Read more from Hannah at xoVain!
Sometimes I get really angry at humanity. Usually it occurs when I watch or read the news, which is why I try to avoid doing so. Other times it's when I encounter the incredible rudeness that occurs on public transit here in Toronto. If you've experienced it, you'll know what I'm talking about. Shout out to the cursing old man who shouted and glared at me on an overcrowded bus when I accidentally tripped over his foot -- I hope we're cool now, man.
Existing in the world can be disheartening sometimes, it happens. I try not to let it deter me from being a decent human being though. You know, "please," "thank you," hold the door, give up your seat to someone who needs it, etc. "Everyone you encounter is fighting a battle" is an overdone saying, but it rings true.
Everyone has bad days, we all snap sometimes, we all make dick moves, but despite all that, I try to look at everyone with light. I try to have some kind of goodness inside of me that might resonate with the people I encounter so that their private battles are fought a little easier. Whether that's giving a stranger a compliment (which, according to science is emotionally beneficial for both parties), or giving someone an extra-great tip when I can manage because I know how rough working in the service industry can be.
My desire to keep the good vibrations going is rewarded when I'm on the receiving end of that kindness. Paying it forward is a real thing, and it's good for your soul to keep the chain going. Recently, when I wrote about my failure to achieve my 2014 running goal. Clover, a lovely xoJane commenter, offered to send me a pair of sneakers to make my dream of morning jogs a lot more viable.
I was blown away by her offer, and accepted after some prodding from my mom. Good running shoes are expensive, and being a post-grad means certain purchases just don't get made. When that pair of shoes showed up at my apartment today (along with a cheerful pink running jacket and a sweet card), I was flooded with thankfulness that there are still giving, kind people out there, and on the Internet no less.
It also made me realize what an incredible community we have here. I've seen you guys craft real life friendships through the comments section, support each other in tough times and cheer each other on when times were good. I've read comments from people that have made me beam and cry, people who have offered words of understanding when I've suffered the losses of family members or dealt with other not-so-great life curveballs.
I figured I wasn't the only one who'd experienced the love of the xoJane community, so I pooled our writers for stories of their own.
Kate: "When I first moved to a new city, I only knew one person -- but I knew a hell of a lot of xoJane writers and readers who lived in the area. A few in particular introduced me to a huge network of accepting, friendly queers and nerds, and I've made a lot of friends since then -- but I would've never met any of them without the xo community."
s.e.: "A reader sent me ILLEGAL FRENCH CHEESE." (Damn, that's love. I want cheese. -Hannah)
Mandy: "A reader sent me a dog training book once. Another sent me a box of Greenies treats to the xoJane office addressed to my dog. I think I Instagrammed the picture a while back." (From firsthand experience, Mandy's dog Sam is the sweetest little dude around. He totally deserves gifts. -Hannah)
Louise: "Honestly the best thing I ever got from a reader was a tip about what might be causing my pseudo seizures. I got a long really thoughtful e mail from her. She had been there, experiencing what I am experiencing. Her suggestions and insight have lead me to gain revelations in what could be going on with me. Stuff I'd never thought of before. It made a difference in my life. I remember being so afraid to write that post about my episodes. But the outpouring of support and understanding was amazing."
Lesley: "The original artwork of Rufus [the cat] and I (wearing jetpacks, no less) that a reader sent me after he finally passed away -- it makes me teary-eyed every time I stop to look at it."
Emily: "People (beautiful, special, angel people) sent my new son gifts when he came to live with us a few years ago. One reader and occassional writer made a picture with her daughters welcoming him to his new home. It's still on my fridge. "
Dang, you guys are nice.
I'd love to hear about the goodness that's come out of the xo community for you, or even just stories of awesome, generous humans you've come into contact with in the day-to-day. This song just came on the radio so maybe listen to it while you comment.
I also hope maybe this has inspired you to up your own kindness game. If it hasn't, don't harsh my mellow, OK? Take your bad 'tude elsewhere. I'm dubbing the comment section of this article The Love Zone, and I hope reading that makes you feel as gross as I did when I typed it.