In what feels like another lifetime ago, I was walking with an old friend back to the train. It was ass-hot outside, not normal for that time of year on the coast, and my legs were sticking together uncomfortably with each step I took; the blister on my foot threatening to pop if a squirrel so much farted near it.

“I don’t buy it,” he said, blithely as he kicked at a rock in our path.

“No?” I returned, twisting a leaf between my fingers. “I do.”

“No, I don’t think so,” he rebutted. “I’m fairly jaded.”

“I could have been,” I said, absently brushing a falling leaf off my shoulder, relieved it wasn’t a creepy bug trying to lay it’s creepy bug eggs in my ear. “But I’m not.”

We walked on in silence for a few moments – the comfortable sort of silence two people have when they know each other intimately enough to finish the other’s sentence; never rushing to fill a chasm of uncomfortable silence, because between the two of us, there never were such things. As I turned this piece of information – an answer I wouldn’t have expected from him – over in my mind, like I was examining a three-dimensional cube or a particularly exciting riddle, I realized I needed to understand his logic – we’d had similar childhoods, our lives veered off in our twenties, and were now in similar positions in our lives.

“So you’re saying that you don’t believe in the goodness of others?” I pried harder, determined to understand this betwixting bit of information.

“Not exactly,” he responded. “I believe that most people are in it for themselves.”

I mulled it over.

“How do you explain something like Band Back Together?” I asked. “There’s a perfect example – we have a pool of volunteers who work UNPAID to make the site a safe haven for anyone who needs it. And the readers? I’ve never, with the exception of my own personal blog, seen such a tight-knit and supportive community online.”

He thought about it.

“That makes sense,” he said, somewhat begrudgingly, as I sneezed three times from some nearby plant that was probably trying to take root in my nasal passages. “Bless you,” he continued.

“Thanks,” I replied stuffily. “Damn allergies.”

We walked on in silence, only interrupted by the rhythmic clacking of our footfalls against the sidewalk.

Finally, he spoke. “I’m going to try to live my life your way,” he informed me. “The way I’ve been living hasn’t gotten me very far – I need a new outlook.”

I stopped, forcing him, who was, despite the length difference in our legs, keeping stride with me, to stop too. I beamed at him before jumping up on top of him to give him a gigantic bear hug.

“You’ll see,” I said, beaming. “You’ll see.”

—————–

I was reminded of this conversation yesterday, after I wrote about my current changing circumstances. I don’t ask for help well, and I don’t do it often, because it makes me feel weak and needy. But I know that sometimes, the most important thing we can do is to be brave enough to admit when things just aren’t working; that I am struggling and not sure where to go next.

And while I was terrified to hit publish, because I know that asking for help on the Internet is rife with peril – not only am I showing you my vulnerability, I know that I’ve now opened myself up for greater and greater criticism. Much as I can pretend the nay-sayers don’t hurt in such a situation, they do. When I added the paypal donate button (under duress), I was equally terrified. The last thing I want to do is to be seen as someone who wants hand-outs.

But I’ve been overwhelmed; this time it’s in a positive manner. Your kindness is overwhelming.

Pranksters, you are my family. Like it or not, you’re a part of my family. And what you have done for me is nothing short of a miracle. I’m currently crying – not out of sadness, but out of happiness, because while even after I’ve hit rock bottom, the kindness of others is astounding. I’m taking ALL your advice, will be responding to your wonderful comments, and forming a gignormous Google document so that I can carefully plan out the rest of my life (or the immediate future – I don’t think “Marry Anthony Bourdain” will actually happen, so why set myself up for failure?).

Thank you.

From the bottom of my heart – thank you.

And once again, I’m reminded that the same light that shines upon me, shines also upon you. That we are all connected, we are none of us alone.

None of us.

Which is why I’m leaving you with this awesome photo (note liberal usage of soft-core porn lens):

kindness

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

25 Responses to The Kindness Of Others

  • Kat says:

    BAM! HAWTNESS!

    <3 Love your sexy ass!

  • Luna says:

    Strangers and friends are amazing. When I was raising money to go to an autism treatment workshop, I put up a “chip in” button. $2300 appeared in my Paypal account in less than 2 months. $1000 of it from a single person.

  • BakingSuit
    Twitter: bakingsuit
    says:

    You’re welcome. Thank you for asking for help. We all wanted to do something, but it’s hard when you don’t know what to do.

    Just cause many of us have never met doesn’t mean we can’t all care about each other and lend a helping hand when it’s needed.

    Tis just why I continue to believe that humanity is basically good. So glad we proved your friend wrong.

  • Heather says:

    Of course we’re family. You are our Aunt Becky, after all, and you’re not even the aunt who smells like moth balls and knits us scratchy wool sweaters for Christmas – you’re the *cool* aunt. xo

  • Vicki says:

    I was in a very dark place after my 3rd beautiful son was diagnosed with apraxia, hypotonia, sensory integration disorder, and motor planning disorder. As the specialist went on and on about his coarse features and all his other issues, I wanted to crawl into a deep, dark hole and cry forever. I found your blog a few months after that appointment and have spent hours reading about your amazing kids and your smart ass mouth. You are so much stronger than you think. When I read you putting yourself down, all I can say is Shut Your Whore Mouth! Your writing helped pull me out of a very dangerous place and return to my three loud but loving boys.

