There's this odd feeling I have about "Kindness" like some folks just don't get it.
I really enjoyed this article recently, which I'm about to share on the FolkWoman Facebook page because it's just a great piece about the difference between "kindness" and "niceness."
I haven't always been a nice person, but I've always been kind when I have the chance. When someone is being critical or rude, I can reflect their behaviour right back. I call it mirroring. Some might call it parroting. When dealing with their own idiocy, some idiots do shut up. Unkind people however can't seem to find their off buttons. So I share their unkindness right back at them. In social behaviour, what I am doing is giving them a dose of their own "medicine."
People don't like what they see when I act the way they act to them, which makes me ponder - maybe people don't like themselves very much right now.
Perhaps it's all the faux-woke who are actually waking among the COVID blues, or who finally understand how inadequate our social policies are now that they may have to rely on them, but since everyone and their dogs are now being exposed to serious fear of the unknowable future, like the rest of us rabble, there seems to be more enthusiasm to "do right," but what does "doing right" even mean?
This week was a benchmark for me because I have been helping out friends, colleagues, and employers fill out and apply for grants for a long time but I had never applied for my own grant until this week.
A big part of me finally getting around to it was my confidence.
We forget as we get older and more confident in ourselves how scary it was growing up and testing our knowledge. Some of us were hurt by peers and gatekeepers in our search to find personal meaning and relate to our world, others found success and ran with it.
If you had seen me as a kid, you'd have probably thought: Energy! Social butterfly. "Clever" was often used.
But in class. I couldn't sit still or if I did, I'd zone out for hours day dreaming without any real control over the lens of time. It's disorienting to have lived in a world where no one would let me follow my thoughts to their fullest logical course. I am and will ever be a complex thinker who thinks in forms of systems. I can't really look at a car engine without knowing what I'm looking at. But my use for this skill depletes if I do not know all the terminology for automotive experts. I say there's a lose fan. I don't know which fan it is, but it's coming from here.
That is, if an automotive guy doesn't assume I know nothing based on my gender. Yep, up here it still happens a lot.
I worked at a car dealership in town here and their own service manager who knew me and my knowledge of the products still gave me stupid general advice when I would ask them to take a look at my car for *specific* reasons. I stopped trying to patronize my own boss' company because they honestly sucked. That was when I jumped ship. I hated being mansplained to by someone twice my age and who doesn't even know how an engine works despite being the major parts orderer.
What I think is the difference between kindness and niceness is that niceness is a socially conformed pleasantry but kindness is looking out for others.
Applying to grants as a disabled artist or "mad artist" means that there's a lot of grants and programs that say they're "accessible" but they aren't. They only reward neurotypical ways of application, reporting, and exhibiting talent.
Many are just waking up to the fact that we live in a colonial world, one that is divided by corporate policies, legal policies, insurance terms, and operating procedures, but it doesn't mean that any of these "innovative" or "groundbreaking" ideas are kind. It just means they are efficient. Know what else is efficient? Machines.
I've stopped being able to work because the kindness of northern businesses were lacking when I could've used the help. Now, I've found the routine that works best for my health, and it cannot include eight straight hours of dealing with people. After 15+ years of it, my nerves are shot, my disability exacerbated, and my health held just out of reach.
I also submitted to the Non-Fiction CBC contest today and focused on an incident here in Terrace that has bothered me for ages. The biggest issue I've had is that people in the north can be so..."nice."
If you need people, be kind. And we all need people.