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In my twenties, I got stranded in NYC. Well, not really stranded; my folks lived there. But I lived in Austin, TX. Being poor, I had to take the bus.
I get to the Port Authority (NYC’s central bus depot) and have a while to wait. I go outside and start milling about. The area around the PA is a bit shady, even today, but was much worse then (early 90′s.)
A man walked up to me, perhaps in his forties. If not homeless, he looked like he was working on it. He asked me about my hair wrap — colored embroidery floss braided into a length of my hair — and reached up to touch it. I drew back and started away. He walked after me. There were enough people about that I found the courage to turn around and demanded, “WHAT!?!”
He was startled. He looked around a little bit, and then, meekly, “Man, I need some help.”
“Look, man, I really don’t…”
He interrupted me, “I don’t know how to write.”
I was caught off-guard, “Pardon?”
“I haven’t seen my daughter in six years. I just got her address and want to try and talk to her, but I don’t know how to write,” he went on, “and she lives in Augusta.”
“Okay, got a pen?”
Ten minutes later, with a ‘borrowed’ pen, we’re sitting on a bench. He’s ranting streams of conscience sentences that would run on and on and seemingly jump back and forth in time with lengthy descriptions of places he’s been, things he’s seen and that time when he was being chased by the cops and…
Looking down at the pad, I had the young woman’s name and a comma.
Finally, I said, “I think I have plenty to go on. How about I work on it and I’ll read it to you when I’m done, okay?”
He agreed, and we sat quietly, except for a few questions I had.
Because I’d be on the road for forty-four hours, I’d brought provisions. It was still morning, and I had a corn muffin with me. I reached into my bag, pulled it out, unwrapped it and broke it in half, absently offering my new friend the other half. He took it and thanked me.
I went on writing. After a bit, I looked over to see him with his hands in his lap, looking blankly at the muffin half. Then, a single tear.
I asked what was wrong.
He said, in that way that people who are crying talk with food in their mouth, “No one’s ever been this nice to me.”
We both sat there and quietly cried for a while.
It crushed me that such a simple act of kindness was the nicest thing anyone had done for this poor guy.
Go out and perform a simple act of kindness. It could change someone’s life.
HARTFORD, Conn. -- The larger commentary surrounding this week’s U.S. Gymnastics National Championships may center on the lead up to Rio 2016, but in the year directly following an Olympic Games, the World Gymnastics Championships are comprised of individual events only, no team final, and the uniqueness of an individual world championships makes the gymnastics season following the London Games largely stand alone.
Here are some things I wish someone told me on my 20th birthday:
Sometimes it will feel good to love the wrong people. Sometimes it will feel good to date someone you won't remember or someone who won't remember you. Sometimes it will feel good to not be loved at all. In this case, try to love yourself. Just try.
Recently I came across a love quote and up until this day I’m still quite surprised by how much it has made me reflect on the way I see love and how I love. The quote comes from a 1996 film called Dream for an Insomniac:
This quote grips me, because it’s antithetical to what I’d previously believed in. I had always advised my girlfriends, NEVER invest more than what you think the other party is putting in: “Don't like/love him more than he likes/loves you.” Because it’s not safe for your heart.
On certain Sundays in November when the weather bothers me
I empty drawers of other summers where my shadows used to be
She is standing by the water as her smile begins to curl,
In this or any other summer, she is something all together different
Never just an ordinary girl.
And in the evenings on Long Island when the colors start to fade
She wears a silly yellow hat that someone gave her when she stayed
I didn’t think that she returned it, we left New York in a whirl
Time expands and then contracts when you are spinning in the grips of someone
Who is not an ordinary girl.
And when you sleep you find your mother in the night but she stays just out of sight
So there isn’t any sweetness in the dreaming
And when you wake the morning covers you with light and it makes you feel alright
But it’s just the same hard candy you’re remembering again.
You send your lover off to China and you wait for her to call
You put your girl up on a pedestal and you wait for her to fall
I put my summers back in a letter and I hide it from the world
All the regrets you can’t forget are somehow pressed upon a picture
In the face of such an ordinary girl.
We want to see faces that tell stories. We want to see passion on the streets, people screaming and crying, and pretend we’re annoyed by the noise but secretly love it, secretly feel like we’ve just been given a shot of adrenaline.
We want to make the most of our youth. Treat it like it’s an orange and we’re sucking the pulp dry. Sticky fingers, messy hands, but damn it tasted good.
We are the type of people whose anxieties propel us forward. Anxiety is what forced us to stay here, anxiety is what landed us our great job. We’re always moving closer and closer to where we want to be, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
We’re feelings junkies. When we walk out of our door in the morning, we want our brain to be assaulted by a myriad of things. We’re not ready to feel balanced and healthy yet. Burning the candle at both ends still fills us with an intoxicating combo of joy and dread. We are like a strange mix of resilience and ultimate fragility.
Photo Credit: KML Photography
Blog Credit: Thought Catalog, Ryan O’Connell