My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Posts tagged ‘Kindness’

If You Ever Find Yourself Feeling Apathetic, Remember This…

When we’re faced with a constant and unrelenting barrage of pain and suffering, uncertainty and big, enormous problems for which there is never an easy or comforting solution, it’s not uncommon to begin to feel apathetic.

That apathy mostly manifests itself as disbelief and disregard.

In the face of crisis, and without sensing that they’re gaining any traction toward a solution, people begin to drop off. They devise alternative beliefs, and come up with every fathomable reason to dismiss someone else’s truth, replacing it with a narrative that is a bit less harsh, and a lot easier for their heads and their hearts to handle.

The truth is, when we are overloaded with so much negativity, we can all start to become used to its presence. It seems to neutralize itself and normalize as a steady constant that we are vaguely aware of but still not immediately alarmed by.

Maybe you have felt this lately.

Maybe you will feel this as the weeks and months press on.

If you do, you need to know that apathy is really a response to overwhelm. The overwhelm is absolutely understandable — but friends, the apathy can’t be.

This past week carried an unspeakable weight for a lot of us, myself included.

To the Asian American/Pacific Islander community, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. To the victims and their families of the senseless act of hate and violence that occurred in Boulder, Colorado earlier this week, to a community I love so much and one that has made me feel so welcomed, my heart is shattered for you.

I’ve sat with this overwhelming amount of sadness, anger, and fear over the last few days. As I tried to carry out my normal routine of going for my morning runs, grabbing coffee, making dinner with my boyfriend and trying to find joy in the smallest of moments, I felt a surge of guilt; I was clouded, lost in a fog.

I looked around me and wondered how people could go back to living their lives so effortlessly.

But then I realized something.

It’s not that they don’t care about what’s happening in the world around them, it’s not that they’re indifferent to other people’s suffering, but that eventually, they hit their saturation point for their own discomfort, and from there, they set up mental walls that help them regain a sense of peace.

This is, ultimately, just a coping mechanism. A form of self-preservation, if you will.

I guess what we all have to learn is how to strike a balance: how to at once keep our heart and mind open while not becoming completely consumed and overwhelmed.

When we first start to become aware of the fault lines within society, our instinct can be to insist that they aren’t so bad, until, of course, we recognize that they are and ultimately feel helpless. We pour every ounce of our already waning mental and emotional energy into devising and acting on a solution only to realize that this is so much bigger than you, than me, than any of us — it would make the most sense just to give up.

Except it doesn’t.

If you ever start to feel apathetic about what is happening in the world, please know, you are not too small to have made a difference. We are not irredeemable. Change that sticks is slow, and steady, and takes time. You do not have to be sidelined by suffering to still acknowledge it exists.

And I hope that you do.

I hope we all do.

I hope that you aren’t lulled back to sleep by the next trend, the next problem, the next crisis.

I hope that you keep your feet on the ground, which is far more important than keeping your finger on the pulse of social media, appearing to be one way without translating it into something real.

I hope that you never deplete yourself to the point that you aren’t capable of feeling empathy, of imagining how deeply injustices can run, how our very foundations must shift if we have any hope of healing.

I hope that you know you are not always at the center of it, but you can always contribute, you can always be a piece of the force that moves us all forward.

And that momentum? It’s important.

Don’t let yourself become worn out and give up.

It is hard to keep our eyes open.

It is far harder not to.

Kindness is the shiznit, y’all!

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Hey guys! I hope y’all had the most amazing weekend and are in the midst of an even more magnificent Monday! I wanted to take a moment to share with you guys something that happened to me last week that I still can’t stop smiling about.

*And when I say I can’t stop smiling, I mean can’t. stop. smiling. Is it possible to pull a muscle in your face? It’s totally possible, right?  

This past Thursday I made a last minute trip to my favorite bull’s eyed department store to pick up a few things on my way home from work. Of course “a few things” at Target inevitably ends up being all of aisles 4-6 plus three packs of gum and a yoyo.  Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice (x a million), damn you’re good Target.

That particular day at work had been a doozy. We had 12 more students drop out, and two more staff members were let go. I was emotionally exhausted, drained and my feels were a bit all over the place. All I wanted to do was go home, de-pants, curl up with a spoon and a pint of Chunky Monkey (three of which were added to my cart for that very purpose) and brain freeze my sorrows away. Yep. It was most definitely that kind of night.

As I moved my way through the checkout line, I noticed the woman in front of me started to yell at the poor cashier. Over bananas of all things! Oy. I’ve worked in retail before (actually, I adorned the red and khakis at Tarjay for almost two years) and I know how obnoxiously rude some people can be, especially around the holidays. The thing with customer service jobs like this is that at least the majority of the time, the obnoxiously rude banana lady is always right.

