Living With A Tender Heart: Some Personal Thoughts on Kindness

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I started this blog back in November of last year to share all sorts of stuff but my focus has shifted, I guess, because all my posts lately have been about food! There’s nothing wrong with that; I personally love finding new recipes online to try, but I haven’t been very consistent either, so I’ve decided to just start posting some various things. There are a couple of blogs I follow that sometimes a post is no more than a couple of paragraphs talking about their latest crochet project or just talking about family stuff.

You might not see me post a lot of stuff very often, but I’m not a full-time blogger. I’m a wife and mom and I have a life away from my computer. Blog posts have focused a lot on my current health issues and food because that’s been more of my focus as I try to heal my body from autoimmune issues (if you’d like to read more about those look back at my posts referring to my Healing Journey). I’ve got tons more to share but have been having some Internet issues and then I was out of town for two weeks visiting family. I had my computer and my notebook full of my Posts To Do list, but though I shared a few things on social media I would find here or there I was not focused on that but on spending time with family. Then I got home and the Internet issues were worse! (We think it has something to do with the receiver in my computer and we’re working on it.) But suffice it to say that even though with what I just said I have some great recipes to share including a paleo pizza that is out of this world, how to make healing bone broth, my go-to favorite paleo meal when I want something yummy and wholesome but am feeling lazy and don’t to spend all evening in the kitchen (or morning for that matter! It’s good for breakfast too!), a dairy-/nightshade-/junk-free pumpkin spice latte recipe, and then I want to share about my trip and my thoughts on traveling paleo-style with a travel companion who happens to be a toddler AND gluten-free in addition to a tribute to my grandmother who recently passed away.

Phew! But on to this post. I wanted to talk about kindness. Why? I was bullied yesterday.

Yes, you read that right. At thirty-five years old and by another (so-called) adult. I still can’t believe it. Let me share my story.

We live in a townhouse of an apartment complex. There is this beautiful clubhouse with a pool, fitness center, and a room called, The Business Center. I’ve never spent any significant time in there, though we’ve lived here eight months. My husband wanted to test a theory about my Internet problem and wanted me to connect to a different wireless network. I had just put our little one down for a nap so off I went with an iced coffee in hand and it seemed like I was getting this wonderful vacation!

They have it decorated very nicely in there – it kind of looks like the study or library in a fancy house – and there is a whole wall of windows that look out on a courtyard full of trees and flowers; there is a line of Birds of Paradise just out the window. It’s very nice (you might have seen a picture of it yesterday if you follow me on Instagram!). There are two computers and a printer but I had my laptop and was sitting in my own little corner with my headphones on in my own little world, working on my Etsy shop. And I was in Heaven.

There were a couple of people coming and going but we all kept to ourselves. Then a few kids came in. Then a few more. And a few more until that small room was full. And they were loud. I was really surprised but realized it was mid-afternoon and school had just gotten out. There is a rule about no kids under 16 being allowed inside without an adult, but I wasn’t going to be that person and I turned up my music and kept to myself. Then I turned my music up some more. Then a little more. Finally I could barely stand it was so loud in my ears along with the raucous noise in the room, and it was getting hard to concentrate. Believe me, I can work under distraction! And actually, I can’t work when it’s too quiet, but this was ridiculous. They were not only loud but crude with terrible language. Not to mention the fact that the entire reason I had gone down there was for a little peace and quiet.

So I removed my headphones, turned around, and very politely asked if they would mind keeping it down a little. I was very nice. They continued to come and go and though they quieted down for a minute it was soon just as loud in there as it had been. Then two adults walked in. They sat at the other computer and I was stuck between the two groups who began to converse and laugh and obviously knew each other. It only got louder and I have to admit I was getting frustrated but I was still very nice and asked them one more time to please keep it down. I heard some rude whispering behind me but ignored it and got back to work, though it was frankly a little upsetting.

Ten minutes later I had had it. Without a word I packed up my stuff and got ready to go. I am not very confrontational so it was very hard for me to say anything at all even though they were being so rude, and I absolutely cannot stand tattle-tellers or people who complain, but I briefly wondered if I should head across the clubhouse to the offices and talk to someone. That seemed silly so I decided to just go home.

I got up and went to the door and the room got very quiet. Then someone very loudly made a rude comment that does not bear repeating. I froze and turned around to find it had come from one of the adults in the room of all people! Everyone was looking at me and then started to laugh. It may not have been directed at me and it was almost as ridiculous as it was rude, but it was in fact rude and I was dumbfounded. I very badly wanted to put this…person in their place but I just turned around and left, but I was shaking.

I made a split-second decision and turned left toward the offices instead of right toward the door and went to someone in the office. I felt so absurd but I didn’t know what to do and thought it was best I leave it be instead of having an emotional outburst and sometimes a word from someone in authority carries much more weight.

I was still shaking and almost in tears as I explained what had happened and the woman I spoke to was so sweet. She came out from behind her desk and touched my arm and was as shocked as I was. She was very sympathetic and I actually felt rather silly for going to her but she assured me she was glad I did and told me they had actually received another complaint about behavior in that same room just the day before so she promised to look into it, wondering if it was the same group. Then she and I started to visit about how appalling that was and ridiculous. How can another adult act that way?

