on kindness

Often underrated, sometimes seen as weakness but never, ever misplaced – kindness.

We live in uncertain and, often, frightening, times.  It would be easy to become insular and introverted, to batten down your own hatches and keep the world out  – god only knows I’ve bent my back the wrong way to do that, but it turns out I’m just not wired that way; few of us truly are.  ‘We are more than only human’ – TV on the Radio lyrics, apt and true and in my ears as I type.

I have been on the receiving end of the most jaw-dropping kindness in the last year, and I don’t want it to go past me without putting it into words, I don’t want to forget it, though I know I never will.

Like this:

The family and old friends who have astounded me with their resilience and the new ones that have cropped up in my life, turned up on the doorstep of my cottage offering so much love and support – with pretty much jack shit in return.  Ever present while I was mostly absent. I don’t always feel I deserve it.

The woman who stopped me in Asda, tired and a bit pissed off to be dragging my kids there after work and school, who told me she loved my clothes – she thought I ‘looked really cool.’ I did not feel cool, I felt every shade of shit, but her embarrassed (she hesitated before turning her trolley back to tell me) compliment made me feel all kinds of awesome.  Lady, I’d have hugged you, actually I’d have kissed you long and hard on the mouth, though you probably didn’t want to be molested in the tinned veg aisle on a Wednesday night.

The tall, older woman who waiting for a blood test like me rescued me with tissues when I decided to throw my coffee everywhere. Everyone else just stared mute. She didn’t.  I stared at her for a little bit too long, she had beautiful eyes, the same eyes as someone I miss.

The doctor who held my hand and squeezed hard when I was scared and I needed it the most.

The woman at the checkout also in Asda (I should spend more time in Asda) who told me mid scan that I had a beautiful smile (and that I looked like a presenter on Loose Women and a news reader – one of them MUST be a woman, so loose or not I’m taking that one. News reader could of course have been Trevor MacDonald, Peter Sissons or Krishnan Guru-Murphy, won’t dwell on that).

The guy who paid my parking because I had no change.

The message on a post-it on my door – ‘you’ve got this’.

The friends who drive hundreds of miles for a one-night visit.

The guy who gave me £1 because I had no change for a trolley.

My little girl who said if she had a choice of anyone in the world she’d choose me to be her mama.

My list is practical, and funny, and wonderful, and endless: Lifts, grass cutting, wine, coffee, gin, tea, whiskey, brownies, books, long letters, magazine cuttings, postcards, chocolate, funny cards, beautiful cards, poetry, putting me to bed, getting me out of bed, flowers on my doorstep, flowers on my car windscreen, a GIANT cactus, reiki, dinners, breakfasts, gardening, bubble baths, reassurance, roadside rescues, so many hugs, so many kisses, lawnmowers fixed, woodshed filled up, lugging my furniture, telling me to ‘shut the fuck up’ when I’ve truly needed to be told to shut the fuck up, getting my shopping, building my bed, building fires, sitting around them with me, talking funny shit until the tiny hours, putting up shelves, putting up shelves again when they fall off the wall, believing in me when I definitely didn’t believe in myself, a well placed word, late night check-in texts, songs – ah, the songs.  I know how lucky I am, I know that every single day.

Kindness is the only good thing that has come out of the shit storm of terrorism that’s festering around the world, and tragedy that strikes horrifically and mercilessly, “look out for the helpers, you will always find people helping.” I don’t know who said that but it’s so true.

Don’t ever, ever underestimate the power of kindness and don’t hold back on it either.  It honestly, truly changes people’s lives.

Thank you x

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