    There are some legit firms that will allow you to work from home as a customer service rep or assistant. Maybe something like that would work while you figure out what to do next.

  • Caro says:

    Flying Unicorns To The Rescue!

    I luver you!!!

  • Delicia says:

    When stuff happens to your friends, even internet friends you may have never met in person, there is a feeling of helplessness and frustration because you wish you could just BE THERE and hug the person silly and punch certain peoples in the noses and help pack boxes and carry hanging clothes. I’m glad you reached out to us and allowed us to help you in whatever way we can. ~hugs!~

  • Cindy says:

    I better see that cat wig prominently shown somewhere on this blog! :)

  • Nitza says:

    Hi Aunt Becky,

    I meant to comment yesterday but … ah, it was one of those days. Anyway, I am the QUEEN of easy dinners/lunches/etc. that are decently healthy, decently cheap, and packageable into single serving sizes so you can stack ‘em in the freezer for days when anything other than microwaving sounds like a Herculean task. (I know you’re having some days like that now, and we don’t want you to starve!). The easiest ones involve a slow cooker – do you have one? If not, I’ve got an extra (duplicate gift) that has your name on it–just email me an address to send it to. Will follow up with some recipes, too :)

    Lots of love,
    Nitza

  • Melissa says:

    So happy for you AB. You have a lot of fight in you and it takes a lot of humility to admit that you need help. We will always be here for you when you need us. You just need to ask.

  • Lindsey says:

    Seriously….

    15 cats and indoor hydroponic orchids.

    Keep your head up, lady :-)

  • Sue J. says:

    hang in there, AB.

  • steph gas
    Twitter: stephgas
    says:

    someone else had mentioned working from home as a customer service rep. aunt motherfucking becky, i spent years working from home and making money. not GREAT money, but money. let me know if you want some info on reputable companies (and which scams to stay away from). <3 <3 <3

  • Grace says:

    That’s because we love our AB!! I was stunned, but not surprised when I logged on to your blog at the end of the day and saw that at the time you had 85 comments!! It filled me full of all kinds of warm fuzziness. I thought to myself “Maybe now she can understand just how much she means to all of us!”

    You are our ROCK, Becky. Your words have lifted us all up and made us all laugh when we were having hard times. We’ve gained strength from your determination and incredibly sarcastic wit. When you’re low, we remember our own low times and know we have to do something to help!

  • katrina says:

    Ha ha ha……..I’m glad you’re ready for any horny goats!…….But also, i’m glad that you feel lighter. And….you should leave that “donate” button up for awhile……some people (i’m sure i’m not the only one..) would like to donate, but might be pinchin pennies til the 1st of the month.

  • Sam says:

    @ Stephen Gas: would you be willing to share the work at home advice with me as well? My company announced this morning that they’re closing next week and I’m loosing my effin mind over here! I’d appreciate any advice/contacts/ideas that you’d be willing to share SO SO much!!

    AB: we’ve not officially met yet. I’m your niece Sam and I think you’re more awesome than cake and Vicoden! Ive been lurking for a few months now and in those few months you and The Band have helped me more than you’ll ever know. I’m so glad that you’ve given us all the opportunity to repay you by helping you get on your feet. I am positive that you’ll kick these next few months right in the taco and be better than ever!

    Seriously, thank you so much for just being you!

  • Pat says:

    Becky- am so sad for you and a check is almost in the mail- is the St Charles address the right one? (sorry i don’t do paypal). BTW this is not a donation; this is a pay it forward– you will survive and prosper and give back to others

  • Lynda M O
    Twitter: Lynda M Otvos
    says:

    What’s wrong with me that I cannot find the Donate button? Am I in need of a Rx glasses change or a better scrolling mouse ?~! Help me, Aunt Beckster, to help you.

  • AB
    We all are here to help! and I posted on your last post (too early for me to be more creative with my words) my email where I may be able to help. I am serious and never give out my email but I’m willing to make an exception. Been a long time reader on thestir and here, just never posted (let’s see how much I use this word today) until a week or so ago. I’ve been through hell myself and hope maybe I can help out.

  • Mrs. One Day says:

    You know how much I love you, AB. Your friendship, mentoring and belief in me has changed my life for the better in ways I’m only beginning to understand. If I wasn’t there for you when you needed me, what kind of person would I be? You’re my friend, my Bandmate and someone I look up to and admire tremendously. I will always be there when you are in need because that’s what friendship is all about.

    Much love and glittery unicorn cupcakes,
    M.

  • Marta
    Twitter: marta28
    says:

    I love you and your horny goat weed.

  • Sam says:

    It’s about damn time that someone takes care of YOU for a change! Let us take care of you the way that you’ve always taken care of us. You deserve it and I don’t ever want you to feel bad for taking it. You’ve been the light in the darkness for so many of us and it’s awesome to be able to repay the favor in some small way.

    Xoxo

  • Michelle says:

    I’d like to say nothing good has come out of the hell that is cancer in my baby girl’s brain, but damn if it hasn’t showed me how good people are.

  • Bill says:

    I’ve been let down in the past. By people who I considered close friends. I still believe people mean well but would rather rely on myself and immediate family first before going beyond it. Don’t know what I’d do if my immedate family support ever failed me. Best of luck for you.

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