An Unexpected Kindness (Today's Moment of Gratitude)

I reflected yesterday on the topics of abundance, gratitude and contentment. A manifestation of gratitude on which I wanted to act was to create a new category of “Writing Everyday” which focuses exclusively on building my capacity for thankfulness. My task was made easier when a neighbor went out of their way to do something nice for me.

My day started off chaotically as the roads were covered in icy snow and I made it to work with literally a minute to spare (I am the sort of person who is fifteen minutes early to everything, so being on time stresses me out!). On top of that, I had to juggle managing multiple situations in the moment while being internally distracted by upcoming events. By the time I got home, physical labor like shoveling snow felt like it was only adding to my burden.

I shoveled a path for my dog and to the mailbox, and turned to the sidewalk, which I try to keep open. It was then that I noticed it was already neatly cleared, much more expertly than the job I normally do. I felt relief and gratitude sink into me, not only because I could spare my shoulder and back potential injury, but also because it meant that someone thought well of me and wanted to help me out.

I decided I don’t have to try to extrapolate lessons or think about ways in which I should have been kinder in the past. For today, I can simply rest in appreciation that a simple physical action by another lightened my load and made it easier for the good in me to shine. Thanks, anonymous stranger! What’s was the last unexpected kindness you received?

Buying a Small Gift (Today's Simple Pleasure)

I have been stuck in customer service hell on top of all of my ongoing ADA accommodation and other stressors. Multiple online processes in which I have normally been able to engage without any issues have turned into hours and hours on the phone without resolution. Moments like this convince me we are living in a computer simulation and that my sector has a glitch! I decided to channel my energy into generosity by buying a few people in my life a gift.

I have a lot of hesitancy both in receiving and in giving gifts. Something about the process feels very vulnerable and fraught with potential rejection. The moment of buying the gifts I did as of late, however, felt like an act of generosity. One of the recipients told me my action was kind. Kind is not a word I am used to hearing in relation to myself; I have repeated a mantra that I am not a kind person.

I think the root of this is that I want to be intimidating in my presence; I want a type of power that engenders respect. I would like to be able to soften over time as someone gets to know me, rather than to have to toughen and toughen again when they assume, based on my appearance, that I must be naturally soft. A lot of my gender dysphoria connects to this. Being kind by giving a gift seems right, now that, due to T and such, my physical appearance looks tougher than it ever has. Gifts are concrete and crude compared to other acts of connection, so they suit me in their inherent awkwardness.

If I dwell on it, I find my way of being is more nuanced. I’m drawn to the idea of practicality as well as romance as it relates to gift-giving–at times, I’d rather give someone something they’d use whereas, at other times, I’d like to give them something sentimental. I thrive on being able to help out in a practical way but also in being emotionally supportive. I can blend the “masculine” and the “feminine” in the same body and spirit and that makes me euphoric.

Do you like to give gifts? How do you express kindness? How, if at all, do the ways in which you show you care to others connect with your sense of your gender?

Encouraging a Friend (Today’s Simple Pleasure)

I wrote recently about encouraging a stranger which was a task I found challenging. It was a lot easier for me to reach out to a friend in an uplifting way. Even so, I think that I hold myself back at times from doing so because I worry I won’t have the right comment to add or that I’ll seem overly-invested in their life in a way that disrupts the balance of the friendship. As a single person, I assume that I need positive input more than my partnered friends who have someone else in their life. When I step back, I realize that isn’t necessarily the case as people may share and receive kindness in different ways.

I am also aware that I bring some expectations to a check-in with a friend. When I ask someone how they are doing, I’m really asking for an answer and I feel closest to those who give me a full update rather than a curt “all’s well” in reply. I pity those who ask me how I’m doing with an expectation of it being merely a greeting, as I usually have a steady stream of consciousness about the current state of my life ready to go. How often do you reach out to those with whom you are close to encourage them? How does it affect your relationship?

Encouraging a Stranger (Today’s Simple Pleasure)

“If you’re reading this, you are an awesome person!” isn’t really my style. I attempted to satisfy today’s simple pleasure through my use of social media, by writing positive comments on posts I read, but I felt very unfulfilled in doing so. I struggle to be uplifting and kind at times, and I think attempting to be nice to others in a way that feels forced is especially doomed. So, instead, I plan to look for ways to brighten someone’s day in the next week that arise naturally and feel on target. Who was the last person you encouraged? How did they respond?