So, those of you who know me might expect that given the chance I would want to write about how I love drag, or doing hair or choreography and dancing, especially considering I’ve been involved in these activities in one way or another since I moved to Atlanta in 1986! But I’d rather take this opportunity to speak on how we live our day-to-day lives, not how we act on stage, but how we act when no one is watching.
It seems that many of us tend to live our lives looking out for “Number One”. Well, in my opinion, unless your taste in fetishes leads you to seek golden showers, then a lot of our looking out for Number One could be replaced with looking out for each other!
It doesn’t take any more time, energy or money to treat a stranger with respect and kindness then it does to treat them badly. It costs you nothing to hold a door for someone, to smile, to let someone over in traffic, or to wave thank you when a driver lets you over. A random act of kindness can make someone’s day, and add positive energy to a world, where we need all we can get!
You can’t know what a stranger’s day or life has been like, what they’ve been going through, who may have hurt them, who they may have lost…and you never know the difference one word of encouragement can have on someone’s otherwise crappy day.
Once I was waiting at a bus stop, for a bus that was late, on my way to a court date dreading what the day would hold. Just then I saw a homeless man walking towards me. His hair and clothes were filthy, and his pants had a huge urine stain on the crotch. As he got near I braced for him to ask me for money. Instead, he stopped and asked “Is it gonna be a good day or a bad day?” Slightly stunned, I said, “Excuse me?” He repeated “Is it gonna be a good day or a bad day?” And then added, “It’s up to you!” I replied “Then, it’s gonna be a good day!” He then just smiled and walked away. It totally lifted my spirits, and I was struck with the thought that if someone, in this man’s shoes, could still choose to be kind to a stranger, then there was no excuse for me not to be able to do the same!
Surely, also, if there is room in our lives to be kinder to strangers, then we can find room to treat those close to us a little better, as well. How many times do we decide to ignore a simple “What’s up?” from a friend, in a text, or voicemail…or decide to take several days to respond, just because we can’t be bothered, at the time? Just as we never know what is going on, behind the scenes, with strangers we encounter, we never truly know what a friend may be going through, or if that simple text of “What’s up?” may have been a friend reaching out with a thinly veiled cry for help…
Although, thankfully, I’ve never been suicidal, I can imagine a well-timed word of encouragement has talked more than a few people back from the edge…I’ll admit, I’ve ignored people before, although I try not to…and I’ve been ignored when I really needed to talk… I can tell you there have been days in my life, where a kind word, or quick response would have, and has made all the difference to me…not to mention the unexpected boost I get from a random “Just thinkin’ about you” message! Those are the best!
Of course, reaching out more, allowing yourself to care more, tends to make you a little more vulnerable…I have an ongoing argument with a close friend, who believes that living your life this way makes you weak, because it leaves you emotionally open to attack, or to having people try to take advantage of you.
I argue that the opposite is true. I believe it takes greater strength and bravery to live your life wide open, because there is that chance you might get hurt…and, if you’re not open to the possibility of experiencing pain in your life…then you’re not open to the possibility of joy!
…and that’s how I see it!