She and I have kids just a few months apart; mine just turned three and hers will at the end of this month and we talked about wanting our kids to grow up knowing how to treat other people and to be kind and considerate. We love where we live and there are some really great people here; people are so friendly (most of the time) and it’s rare to be outside and not have someone wave or say hi – even if I’m in my garage with the door open! Our neighbors will wander into our driveway when we’re outside and visit or sit next to us at the pool and we’ve gotten to know some great people here.

The kids are another story. Though, I don’t mean all of them and I am sorry for saying this, but the fact is there are some AWFUL children here! Rude, inconsiderate, and just plain mean! There is a small park on the grounds and on one of our first trips my then barely two-year-old son was bullied by a little boy who couldn’t have been more than five or so – he was little! He was shouting at my son, blocking him from getting onto the play equipment, and when he pushed him at one point I had about had it. It took every bit of composure I had not to actually throw that little kid off the play equipment! And the mother was there!

I should have said something to her, but I let it go. We’ve encountered that little boy again, along with a few others that are just ridiculously mean. It’s so sad! Another child can’t run up to mine without me tensing up and getting ready for a confrontation! The last time that happened I almost cried. This boy ran up to him that wasn’t very old but much bigger than he was and I immediately went on the defensive and ran across the playground as he asked him a pointed question about his shoes. To make a long story short, he was beyond sweet and kept taking my son’s hand, racing him around the equipment, helping him up when he fell, helping him put his flip flops back on when they fell off and more; it was precious.

What kind of world do we live in I have to feel the need to go into protective mama lion mode every time someone approaches my child?! I know I can’t protect him from everything and he needs to learn to stand up for himself, but it’s just so sad.

I’ll admit I have a very tender heart. I can be over-sensitive, but yesterday really bothered me. I got home and cried and cried and cried. It’s not the first time that has happened recently and I don’t get it. And sometimes it just gets to me.

I was bullied relentlessly all through school. It got really bad around second grade and continued through about my junior year when most everyone seemed to just grow up all of a sudden, but there were a few that never let up. I’ve had jobs since where there was someone in the office determined to be the bully and make me miserable, and it has brought all that back. And I have had several occurrences recently and as a result there are a couple of places I just don’t frequent anymore. There is a particular someone I know that has wondered why I never want to spend time or talk to them, but they are always very judgmental and critical, and frankly a bit of a bully. It feels like everything needs to be perfect all the time with them and I will almost make myself sick stressing about when I’m going to see this person. Who wants to willingly subject themselves to that?!

My husband and I started a transportation business a little over fourteen months ago and we are dealing with harassment from another company in town. They have been relentless and rude; not to mention extremely unprofessional and immature, and I pity them; they are so insecure and paranoid they feel the need to attack us! The irony? They had a chance to hire my husband but cancelled his interview an hour-and-a-half before it was scheduled and yes, we now have many of their clients, but they have all come to us after bad service from them! If you can’t keep your customers don’t get all bent of shape when they’re taken care of by someone else and you lose their business. It’s not that difficult. And it’s hard not to go on the offensive, as in some of these other situations, but sometimes we just have to be the bigger person and move on and let it go. It’s not easy but the best thing to not stoop to their level but I still don’t understand it all.

Some people are just rude, and others are actual bullies. I don’t hold anything against all these people. I just don’t get it. I never have. I personally don’t understand racism or war or hatred. Why can’t we all just get along? Why does someone feel the need to pick on my TODDLER at the playground?! What kind of ADULT joins in on the ragging of rude teenagers? How unprofessional is it to harass another person just because they are doing their best to provide for their family and make a living, not to mention provide good customer service? And what’s the point?

I can’t help but wonder if sometimes I wear this sign everyone but me can see that says:

I’M SENSITIVE!
PICK ON ME!!!

That’s ridiculous, I know, but it feels that way sometimes. Bullies are cowards at heart. Or so incredibly unhappy they have to make everyone else miserable. I feel sorry for them. I pity them, but sometimes it gets to me. Sometimes they make me cry. And part of it is just because of the sheer sadness of the situation. As I already said, what kind of person willingly hurts another?

I’m a nice person. I’m good people. I keep to myself, I’m polite, and I go out of my way to help others. I saw a little sign on social media recently that I saved and almost used as my cover photo for this, but I’m not sure where it came from and didn’t want to step on any copyright’s toes, but it said, Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness.

I’ve been told I’m too sensitive, that I read too much into things, that I should just get over it and move on, but who says I’m too sensitive?! I’d like to say to every person that has ever told me that, what if you’re not sensitive enough?

I didn’t post all this to complain but to share my story and maybe encourage someone else dealing with something similar – I know it helps me! – and to say this:

BULLYING HURTS. DON’T DO IT.

Life is too short. There are too many other important things going on than to pick on each other. And if you are one of those people, let me just say this one other thing and then I will get off my soap box. If I ever learn my child has been guilty of bullying, I would see it as one of my greatest failures as a parent. No matter how old he is.

How do you deal with it? Whether it be directed towards yourself, your spouse, or your child? I can’t help but think of the golden rule and doing unto others, etc. One more word from me in addition to thank you for “listening” me ramble on, and here it is. Be kind to one another.

Have a great day,
Emily

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