As I stood there with my cart of toilet paper, marshmallows, hot sauce, canned pumpkin, batteries and brownie mix, and three pints of ice cream (could my bundle have been any more random?!), taking in the scene before me, I couldn’t help but see how unabashed and just incredibly sweet the cashier was. He continued to smile through the whole thing, was sincerely apologetic (even though it was crazy Chiquita who should’ve been the one doing the apologizing), and downright jolly–which was fitting seeing as he had the Santa Clause-esque belly, white hair and beard.

When the lady finally left, I walked up and began placing my things on the conveyor belt. Just before I was about to apologize on her behalf, the cashier, Lou, laughed this deep belly laugh, smiled at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, “Well she was a lively character, wasn’t she? A spit fire, that one. And so many bananas! She’s either making a lot of banana bread or she’s part monkey.” I couldn’t help but hardcore LOL.

Who knew that Santa Lou was such a comedian? Jerry Seinfeld, get to stepping buddy.

As he continued checking out and bagging my items, he looked at me very seriously and said, “Young lady, have you been good this year? Because I’ve got connections to the guy in the big red suit, and it’s getting to be that time that the naughty/nice lists start going out.” I told him that for the most part, I had been good this year (we don’t count that night I had one too many Lemon Drop shots and decided to horribly karaoke Hanson on the top of the bar table). He smiled once again and said, “I had a feeling you were one of the good ones. You have a very lovely night, miss. And keep smiling. Happy looks wonderful on you.”

At that moment, my heart melted into a puddle of mush. I had been feeling the crappiest of crappy not a mere three minutes prior to stepping into Lou’s line, but within moments of talking to this sweet, kind-hearted and hilarious soul, I forgot about the stresses of the day, the worries and challenges and bad news cloud that had been hanging over my head.

I thanked Lou and wished him a wonderful night as well, but walking away I realized that a simple ‘thank you’ wasn’t enough. I went over to Starbucks, bought a gift card and a cookie, and went back over to Lou’s line.

“Well hello, there! You’re back! Good to see you again! And so soon. Did you forget something, miss?” he asked when I approached.

“Good to see you again too, Lou!” I said. “I did forget something. I just wanted to let you know that you really made my night. I was having kind of a bad day, the worst actually. But you reminded me that as bad as things may seem, I have so much to be thankful for and happy about. And I have a feeling I’m not the only person you’ve had this beautiful affect on. Keep doing you, Lou! And never stop smiling. Kindess looks good on you.”

“Also, I hope you like cookies and coffee.”

I handed him the gift and thanked him once again, but before I could even turn around to leave, he gave me this giant bear hug.

“Thank you, young lady. That is the nicest thing a customer has ever done for me. You may not know it, but you just made my night as well. Like I said, you are one of the good ones.”

You guys, I not only walked out of that Target with my hot sauce and toilet paper, cans of pumpkin, brownie mix, marshmallows, ice cream and batteries, but with an overflowing heart.

The big man upstairs (God, not Santa, although I’m sure they’ve shared tips and tricks of the trade over a few beers and hot wings once or twice) works in mysterious ways. I truly believe that people come into your life for a specific reason at the exact time you need them, whether it’s permanently, or for only a brief but deeply meaningful exchange on a Thursday night in the checkout line at a department store. They touch your heart, make you see things that were perhaps a bit cloudy, and leave a lasting impression. People like Lou are one of a kind. And while our paths may never cross again, I have a feeling I will never forget him.

I’ve got a challenge for you, friends. When the opportunity presents itself (or when it doesn’t, create that opportunity), pay it forward. Do something nice for someone else, make someone’s night, give their heart something to smile about. Be the Lou you wish to see in the world.

Kindness is the shiznit, y’all. Spread it everywhere!

‘Tis the season for miracles after all. 🙂

 

 

 

My Legacy

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I’ve been thinking a lot about who I am and what type of legacy I might leave behind someday.

Not that I am planning on going anywhere anytime soon, or at least I hope not. But thinking about who I am today, who I could be tomorrow, and who and how I will be remembered as does shed some light and perspective on the things I’ve done, the things I’ve said, and the way I have conducted myself up until now. Have I been the type of person I wanted to be? I was raised to be? I was born to be?

I’ve decided that when I’m gone, I hope that if people say one thing about me, it’s that I knew more than anyone else when it came to artisanal pickles.

Just kidding, I don’t know anything about artisanal pickles other than nom nom nom.

In all seriousness, I hope that if people say one thing about me, it’s that I was kind.

I want to be kinder than I am funny. Kinder than I am intelligent. Kinder than I am pretty. Kinder than I am a good writer or runner or baker [or candlestick maker].

I want to be kinder every day than I was the day before.

That’s what I hope people say about me when I’m gone.

How about you?

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