My brother called me last night which was unexpected but completely welcomed. I miss him. In the middle of our brother-sister bonding/soul-searching conversation, he said something to me that will ring in my ears for (probably) the rest of my life: “You know yourself better than anyone else.” He’s right, and although I try to fight it- doubting myself and who I really am- I know that my heart is bigger than this city. Much bigger.
I had a rough adjustment when I first moved here 2 years ago, which is a story that my close friends and family know quite well. Since then I’ve explained that Chicago has made me colder, even bitchier, but I never go further to say that I hate that it’s done this to me. Sure this city has impacted me in many positive ways- including making me stronger and more independent than I could have possibly imagined- which is something I’ll always appreciate. But I have a difficult time accepting my colder persona because, quite simply, it’s not ‘me’.
I get so exhausted trying to combat the ignorance, tune out the negativity, and convince myself that there are still good people out there. I know there are. I am friends with them; I volunteer with them; and sometimes I chat with them at Starbucks or while waiting for the bus. But for the most part I feel like I’m fighting a battle every day- from the moment I walk out my apartment door to the second I closed that same door behind me in the evening. I refuse to surrender. I just won’t. But tell me, why is it so hard to find kind, giving people in this city, in this world?
Kindness. It’s such a simple, beautiful, and E.A.S.Y. concept, so please explain to me why is it so hard to be kind? It takes so much more energy to be mean, so not just make it easier for yourself and the whole world- including yours- will be a better place.
I saw this song performed on GLEE this week and in case you haven’t, I share it with you now:
I’ve been listening to this song and thinking about the concept for the past few days, and now it’s time to indulge you with my thoughts. Before I share you off, let me say that I’m not being uber-religious with you here. Instead I’m preaching the message of kindness- as it should be practiced.
What if God was one of us? What would you ask if you had just one question? Most people would probably ask the typical questions that fill our minds every day: When will I meet my soulmate? Is the guy/girl I’m date “The One”? When will I be rich/famous/successful? Of course we want to know the answers to those questions, and I certainly do too! But with one question permitted, would you really ask that? How would knowing the answer to that question really impact you? How would it impact others? Wouldn’t you want to ask a question whose answers helps more than just yourself?
I know one person cannot physically change the world alone; however one person can impact another, who impacts another… so that the domino effect empowers us all and evidently changes the world. It can happen. YOU can be the domino that begins it all. Why not? Perform (at least) one kind act today and you are doing your part to create the necessary change that this world needs.
I know Ellen DeGeneres agrees with me. This week Ellen shared the launch of The Trevor Project, which is a nonprofit endeavor established to promote acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, and to aid in suicide prevention among that group. However, as Ellen & Anderson Cooper addressed on the air, all bullying needs to stop! Whether you’re the victim, the bully, an innocent bystander, and/know someone being bullied or doing the bullying, YOU need to help STOP IT NOW.
Whether you were/are bullied or not, I’m sure you know at least one person who was once bullied. I, myself, was bullied by those lovely high school Mean Girls. Who wasn’t? Unless you were one of them. But what haunts me the most is how much bullying I witnessed, especially in high school. I hated it then and I still hate that it goes on now. I hate that I didn’t step in enough to stop it, and that no one else did either. I find myself wondering if those bullies changed, with hope that they changed their adolescent ways. Was it just the unflattering high school phase curse? Did they clean up their act and change their ways for the better?
And what about those that were/are bullied…do they ever recover?
I know I’m a little all-over-the-place with this post, so I’ll go back to commenting on what my brother said to me last night. Yes, I know myself better than anyone else. I’m not a saint. I’m not perfect. But I am kind and like to do nice things for people. From small everyday gestures to big celebratory surprises, that’s who I am. That’s who I’ll always be.
My dear friend, Kristin, wrote in an email yesterday that “maybe you do too much for other people. I know how it makes you feel good and everything but you know the old thinking about you can’t really help someone if you’re not taking care of yourself.” She has a very valid point and this is something that I have, in fact, struggled with in the past. I know that I cannot fix every problem in the world nor change every person, but this really is who I am.
You know sometimes, usually on the weekends, I choose not to go out. Not even to the store which is only a block away. My reason, which I’ve never fully admitted to, is that I want to avoid all the negativity; the rudeness; the complaining. Everywhere I go I see it, I hear it. It brings me down. It can turn my best day in the worst day with one hurtful act on the street, on the train, on the bus, in the store. But then again, maybe I have it wrong here because I’m also prevented myself from making a change. My doing a kind gesture or a good deed and inspiring someone else to do the same. Maybe I can be that first domino and begin the change that the world needs. Maybe..
It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters. ~Mother Teresa
Song of the Moment: One of Us performed on GLEE