In the past few weeks, with all I've been going through, I have learned so much about so many people. I've been shocked by some - in a good way - and disappointed by others, which is not so good. The kindness shown to me by so many has truly helped me to deal with things and get through this time, and I know as I go forward that because of those people I will be able to get myself sorted and back where I need to (should) be. Kindness is such a wonderful thing and something we do not share around as much as we should with other people. We tend to get so wrapped up in our world and bubbles, we forget there are others out there having a hard/tough time.
This leads me on nicely to my Number 2. At times I could take a big stick and whack her about the head with it - hard, before going back back for another go. At other times I want to hold her so tight, never let her go, keep her safe. In a few weeks she turns 18; I have no idea how that's possible, how life has flown by so fast. I'm sure we all think that though. I heard when I was younger time speeds up the older you get - I thought the people telling me such things were daft; I now know they are not.
Back to number 2. She's not a particularly grown up or street wise (soon to be) 18 year old. She's never been on a train and doesn't know how to use one (I find this shocking). She's never had a boyfriend (she could do with one I think). There are so many things she's not done or experienced that I had at her age and while I find that sad (for her) I am sure they are things she will come across in the not-too-distant-future. She's had it tough though and dealt with way-too-many hard times throughout those 18 years I am amazed at times how she's kept it together. She is inspirational in that sense. She is also exceptionally kind. Don't get me wrong; she can be a pedantic, stroppy, (sometimes) rude teenager (don't all teenagers go through that attitude phase?) but she also has the kindest heart of anyone I've ever come across. She will take on everyone else's problems, make them her own and do all she can to help someone she cares about get through a rough patch. Just 10 days ago she took her Mum's dog to the vets to be put to sleep - She took the dog; not her Dad creature, not the step-mother thing she has, not the adult children who double up as Cinderella style step-sisters, but my number 2. 17 years old taking a much loved dog, the last remaining memory she really has of her Mum (who died 5 years ago) to be put to sleep. How brave do you have to be to do such a thing? Anyway, there she is, dealing with all her own emotions, her own sorrow and pain, trying to get on with things, yet the second she found out about my cat she messaged me to tell me she was available for me whenever I needed her to be. She even offered to cancel her driving lesson yesterday in case I wanted to chat or (her words) 'sob down the phone'. I can't even put into words just what that meant to me. Her Mum would be so proud of her. I would never do that to her, unload my sadness onto her, she has too much of her own to deal with. Besides, I have my blogs and the people who live behind their computer screens for that - hence why I waffle away into the ether so often, but her thoughtfulness, kindness and selflessness really meant so much to me. Even more so when someone who is meant to be one of my closest friends hasn't even so much as acknowledged me for the past 2 weeks. The kindness my number 2 has shown me has made me even more determined than I was before to raise the money to go road tripping - even if I can only raise enough for me and her and I have to drive out there (eek) I will do all I can to get us there (I'm not over keen on it just being the 2 of us on our own out there but if that's how it has to be then that's how it will be). I want it - to be out there - she deserves it. I don't care what it takes now; I will raise the funds needed - with other kind peoples help would be a huge bonus of course, and it would be better with her brother and my friend joining us (safety in numbers and all that) but beggars can't be choosers.
I've always thought of myself as a kind person - to a degree. I'm always there for a friend if they need me. I can't always be there physically (visiting people costs money and I don't always have enough fuel to get to them) but my phone is always switched on, my front door always open, the kettle always ready to be boiled. I have customers who come in the shop just to chat to me about their troubles because they have nobody else to talk too (not always a convenient thing for them to do I will grant you, but I was bought up to never turn anybody away). I've loaned people my last pound before and gone without things to help another person out - I recently helped a customer out with some money I'd put by to get something I wanted. My need wasn't as desperate as hers though so I gave her what I had put aside. Sadly I'm not as kind as once I was though, due to way too many people taking advantage - it's not nice to treat someone badly people. I'm sure at some point my number 2 will become disillusioned (as I feel I have) and will stop being quite so kind; for now though I hope she keeps that part of her personality for I think kindness is the greatest of all traits we can have. I am aware some people show kindness only as a way to get themselves praise - I have a friend who organised something for another friend that was going through a tough time. At the time he organised it, it seemed like a genuinely lovely thing to do (he was raising money for something). It wasn't until afterwards though when I sat and digested it all I realised all he had done was come up with the idea. Someone else had actively gone out and collected the money, another person had made all the calls that needed to be made and someone else had produced the goods they needed, yet the friend who came up with the idea did nothing to make it happen (he never even added to the funds) and he happily took all the credit for it. Self promotion does not equal kindness.
I promote myself often - that's why I set this blog you are reading up in the first place. I wanted people to find me, learn about me, realise that deep down I'm a good person who could use being cut some slack which would then lead on to someone who will show kindness and donate the funds needed to get on the road trip, yet I have been upfront and honest from the beginning that I am making this all about me. At the same time though I also use social media to keep up to date with what is going on in friends lives so that I can be there with a kind word or 2 any time I may feel they need it. It's the whole yin and yang. Yes, it's all about me in one way, but I'm not that selfish I don't make it about other's too. The self promoting friend I am on about basically uses it all to self promote. Nothing more, nothing less. I've been through the toughest 17 days I've dealt with in over 25 years; not once has this friend even so much as sent me a message asking how I'm doing. If he'd bothered to pay attention to what's going on around him he would have known things haven't been great, yet all he is up for doing is sharing around how amazing he is; daily, yet if you ask him what kind of friend he is he will tell you he is the "very best". Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for his sympathy, in fact sympathy is the last thing I need. I'm just trying to show the difference in people who are genuinely kind for no reason other than they want to help, to those who are kind only when it suits their needs and serves their purpose. You can bet your arse the minute he has a problem or is feeling a bit low though he will be knocking on my door expecting me to smother him in the sympathy he's craving and when he doesn't get it (as I said I always used to be a very kind person; these days I am a little choosier in who I gave my time to) he'll then accuse me of being mean, thoughtless, insensitive and any other manner of negative qualities he can throw at me. In all the years I have known him I have never once heard him admit when he is wrong. I guess that shows just what type of person he is. Me? I'll hold my hands up every time and admit I'm in the wrong. I'll even apologise if I'm not because sometimes i'ts the easiest thing to do. When I was away a few weeks back with a friend he was really quite off and nasty to me one day so when it came to me addressing what was going on I started the conversation with "I'm sorry if I've done something to upset you today". No, of course he never came back at me after saying "I'm sorry too". I guess some people just can't accept that sometimes they are the ones in the wrong. I'm not sure if that is arrogance or flippancy; it's definitely not showing signs of a kindness trait. In fact it's very narcissistic - which again we all are to a point.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I need to take a leaf out of my Number 2's book and practice being kinder again because I know just how much it has meant to me in the past few weeks. I too have found myself wrapped up in my own world recently, and while I will always be there for friends (and as I said I often play counsellor to my customers) I've not always made the effort to put myself out for people quite as I should and when you give out kindness, don't do so to gain anything other than a warm feeling knowing you have been there for someone. Expecting something in return is not what it's all about.
In short this whole waffle I've been on it really just to reiterate one thing; a little kindness really can go a very long way.