In school, I was the student who was nice to substitute teachers while my classmates sometimes took advantage of the free range a day in class without the “real” teacher meant. I was shy, quiet, and independent. I could play by myself for hours, alone in my messy childhood room with nothing but my cat, Sweetie, and my Barbies.
Over the years I’ve become less shy, though I can still be quiet around new people. I’m not the least bit messy anymore but I can still entertain myself alone for hours. Now in my own apartment; more often than not with Netflix streaming. I’ve also come to realize that loyalty is core pillar of who I am. Some may even say I am loyal to a fault. I never give up on people. I give out second and third and fourth chances.
Two close girlfriends once remarked I was “like a dog, I was so loyal.” Of course they didn’t mean any ill-intent by this comment but I was instantly taken back to my classroom days, helping substitute teachers figure out how to turn on the overhead projector (remember those?!) and getting mildly made fun of for being a teacher’s pet.
In all honestly, there were times when I tried to abandon my nice girl ways. Most of my friends were (are probably still are) significantly cooler than I was. They wore the right clothes, made the right jokes, and didn’t seem to have the sensitive streak or emotional attachment that I did. And, let’s face it, in high school, “not caring” is about the coolest thing you can do.
The thing is though, I’ve never been able to flee too from my emotional, loyal, deep-feeling ways. I guess it just is who I am. Some may see it as a sign of weakness but I disagree. I may have been burned by my loyalty to people but I haven’t been unkind. And, to me, kindness is the greatest strength of all.
I think we are generally seeing a shift towards this realization in our Western culture. There are things like the Kind Campaign and a growing awareness surrounding bullying. I see my friends who are parents striving to teach their kids about compassion and being inclusive.
It just may be becoming cool to be kind; and for once I can say, I was ahead of the curve.