I use my morning walk on my way to my body/mind transformation to reflect upon things. It’s cool, the sun has just begun to peek over the horizon, and the usual hustle and bustle of the Lankershim corridor has yet to begin.
I returned this morning, after another solid hour of pushing myself to the limit, another hour of refusing to give up, to see this lovely Tweet by @jeannevb: “#PIMPtipoftheday: Be kind. You have no clue what’s going on in someone’s life behind that pasted on smile.”
I smiled. Great minds and all, for I was dwelling upon this same subject just a couple of hours earlier.
I had a friend – a very dear one – say to me recently, “Oh my God. I bet you were a cheerleader, weren’t you? I hated girls like you.”
I replied that I did go out for cheerleading in junior high, and actually made a cut and tossed pom-poms for a bit.
“I knew it,” she said.
Ah, if only.
I tried out to prove to myself that I was just as good as “those” girls. I was a geeky kid; I preferred books to parties. Most Saturday nights found me curled up with my latest literary acquisition, reveling in the pages.
Books were safe. I had a terrible time in junior high. The girls around me were sprouting into young women, with long glossy hair and legs like colts. I still looked like a child. Boys would tape signs to my back that read “Pirates Dream – Sunken Chest.” Even my best friend called me Queen NeverTitties.
Children can be cruel when they form packs. I returned to school after recovering from an equestrian accident; I was forced to walk on crutches. A group of eighth-grade boys would wait for me each day as I painfully made my way down the exterior of the middle-school. The crutches were quite a conversation piece as I had no cast to accompany them – casts are not applied to a broken pelvis. So the comments would begin: loser, faker, and so on, and then the inevitable moment would arise when one of them would kick the crutches from underneath me, forcing me to teeter precariously, and causing me to fall, on my injured body, more than once. I began to “sick out” from school, until eventually my mother pried the truth from me, and the perps were properly chastened.
I mention this because of many people’s assumption that I have had a gilt life, add to that with Jeanne’s Tweet, which is sweetly reminiscent of the sage words of Atticus Finch: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
I think it’s time for all of us to take a moment now and then, and try on another person’s skin. Life today moves at such a breakneck speed; it’s easy for us to dismiss those who don’t always keep up. Compassion is a commodity that can be hard to come by.
Next time you look at someone and feel the urge to categorize them, try something different – don’t. Don’t presume to know them. Don’t presume that their lives are perfect, for, after all, they are human, and humans are riddled with imperfections. Honor them with compassion, for there but for the grace of God go all of us.
Now, go write.
HRH, Princess Scribe