…You’ve Got to Be Kind

It’s currently the holiday season of the clusterbleep of the year that has been 2020. As I write this, Christmas is 12 days away and people are currently celebrating the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

Let’s face it, this year has been one sad, stressful, heartbreaking thing after another. We’ve had to adapt to living with a pandemic and an extremely contagious airborne virus threatening our lives. Many of us know someone or had a loved one who contracted the virus or even died from it.

I myself spent the first half of this year trying everything in my power to help my dying mother, but even our best efforts couldn’t stop Alzheimer’s landing its final blow on her six months ago.

We had a presidential election that seemingly divided my country into even stronger divisions of “Us” and “Them” than ever before.

We had to learn how to live a new normal of cloth masks covering our faces, sanitizers covering our hands, and keeping our distance, even from ones we love. The first vaccines against COVID-19 are only just now being administered and it will still be many months before we find out whether the vaccine is effective at creating the herd immunity we need to stomp out this disease and resume some semblance of normalcy.

The Gulf Coast got smacked by what seemed like hurricane after hurricane (while Florida somehow miraculously escaped the brunt of hurricane season). Wildfires devastated Australia.

We lost notable names in all different fields: Chuck Yeager, Olivia de Havilland, Alex Trebek, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Bob Gibson, Helen Reddy, Neil Peart, John Lewis, Regis Philbin, Charlie Daniels, Kelly Preston, Ennio Morricone, Little Richard, John Prine, Kenny Rogers, Terry Jones, Chadwick Bozeman, and Don Larsen, just to name a few.

This world has seen so much sadness and negativity this year — especially this year — and I think we’ve forgotten how to be kind to each other. We’ve spent the year calling people names like “demon-rats”, “soy boys”, and “magats”, spent our quarantine time turning Internet comments sections into even more despicable dens of denigration, and have just all around been terrible people to those outside of our “bubbles”. We need to learn how to be kind to each other again, especially now.

It doesn’t cost a thing to show kindness to someone. But here are some ways we could spread a little joy in the world:

  • Wish someone a nice day.
  • Tell someone they’re beautiful. Doesn’t matter what the person’s gender is. Compliment them on their hair, their eyes, or their overall demeanor. You never know whose day one kind comment like that could make.
  • Give someone a bouquet of flowers (okay, this one may cost a little money, but it’s okay). I have yet to see someone without a smile on their face after they’ve received flowers. My dad used to send his mother (my late grandmother) flowers for Mother’s Day every year as a way to show his love and appreciation for her. I dream of the day someone sends or presents me flowers.
  • Help someone in need.

I know there are many other ways we could spread kindness during these trying times.

This is intended to be a somewhat short post, but before I post this, I want to end this with a quote from an author who’s becoming a favorite of mine, Kurt Vonnegut.

The following quote comes from Vonnegut’s 1965 novel, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, where the title protagonist (Elliot Rosewater) is preparing to deliver a speech for the baptism of his neighbor’s twin babies. There is slightly mild language, but I promise you he’s saying it for emphasis.

Kurt Vonnegut

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.

Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Damn it…we’ve got to be kind! I know it’s hard to do right now in times like these, but we’ll be worse for it if we don’t.

Where My Strengths Lie

I haven’t written on writing in a while. But it’s something I’ve been thinking about.

I used to think that I was a terrible creative writer. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have attempted to write fiction only to look at my work and feel absolutely dissatisfied with it. Every attempt I made at world building and character building seemed to be an epic fail, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I was so terrible at writing fiction. And it made me feel bad about my abilities as a writer. I had this concept in my mind that a writer wasn’t worth their salt unless they could write fiction. It’s taken some insight from some fellow Ravelers for me to realize that I’ve been looking at my abilities in the wrong light.

I’m not a good fiction writer. And that’s okay.

I’m a nonfiction writer. My best writing comes when I can look at a set of cold, hard facts and weave them together with some well-thought-out prose. I can take information and turn it into a story. I can take a concept and write a full essay on it. I can take bits of my own life and find a way to share them with you, which is why I have stuck to writing this blog for three and a half years.

So what if I get frustrated with the characters I create? The characters that populate our own real world create themselves. So what if I can’t come up with my own fictional land? The land around me…especially the land around me (Florida is so crazy it’s become its own meme) has its own stories to tell. I can’t draw, so I might as well write and play with yarn, right?

So, yeah…today’s post is kind of short, but I just wanted to let it out into the world.