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Have Courage & Be Kind

You don’t have to listen to the world for very long to realize that we’re an achy, raw, wounded sort of collection of living things. A whole kaleidoscope of suffering and no, I don’t think I’m over-exaggerating, because I wouldn’t just try to spell that word if I didn’t mean it. People are hurt. People have been hurt. They are hurting, and they will continue to hurt and be hurt in the future, because we are humans, and humans are notoriously screwed-up creatures.

We’re a little bit beautiful, too.

It’s been a big week. A stressful week. An anxious week. A week that makes you want to hide, if you’re anything like me. How could this be right? How could this be okay? How could we be in this position without expecting the zombie apocalypse to rain down on our heads tomorrow?

But look at us. We are still here.

Maybe we’re not thriving right now. And maybe I don’t know exactly the point I’m trying to make with this. I don’t have all the answers; as I write this I’m a bit of a mess myself. This is a glorified journal, a therapy session to share with all my friends maybe we can figure some things out. And as I scroll through Twitter and Tumblr and Instagram, and pretend not to see things on Facebook, one thing keeps standing out to me. One motto, piece of advice, whatever you might call it.

At risk of ruining my punk-rock cred, allow me to direct you toward the new(ish) live-action Cinderella movie. The one that takes place in a fantasy world where you find the prince and have a fairy godmother and it all turns out okay in the end, but not before you suffer for it, first. (And suffer a lot. We don’t talk a lot about the trials and tribulations of poor Cinderella, do we? About her courage? No, we don’t, but that’s a post for another day, I suppose.)

Have courage and be kind, ​we’re told in that movie. Again and again and again and again. At first it sounds like a cheesy fairy-tale sort of thing to say.

Have courage and be kind.

What does that mean? In the context of the movie, it means standing up for yourself, standing tall, keeping your dignity and respect. Have courage. Have the courage to stand up for your beliefs, and stay strong in the face of hard times. Face your demons again and again and choose not to let them win. But be kind. When your enemies show up at your door or in your Twitter feed, face them with kindness. With grace. With forgiveness. With a little bit of love. Even if they might not deserve it.

Have courage.

Be kind.

We live in a world that doesn’t exactly encourage either of those things. It’s easier now to hide behind a computer screen than it is to go outside, and it’s certainly easier to face the world with acidic sarcasm and pessimism than it is to look someone in the eyes, smile, and tell them you hope the rest of their day goes well (and really mean it). Here and now, these are ideas that could be met with confusion. Because they’re hard. They take a decision, an effort, and when you do these things, when you’re courageous and kind and treat those around you with all the grace they might expect from not an ordinary girl in sweatpants but a full-on queen, you stand out in a way that matters.

Our world, our neighborhood needs courage right now. Desperately.

Our world needs kindness. We’re aching for it.

It’s easy to lose these things, especially right now. But my challenge to you would be to approach those around you with love and courage in equal measure. To stand tall, and choose love and grace over biting words. It’s not easy. I’m still working on it and most of the time I lose. This is a letter to myself more than anyone else, I think.

Until I become perfect, a thing that will certain never happen, I’ll just have to keep on quoting good old Cinderella.
Have courage and be kind.

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