I didn’t want to write this yesterday, sorry people. And really my thoughts on it have only felt more coherent today anyway, I needed longer to think.

I’ve always been kind. I don’t know if it’s natural, maybe somehow my parents’ chromosomes combined in some way that meant I came out with kindness despite their lack of it. (Though I suppose that’s complicated, and not completely true to say… My dad can be very kind, but it’s hit or miss, and those he loves are far less likely to be on the receiving end.) Or, perhaps, I ended up that way because of the environment I was in. I suspect the latter.

But anyway, it’s always been something that’s been commented on, the fact that I was kind. I’ve just sifted through old school reports and it’s cropped up multiple times. And the one strong memory that I associate with it in terms of myself is winning awards for kindness at one of the schools I went to. I actually think it was such a good thing that they did this, that they made it clear the value of kindness and helping others, as well as academic success. So this school had two award systems. One for endeavors (doing something well academically) and one for citizenship (acts of kindness or helping others). In both cases you would receive an award after you filled a chart once a teacher had commended you for those things ten times. And then, at the end of the year, the student in the school with the most citizenships would win one overall award, and the student with the most endeavors another, and the student with the most combined awards the final one.

I won all three in my 3 years there, but I won the kindness one twice. I never really worked to be kind, I have just always hated being mean. I don’t understand mean people and I don’t like it. Kindness makes such a difference to people and is so easy to do, I don’t understand why people aren’t generally kind. And no one is always kind, I’m not, but I don’t understand intentional meanness.

But the thing is, this word was sitting horribly in my gut. Because yeah, I was on the receiving end of a lot of unkind things, and kindness wasn’t well practiced in my house growing up, but actually I realised today, the reason it sits so uncomfortably, is because I kind of hate myself for being kind.

Because all these school reports I’ve read tonight, they talk about me being kind, and considerate, and easy – going with a ready smile. I’ve read ‘a pleasure to teach’ so many bloody times, and yet it makes me feel a bit sick. Because I put up this facade, this fucking wall, and I was there and helped people and was kind, almost always. And yet I never asked for help, I never relied on anyone, I never rocked the boat.

And I could kick myself.

I sat back, and I took it, and I was affable and pleasant with a good sense of humour and kind and considerate and a pleasure to fucking teach. And nobody knew, because I never told anyone, I never trusted anyone, I buried my shit within myself and became a different person for everyone else. I could’ve done what my brothers did. I could’ve been a nightmare, raged, gotten angry and violent and caused trouble and had questions asked. I couldve let people know I wasnt okay, that nothing was fucking okay. But no, instead I decided to be kind. To put myself on the end of the important list, to be unworthy of care and kindness and attention.

And fuck, I hate myself for that. I hate myself for being kind.

One thought on “Kindness

  1. it wasn’t an either/or thing you chose, dear one – being kind or telling. they are entirely separate. you and i are similar (and so are our brothers) in that we turned inwards, where they acted out. their displeasure went out into the world, whereas ours got directed in. i don’t think it’s as simple as being a gender thing, though that’s a definite aspect…but it’s certainly an us thing, and i hear your regret for it.

    the wondering about if we had made different choices…had told…had let others in…it tortures me too. but that’s part of the sickness of it, that we were entirely dependent on them, weren’t we? for our lives. we were small and we had no other options. even as we fantasized about rescued, imagine the terror of it, being taken from the only family we’d known.

    and…your kindness bought you the kind of attention you deserved, the kind that you and everyone else in the world wants. i’m so glad you went to a school that recognized it. i’m so glad for the kindness you likely received in return for yours – imagine if you didn’t have that? imagine if you did act like your brothers, raging and spinning? would anyone have made the right attribution, or would it have become ‘pocketbrit is distracted/angry/rageful/exuberant/has ADD/doesn’t apply herself/doesn’t concentrate’? we tried to be so good because that’s the only thing for which we were rewarded. for which we received some semblance of love or affection. that’s the sick and wrong part – that we weren’t just loved because, that there were conditions. but we didn’t make those rules, dear one.

    so don’t hate your kindness, my love. it is one of the best things about you. and what kept you quiet and complacent was terror, and their fucked up messages and dynamics, not your kindness. you didn’t tell because they bred mistrust into you, they planted the seeds of shame and grew it into the monstrous soul-sucker it became. a little girl is no match for any of that. hell, most days we adults are hard-pressed to match the fury of his noise.

    it is in fact incredibly beautiful to me that you continue to be kind and gentle, especially given all of the ugliness that they put all over you. the fact that you continue to choose kindness, again and again, is not stupid. that is why i love you, and why the world needs more people like you. that is how i know you will be okay, because at the core of you is kindness and love.

    and…it’s not too late to put you nearer the top of that list. you’re up there on mine… xo


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