In the end, what will I have left in this world? I hope to have left some great laughs and a few great memories. There may be tales about how one smile from a little girl could light up a room. Yet, ask me what I want people to remember? My words.
I stood in the work elevator next to a girl. Her energy resonated a familiar insecurity. Elevator rides with strangers tend to bring about anxious nervousness; an uncomfortable silence. I broke the silence.
“You have the most amazing hair.” I stopped my words here, they weren’t well received.
What this lady didn’t know is that I’ve paid for hair extensions to add the same type of volume and length to my own hair as this stranger unknowingly possessed. And it didn’t look nearly as beautiful as this lady’s natural locks. She was beautiful and she didn’t see her own beauty. Instead, she quickly exited the elevator away from the kindness I tried to offer. I came off as creepy and she ran, I don’t blame her. People are not always kind, and an elevator is a confined space.
Women are not always kind. We can tear each other down with a look. We can eat other women alive with only a few words. Yes, I’ve been on the receiving, hate-filled end. I have also used my word talent to tear other women and men down. I hated that feeling. I hold shame inside for becoming that person. And each time I faced these times, my heart broke. Why? Tears flow, both on the in and outside with one question. Why hate your own kind?
We are each designed uniquely beautiful and capable. We’re banded together in a sisterhood. Embrace your community, welcome others. We should come together next to each to other as a united front. In this unification, go beyond your gender. Go beyond the color of your skin and the shape of your body. Rise above your childhoods. Go beyond hate.
In Ancient Greece, armies formed a Phalanx. They banded together, side by side protecting each brother who stood next to them. The city of Sparta was known to not rely on their walls, as they had none. Instead, they relied on their men. Neighbors were their protection. Their men united as one of the strongest walls ever known in ancient history.
Today is one of the most populated times in the history of our planet. Yet, so many of us stand alone. Children stand alone in the face of abuse. Parents are often absent and self absorbed, they choose to exert control instead of compassion. Women stand alone clawing their chipped polished nails at the glass ceilings. They hope desperately for equal pay and some recognition. Men stand alone battling each other for superiority, for strength. They mark what they feel like they should own. We are divided into genders, into labels. And we have forgotten our most important role. Together, we are a race of humans.
Humanity is exuded beyond the skin we wear. Together, we cry the same tears and share similar experiences in our common emotions. Each of us are bonded in this one experience. We are all born onto the same Earth. At the end of our time here, our bodies will return to this Earth as dust. Memories of who we were will be all that is carried forth into the future generations, the stories left with our ancestors.
Walk among your fellow humans and extend one genuine kind word. It’s easy to tear a soul down, but there are no rewards in these actions. You will only find self preservation. And when you die, what will your legacy be? People will remember the pain you caused. You will be remembered as selfish. People will pay their ‘respects’ only because they knew you. They will not show up because they cared, liked, or actually respected you.
Within compassion is another word. PASSION. Be passionate about being a good person. Become your best self. Be passionate in helping others. Be passionate in saying a kind word to a stranger, no matter how creepy it sounds in the elevator. Rise above yourself and make a life about helping others. Many will remember these deeds at the end of your days.
In the song “Given to Fly,” Pearl Jam states:
“And he still gives his love, he just gives it away
The love he receives is the love that is saved
And sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky
A human being that was given to fly.”
Give away your love, give away your compassion, and save the love you receive. Savor the few kind words you have collected over your lifetime. Be present in compassion and practice it daily. Go beyond your personal human experience, choose to soar with compassion and love. Spread your wings to encompass all humans with love and acceptance. Share one kind word.