Thursday, October 28, 2010

Twisted Sisterhood or Small Acts of Kindness, by Misa

Recently, I was on my way to Dallas to attend a Texas Beef Council special event hosted by a fellow blogger (shout out to June Cleaver Nirvana Holly Homer!!). My daughter had been having a horrible time adjusting to 5th grade. She wasn’t sleeping, was angst-ridden over EVERYTHING, was so unhappy with her body (she’s 10!!! This worry and seeking of validation from others starts WAY too young), and was obsessing about middle school (which is still a year away).


I heard Katherine Schwartzenegger on a radio show, talking about her new book, Rock What You Got. I sat in my car and listened as she expressed how she’d felt exactly what my daughter was feeling. Needless to say, I stopped by the bookstore on the way home and picked up Rock What You Got. We’re reading it together and it’s really helping! Amazing.


Today I heard Kelly Valen talk about her new book, Twisted Sisterhood. It goes beyond the issues discussed in Rock What You Got (and I’m anticipating needing it as my girl gets older), tackling the complicated relationships women often have with one another, including passive aggressive behavior, mean girl behavior, bullying (anyone hear about Joy Behar on The View with her “comic” bullying?), and other layers of complexity and judgement within these relationships.


I see them starting now with my daughter, and while it’s great to observe and use in character development, it’s definitely not good for a girl trying to figure out who she is, what she believes, and where her validation comes from.


All this got me thinking about why it is we (meaning our culture) work so hard to tear others down instead of build them up.


I’m absolutely of the simplistic mindset that little acts of kindness go a long, long way, and shouldn’t we spend our energy on that kindness instead of on negativity?

Think about these scenarios. What would you do if:


  1. You’re on a two-way surface road driving south and there’s a lot of traffic, including a line of cars coming the other direction, in their turn lane, trying to turn left across your lanes. Do you stop before the intersection and let the cars make their turn, or do you block the intersection? (As I drove to a class I teach in Dallas tonight, I watched as car after car after car stopped in the middle of the intersection, blocking those cars who were trying to turn. When I approached the intersection--and mind you, traffic was slow up ahead so it’s not like I was blocking traffic behind me--I stopped so the cars could turn. But cars in the lanes on either side of me kept going, edging forward. It took a good minute or two before the cars in the other lanes stopped so those people could make their turn).
  2. You walk down the aisle at the market and come across something that had fallen from a shelf and is on the floor. Do you pick it up and put it back on the shelf, or leave it? Time after time, I watch as people walk on by. My kids do it at home. Walk ON the pillow instead of picking it up! ARGH!!
  3. People are coming out of a concert. You’re in a hurry. Do you wait your turn, or dodge people, cutting them off as you dart in front of them? Why not slow down and just wait?


I wish we could all be just a little more kind, because the reality is, you never know the impact your small act of kindness will have on someone else. Case in point, I got an email two days ago (at exactly 9:51 am :) and it changed my whole day.


Misa,

OMG! This book [Cursed] was good. It's a good thing that I DVR'd my shows, because I could not put this book down. That twist with the brothers, I did not see that coming. This was a great read.

I'm starting The Chain Tree tomorrow. I anticipate another giving up the TV show for this one as well.

Again, what a great story.


I think the fact that this reader took the time out of her day to tell me how she loved my book is amazing. She didn’t get anything out of it (except my everlasting devotion), but her message made me smile and feel giddy inside. It made my day (still is, in fact, two days later). I’m sure she had no idea how her message would make me feel.


Small acts of kindness. Isn’t that what we should spend our energy on, rather than the complicated twisted sisterhood relationships we focus too much time on? I imagine we’d all smile a lot more, don't you?






10 comments:

  1. Misa ---

    This is brilliant!

    I luuuvvv Random Acts of Kindness and aim for doing at least one a day...and my rule is it has to be for a complete stranger.

    And I also live my life on the Pay It Forward plan.

    Here's an example...have you ever noticed when you simply smile & say hello to a stranger...the odd almost uncomfortable look and hesitation you get back? But slowly, they return your gesture and seem to lift their shoulders just a bit.

    'Course they also think you're crazy...but we're writers...so like that's anything new!!! LOL!!!

    You rock, Soul Sister!!!

    Sexy Sassy Smart Kindness Rules Wishes --- D. D. Scott

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  2. I'm amazed by how people act. At Bouchercon when they brought out a free buffet, perfectly nice people (mytery writers and fans) elbowed their way into line, pushed people back to get ahead of them. I couldn't believe it. Yes, it happened to me and one of the people who did it is someone I know though she's not particularly friendly. I got out of the line. I wasn't that hungry and I'm sure they weren't either.

    I smile at everyone, gang bangers, people who look unhappy, it's amazing the smiles I get back.

    Marilyn

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  3. It's always the small things like saying "Hello" that'll bring a smile to my face.

    We have a pantry in the workplace and I've seen staff walk around a dropped item before I picked it up.

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  4. Misa, great post! This really hits home for me, particularly the part about driving etiquette. I picked husband up from the train station last week and approached a red light. I stopped short of the light because there was an entrance to a parking lot and someone wanted to make a turn. (Light was still red.) Had I inched forward, the person wouldn't have been able to turn, so I stayed where I was. The car behind me held an older gentleman in a luxury convertible, who laid on his horn while I waited for the other car to turn. When I looked in my rear-view mirror, he held up his middle finger for as long as I held his gaze in the mirror. My impulse was to get out of the car and ask him what the problem was, but my level-headed husband counseled against that. A week later, and I'm still flabbergasted. When did it become the wrong thing to do to exhibit common courtesy? And not only that, in what bizzaro world is it appropriate to give someone the middle finger for doing so? I'm so glad to read posts like this and people's comments. It makes me feel like it's not a completely mad, mad, mad world out there. Maggie

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  5. I completely agree with you. And a smile does go a looong way :-)

    Another thing that amazes me is when pedestrians jay walk or cross at uncontrolled corners. Here in Halifax they just step right off the curb without even looking up. They know they have the right of way, so they take it, whether it's safe or not. Personally, I don't think I'd much care if I was in the right when I'm lying broken on the rode after a car hit me because it couldn't stop in time. It costs me a few seconds to check the road (or walk to a pedestrian crossing) and it could mean my life, so why do people not spend the time and save broken bodies? Or at least the heart attack the driver suffers when you dart across the street in front of them!

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  6. "broken on the rode?" That's the British spelling, sorry. It should be "road" =).

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  7. Zita, really? Pedestrians always have the right of way? That's crazy!

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  8. Thanks for stopping by, y'all!

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  9. Awesome! Thanks for the shout out...ya know I love you and I should tell ya more often :).

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  10. Hahaha, Holly! Love ya, too!!!

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