I was standing inside a building the other day, waiting to watch some bunnies hop about. I was by the doorway, trying to stay out of the way. A young couple with my small child in a stroller was trying to come through and the stroller got caught. I instinctively grabbed the front of the stroller and lifted it over the bump. I didn't think about it, just did it. I wasn't looking for anything in return. I just wanted to be kind and help these folks out. The bunnies were about to start hopping and it was important that the baby saw those very important bunnies do their thing. The parents were grateful. I felt good about it. The kid squealed. We were all winners in this scenario.
Now this morning I experienced the other end of this spectrum. I dropped my daughter off at school and decided to treat myself and get some coffee. After all it was my birthday yesterday and my caffeine addiction only gets stronger with age apparently. I park my car, step outside the car, and almost get run over by an old man who (if I'm being honest) shouldn't been driving anyway. Ok, cool, old man, fine. So I do what I do and shake it off. Maybe he didn't see me. He was 193, right? So I go inside. There is a gentleman at the counter ordering his coffee and food. I stand back, giving him some space. Next thing I know that crazy old man who tried to run me over walked into the shop, aggressively and rudely walks in front of me and straight to the counter. Now I am a nice person. Maybe I didn't always used to be but I am a nice person and try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I was thinking maybe the lady behind the counter would be like, "Sir, I'm sorry but she was next in line. Let us take care of her because she was patiently waiting her turn and you're a giant asshole,"... or you know something like that :) But, no, there was no aknowledgment and she just continued to take his order while I was left standing there with a are-fudging-kidding-me face on.
So what did I do? I did patiently wait my turn. I did not say anything to the thousand year old grumpy man or to the lady behind the counter because at the end of the day, would it matter? Kindness only works if it comes from a genuine place. I don't want your kindness if it's forced. Where is the gratification in that? I want to be kind to someone because I like being kind. I like making people smile. I like to make people happy. The young couple who needed help with their stroller needed help and I gladly did what I could. A friend of mine put up this post the other day about kind people. The truest statement in that post was that generally kind people are the first to get hurt, to be taken advantage of, to be looked over. She was right but kindness isn't a form of weakness in any sense. It takes courage to show someone kindness especially when they are not being kind to you. I could have told that old man that he was a big, fat jerk but he wouldn't cared. It would've fed more into his negative, in the end hurting myself. Don't get me wrong. I'm not an angel. I can be mean as hell. I used to be mean as hell but thankfully time has taught me it's senseless and harmful. And I'm not an angst filled teenage girl anymore...
There are times in my life when I do find it hard to be the kind person I want to be. I do have to check myself especially with people and things and situations that try my nerves. You have to find a balance. Sometimes I am so interested in helping other people, I forget that I still have to be kind to myself. The hardest lesson to teach my daughter is that balance. Be kind to others. Care for people. Love as fully and openly as you can... but take extra care of you, be kind to you, care for you, and most importantly love yourself as fully and openly as you can. Kindness is a gift, both to receive and to give.
So I am still trying to figure out what this website is going to be, the things that I want to say, the format that I want to use. I have been doing my songs on here. I think there is a place for them but perhaps Penny Thoughts should be that, just my thoughts on my life. While this feels like a journal entry, I know that it can't be that personal. A girl has got to keep her secrets, right? So this will be more of an experiment for me to try different writing styles. I really have only written on one fashion my entire life, a very personal fashion, because it was what I have known. A great teacher once told me to write what I know. So what I have written are poems about my life and a novel that maybe one day will be published (here's to hoping).
So what to write now? What to write when there a million thoughts in my head? I don't want to write about the passing of my father because I feel like that is always on my mind these days. I don't want to write about how my daughter, my only child, is getting older because words can't stop the inevitable. She will one day grow her own wings and be on her way. So where does that leave me?
The only thing left is to write about is the generalities of life, of my life, this life that I know. Obviously the poems that I have been putting into this website are from my life, from many different years of my life. As I transpose them from my beat up journals to this very computer, I find myself evaluating the days that have gone by. I see the fiery, young girl that I once was to the more docile, loving woman I have become. This is what I can take away from all of it. I am extremely lucky to be where I am, to have become who I am because there were moments in my life where I could have gone the other way.
I think far too often we focus on all the things that go wrong, on all the things that hurt us and forget that all of those things equal to the greater good of the people we become. If I had not been cruel, I would not now be kind. If I had not hurt, I would know not what joy really is. I could have stayed down that path of self destruction, that path of woes are me, that sad lonely path of never letting anyone in but where would I be? I may have never had my child. I may never meant the man who eventually became my soul mate. There are so many things in my life that I could have held onto, so many things that I could have let dictate who I became, that writing these things again makes me so grateful that I let go. What we have our moments, moments that unknowingly decide who we are.
So who am I now? I am a woman, a strong woman who would rather choose love then hate. I am a person, a compassionate person who would rather inspire a smile then give you a frown. I work hard, love more, and tend to put the world before myself because I spent far too many years being self centered, losing the sunshine that others brought me. My daughter once asked me why I was no nice. Why did I work so hard for everyone else? I have no answer other then this. I want to go to bed at night, knowing that I helped and did everything I could to make this world better. Are my efforts appreciated? Yes, by the people that matter. And when they're not? That's not my burden to carry. True, I know that sometimes my kindness is taken advantage of but it is a price I am willing to pay even at my most frustrated moments. I deal with my struggles in my own way, on my own time, and hopefully in a healthy manner.
Life is about what it can do for you at the end of the day. Life doesn't owe you anything. People don't owe you anything. Both are perfectly fine. You don't be kind because of what you get back or because it's the right thing to do. Whose to say what the right thing to do is really? You be kind to be kind and keep it simple. Life is so beautifully simple and just as wonderfully complicated. If you can find your joy in both, then life is a breeze.