small Kindnesses and Big Impacts

I always wind up being surprised at the level of selflessness and compassion people have, even for the smallest of things. I guess I shouldn’t be, though our lack of connectedness tells me otherwise. It seems like every day we’re being exposed to some new level of evil or violence, carried out by corporations or our government, against an innocent population who have been brainwashed into thinking they are powerless to do anything about it. War, environmental destruction, increasing levels of inequality across my native country, the United States, and the so-called “developing world,” and so on. Lest we not delve into the mindlessly large cesspool of random acts of violence between one human being and another, which seem to get increasing coverage on our blessed news stations, whose only motivation is a ravenous fixation on increased ratings and profit. Social media, too, has contributed to this general distrust in others. I will not give a long-winded account on the linkage between societal collapse and the corporate/government power that facilitates it, that will have to wait for another day. But I will say that my experiences have taught me much the same.
I come from a family in which every request was viewed as either an imposition, or a means by which one can manipulate the situation to fit one’s wants. These messages repeatedly assaulted my consciousness for so long that I started to internalize them. simple requests or advice from people was seen as dangerous, lest I open the door a crack only for it to be thrown off it’s hinges, exposing me to the elements forever. Now, giving things to people/ Helping them out? I saw that as the most dangerous thing, as once you accepted anything from anyone, you were forever in their debt unless you found a way to give them something better. so I shut the door.
I shut it firmly, locked it, threw away the key and nailed it shut. I let no one in. Parents, family members, friends, teachers,, they all wound up on the other side. I hurt a lot of people doing this, and I’m not proud of it. I am still attempting to make amends to people, by changing my words and actions. On the way I had many unfortunate, very traumatic confrontations with people that were (if not equally, than definitely more so), brought upon by myself, in addition to people’s ignorance towards my blindness, among other things. Upon reflection, perhaps I should have saved myself the heartache and the countless amounts of energy I suffered as a result of my aloofness and cantankerousness. However, I don’t think it would have got me to this point if I hadn’t. So in a way, it was pivotal in my development. All of my experiences, in my opinion, have to do with the level of disconnectedness with which we all suffer, which seeks to increase the distrust between people. I will hopefully explore this in later posts, as it is a theme that is very important to me.
Although I have been living with these narratives for the majority of my life, it only takes one or two gentle reminders to help me realize that the world isn’t’ always the way it seems on the news or social media. I am reminded of two incidents in my life that underscore human positivity to their fullest potential. I was in my hometown of Hartford, Connecticut, visiting family. I was attempting to catch a bus from Hartford to visit my friend in Boston. I ended up catching the bus to the station too late, and unless I wound up their in a short amount of time, I was going to be late and stuck for another day. I was afraid to ask people. “I don’t deserve help,” I thought, over and over again as the minutes ticked by and my mind got more frantic.
I finally made up my mind to ask the bus driver. It was either that, or ensure that I got no help by refusing to ask. So I did, and the driver got in contact with her supervisor, who offered to pick me up and drive me to the station. We met up with him and he drove me there with two minutes to spare. I thanked him profusely and offered to pay him for his troubles, but he would hear none of it. I was delighted with my luck, and was amazed that anyone would actually take time out of their day to help someone like me with no material benefit except the notion that they contributed something good to the world.
Another similar incident happened a few weeks ago. I had lost my iPhone charger and was frantically searching for it for about an hour the night before, and two hours that morning. Unfortunately, I never found it. I suppose it got lost in my travels the previous day, as I had flown across the country and figured that something had gotten mixed up at the airport. Either way, I had to call an Uber to get somewhere. With my phone dead, that was going to be impossible. However, I elected to go to some of the local businesses in my neighborhood to see if they would let me borrow their charger. I finally found one, called my Uber, and even got a replacement charger free of charge from my Uber driver. This was totally unexpected, and I was delightedly shocked that I was being given a charger by someone I had just met.
I’m not trying to make a big deal out of these interactions. They were merely kindnesses exchanged by one stranger to another. I’m certainly not going to read into the motives of these people. Because while it could be said that they were done for the wrong reasons, I can’t know for sure what’s going on in one’s mind, and I’ve found it much more prudent to think of people’s motives as being pure until I find out otherwise. So, I guess the lesson I’ve learned in the last week, and, honestly, the last six years since I’ve been an adult, is that people are genuine and good most of the time. We all deserve a little kindest thrown our way, even though we may not be in a position to give it back. so, lets forget the narratives that are being spoon fed to us, and be kind for kindness’s sake. Pay it forward! That is all folks, thank you for reading.

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