April 29, 2010
yesterday we talked about spreading the kindness in real life. today we're talking about the theory of relativity.
no, not that one.
it's the fact that our outlook is totally relative to the mood we're in and the circumstances around us. the very same reason i said on day one that i want to watch the pale blue dot video every morning.
here's the thing about all the awesome stuff we've talked about this week: it's freaking common sense– we KNOW all this stuff already. the key is to remember it at the right time. a smile would brighten someone's day? no shit. you should be nice to people online because you're interacting with a real live human on the other end? well duh. you have the power to change your own mood and remember how good things are? of course you do.
but in the blackest parts of our nights and the busiest parts of our very busy days it seems impossible to remember. my challenge for today is to REMEMBER. to remind myself when i'm running late and bang threw up in jon's shoe and i stubbed my toe and my gas light is on that all these things aren't really that important. sure, they suck, but they shouldn't keep me from letting the van over in front of me in the construction zone or smiling and holding the door for the lady at my office. because she probably had a crap morning too.
yesterday the feminist breeder, who i don't know at all and isn't in on our kindness & karma week project, posted an awesome post about moms helping out other moms. it's the required reading for today. and her post was excellent, but what really got me was this comment left on her facebook page from a woman named Gerri:
When my eldest was about 10 (he's now 22), we were in the parking lot of a grocery store, loading our food into the trunk of my sad little car. My son asked me for something out of the grocery bag - a granola bar, I think. I was very preoccupied with how much we'd just spent, and had dropped my patience off in aisle 4. I snapped at him. I ranted on, something like "Don't you know that those granola bars are for school? There are only 5 in a package and if you have one now you'll be doing without one in your lunch next week! And we've just spent so much extra on the groceries that I don't have enough money left for gas, and you're going to have to walk to school until I get paid again!"
My poor kid looked at me with big sad eyes and got in the car. It wasn't even true, I did have some money left for gas. I felt a tap on my shoulder. An old lady was standing there, staring at me. I anticipated that she was going to tear a strip off me for being so rude and impatient with my kid. Instead she grabbed my hand and forced four dollars into it. "Get some gas for your car so you can drive your boy to school. I've been where you are, I understand how hard it can be." I tried to give the money back to her, and to explain... She walked away and didn't see the tears of both shame, and gratitude that flowed from me.
As much as I deserved to be hollered at for how I'd spoken to my kid, she took the high road and did something that actually HELPED him by being KIND TO ME. It wasn't about what she gave me, but what she said to me. I'll never forget that, and in every situation I find myself wanting to holler at a mother, or judge her, or shame her, I try to show her kindness and generosity because I know THAT is what will help her kid.
yesterday i felt myself falling back into... the funk. i wasn't getting a lot of feedback about these posts and i was worried that i was boring you and feeling quite glum. i hadn't heard from many friends yesterday on twitter. so i sat down and talked myself through it. why was i feeling this way? is it really important if i have ten million comments? NO. does that change anything about this project and it's purpose? NO. are my friends probably busy doing things because we're all incredibly busy? YES. now go home and cuddle your ridiculously fat baby, you whore! life is really quite excellent.
and this morning- my reward. the receptionist upstairs, who i'm not particularly friends with, bought me coffee. and i'm writing her a handwritten thank-you note. because the WEATHER IS GOOD and a stranger bought me coffee and it's FUCKING THURSDAY and I LOVE THIS, you MOTHERFUCKERS!! look up, not down. i know you can do it. i really really believe in you.
hot damn. and that's the word.
Written Permission checked in today with a sad tale of (non) kindness in an airport. go give her your two cents.
Wonderous Clusterf#@k is also participating! follow along with her Kindness & Karma week posts
tomorrow is the final straw, kindness and karma contest day. you'll have all week to enter while i go back to our regularly scheduled babbling about babies and breastfeeding and fat little toes and an update on plants that i'm actually keeping alive this time... so far.