There is a simple kind of peace
That comes with learning to give no fucks
A quiet calming that creeps upon you
Like a pleasant stalker
Showering you with the gift of freedom
“There is no such thing as altruism” ~ my sister
There are many adages that point to the very concept my sister’s quote conveys – perhaps the most common ‘tis better to give than to receive’ – but the idea is the same. When we do something nice for someone else, be it gift or gesture, we get something out of it too. Both parties win. As I’m setting out on this vague journey of performing random acts I’m reminded of that again and again. I will give to myself as much as I am others, which I guess makes the whole journey a bit selfish. I’m okay with that. I’m not always as good at being kind to myself as I am to others – and it was this understanding that led me to my first act of my personal challenge.
Yesterday, after reading an article that discussed the benefits of sending a handwritten card via snail mail vs a digital version, I gathered up my somewhat dusty writing box, blew some memories and bits of fluff off the lid and found an old set of stationery. Keeping in mind that I wanted to shower others with kindness as they have done for me… … I used my long-forgotten stationery to write two short paragraphs to two of my dearest friends – just letting them know, in a focused way, just how much they both meant to me.
Since I have a bad habit of putting things off, I immediately sealed and stamped the letter and marched it out to the post box. It should arrive to them sometime tomorrow I would imagine, as they are only a few miles away. I find myself, now, a little happier when I think of it. The anticipation rises; I know they will be touched and that it will be a happy point in their day, which in turn makes me smile and makes my own day better. Proof positive, at least for me, that there really is no such thing as altruism. One point to you sis.
I try to be a kind and thoughtful person. I let folks go ahead of me in line, help old ladies get things off high shelves, give questioning tourists accurate directions, that sort of thing. Little kindnesses, as we all know, can make a day better.
Just recently I turned 40, and a few days later I took part in the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, hosted by Misha Collins and his charity foundation Random Acts of Kindness. As someone with chronic pain, PTSD and anxiety disorders I can assure you the entire week was lived well outside of my comfort zone.
My personal theme became, simply “try” – don’t stress over whether something will go right or wrong and whether or not I’d mess something up for my teammates, just try. Try I did… and more often than not I succeeded. Perhaps not brilliantly… but successes were had, along with a few failures (losing my shit in a fit of tears over not being able to find the right pasta at SEVEN different stores, blurry video of teammates performing a challenge) but nothing that couldn’t be overcome.
Mostly I gained a small measure of confidence and decided that this theme of “try” was a perfect one, not just for GISHWHES week, but for my entire 40th year.
One of the things I wish to try, is that, over the course of this year, I want to perpetrate 40 Acts of Random Awesomeness… er.. Kindness… and not just the little things that come up in the course of day-to-day life… but bigger things that I actually have to plan and execute. I’m pretty excited. I’m pretty terrified. Both emotions are strong motivators and I’m confident that I can meet this goal and, even if I don’t – at least I will have TRIED.
I don’t have a full list of what I wish to do yet, but I have a few ideas and I’ll be sharing them here as I go. If you, dear reader, happen to stumble upon this wee blog… feel free to leave me some ideas in the comments, I’d be happy to hear them.
Meanwhile, I’ll be surprising a hardworking single-mother neighbor of mine with a 15 dollar gift card on the 1st of September, I’m plotting to adopt a solider with some of my friends and, if I can swing the semantics I have a little something going for my sister. That’s three… only 37 more to conceptualize and carry out! Wish me luck!
I start slow
Setting sun at my back
Adele in my ears
One step, another
Keeping vague time with the music
New song plays as I hit the back stretch
My body struggles with new challenges
Still steady, if not strong as the stretch ends
I round the corner where that same stretch looms
Hitting it again with increased strides, faster this time, sprint
Walk, sprint, walk, finding my breath over and over until it’s all gone
The dawn strides across my bedroom floor
Like a master with his whip
Light rays slither and snap
Pulling me from the comfortable womb that is darkness
Shoving me into wakefulness; the pains of the day
Sadness grabs at me
Enticing me back to the hazy peace of half-sleep
I fight to rise
A timeless struggle
I force myself
I stand; not proudly
Going through the motions
Determination in lieu of strength
Cosmic dust pulls no punches
When throws come
Get in the game
Letting particles sift through your consciousness
Essence of waste
My exhaustion wears me like a tarnished crown
Wrapping itself around me
Spider web hairs cinching tight
Scurrying about my mind
Like a bug caught in the light
It flickers and weaves
Creating fleeting patterns
A kaleidoscope of fright
Hovering at the corner of sight
Too tired for thought
Too awake to rest
Spinning, dancing, taunting me
Voices creeping, whispering my name
Visions of yesterday haunt my reign
My Queendom shimmers in the haze
As my exhaustion wears me like a tarnished crown
In rare moments of sleep
I dream of tampon angels
Rubber gloves dancing on a light box
Awake, I run
Run for coffee, for tacos
Endless trips to the dollar store
Glue and googly eyes
Props and preparations
Before me images appear
Cavewomen craving cookies
Rock band album cover
Microfiche and mugshots
Eating kale off Legos
More fun than you know
French maid in disguise
Shown in museum, proper
Bar ware Intervention
Comfort zones scattered
Can’t wait for next year
Couldn’t agree more.
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The tide is changing
Water charges up
Things not meant for me
Leaving behind new mysteries
Churning on the salt-gray sea
Tomorrows change hue
As I blink my eye
The horizon whispers
Like a lover’s sigh
And buried lies
The need to appease
Wash me clean
I’ll start again
A force of nature