizing, especially if the snark was unintended.
These days though, twitter seems to be full of fuckin’ snark. It’s like a warzone some days.
Except I try to cancel some of those really shitty life days with random acts of kindness. Nothing I ever offer has been elicited, or hinted at, or asked for. I’ve always just done it. Recently it’s been a handful of things I’ve done, but what I did doesn’t matter. Today I want to talk about the reasons why I do it. Because it’s not to get something in return. Or be owed a favor. Or to one-up anyone. I do it because it makes me happy.
Let me back the train up a little bit.
Some of you will never know what real poverty is like. To have to wonder where your next meal is going to come from. To have to accept charity, because that’s all there is and it’s better than starving. Or being homeless. Some of you will never know how difficult it is to have to wonder whether that $10 in the bank is best spent on gas to get to your low paying job or food for a couple days. Some of you won’t know what it’s like to fear having an address. You may never know what it’s like to have to accept the nice things people do for you, and to you, graciously, because you’ll never be able to return the favor in equal magnitude.
I know what that kind of poverty is like. Really, I still live it… sometimes. I have always remembered the nice things people have done for me. I guess, in a way, I’m paying it forward. Doing something nice for someone else, within my means.
The thing is… the reason why this blog post is being written, is that each of the last 3 nice things I’ve done for people have been met with a similar reaction… that people don’t generally do nice things and they’re overwhelmed with happy and smiles and good cries… and I wonder how the hell people can be so overwhelmed by the small and seemingly insignificant nice thing I’ve done.
I emailed a crochet pattern. I mailed some WoW cups. I bought some knitting needles and yarn.
There’s a part of me that would love to fix things for people. I want to make people’s lives better. I want to undo sadness. I want to bring back loved ones. Or reinstate jobs. Mend broken hearts. Always remind people that today can be better than yesterday. I want to just make it better. Not utopian better, because that’s just nonsense. I just want people to not hurt.
But, I can’t bring back loved ones. I can pay anyone’s rent. I can’t mend broken hearts. I can’t fix lives, or people, or make others be nice to each other. There are things within my power though. And I do what I can… when I can.
A crochet pattern, inexpensive, and seemingly uninteresting. But to the person receiving it, it was a great thing. The WoW cups. I bought 6 sets of them with the intention of giving some away for different contests here, but my lazy ass will never get around to even considering coming up with any sort of contest. The person getting them sent something in return. I didn’t ask for it. And I never would. And her happiness made me happy. The box of yarn and knitting needles was for another friend. It won’t bring back the pet she recently lost, or make the weather nicer, or take away the humidity.
At a time when I was at my lowest. I was unemployed and my savings was dwindling. I was constantly upset about my expensive degree and lack of job. I was sorry for myself, and I hated the circumstances. I felt like things were just shit. Every time I turned around, something else was shitting in my Cheerios. 2 years later, things are much different. But I had yarn. And knitting. And random acts of kindness to get me through. Kindness given to me when I didn’t even know I needed it.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember that not everyone knows the same things. That we’re not all feminists. That we aren’t all on the same page with regard to religion, or sexual preference, or how we play WoW, or even how we talk to each other. But dammit, sometimes the smallest thing to you… could mean the world to someone else.
Y’know what though? The thank you is so much more than you can imagine. It’s cheesy and cliché. But it’s true. I will always be surprised when someone says they’re not used to someone being nice. But it’s okay. Maybe you’ll be the next person to receive my random act of kindness.
Tell me a story of something nice you’ve done for someone else… cause this week… this week I think we should celebrate kindness.