Kind Vs. Nice

Kind
a: of a sympathetic or helpful nature
was helped by a kind neighbor
They were very kind to us.
b: of a forbearing nature : gentle
kind treatment of animals
c: arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance
a kind act

Nice
a: pleasing, agreeable
a nice time
a nice person
b: virtuous, respectable
… I met nice girls whose skirts reached the ground.
— Jack London

The above definitions are taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary (www.m-w.com). I did nab more examples of kind than of nice, but only because nice has a lot of meanings, and I didn’t think that being exact really fit the sort of niceness we’re talking about today.

So, in recent months I have taken to putting in a reminder at the end to be kind to yourself and kind to those you encounter. Times are difficult right now, the world could use a bit of kindness. I chose that word very deliberately. I just as deliberately have not been advising niceness.

To be frank, I have reached a point of saying “screw niceness”. To me, to be nice is to be polite, to be agreeable, to just get along and not cause waves. We, as a society, cannot do that anymore. I will no longer be nice.

If I see something that I disagree with, I will speak up. Now, I will do my utmost to do that in a respectful manner, I’m not out to verbally berate people who don’t agree with me, or badger anyone into compliance with my way of thinking. But I will speak my mind. Generally, this applies to the spreading of misinformation, fake facts, racism and statements of white privilege (such as “all lives matter”, because that statement does come from a place of privilege, even if you do mean it well) I’m not going to tear a strip off of you for not liking the same usic as I do.

On the other hand, now more than ever is a time to be kind. Be sympathetic and, more importantly, empathetic to those around you. Listen to what they say. And by listen, I don’t just mean “sit there and let them vent”. I mean actively listen. Think about what they’re saying and why they might be saying it.

If you have help to give, give it. This doesn’t mean “help people even at the cost of your own physical, financial or emotional well-being”. It just means that you can use the resources you have to help others.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is this: You should try your best to be kind, but you don’t always have to be nice.

So, be kind to yourself, and be kind to those around you.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

My Girl

Twelve years ago, I sat up late, all curled up on the sofa waiting for a phonecall from England. I was unwilling to go to bed for fear of sleeping through the ringing. When that phonecall finally came, I cried. My first niece had made her way into the world.

Three weeks later, I was on a plane to England to meet her, and it was love at first sight. She was so tiny and so, so perfect. I saw her again later in the summer when my sister brought her across the Atlantic to meet the clan. I remember singing her “Hippo In The Bathtub” when she cried, and every single time, she stopped. Possibly to wonder why I was making those weird noises.

Over the past twelve years, I’ve watched her grow. First into a rambunctious toddler, then into a doting big sister, then into a thoughtful, intelligent and creative young lady.

I’m so proud of her that sometimes, I feel like I might burst from it. As a kid, I was an avid reader, particularly of the fantasy genre. My niece has not only followed in her auntie’s footsteps, but surpassed me. Man. I thought I was an advanced reader, but this girl read the entire Harry Potter series by the time she turned seven.

I love giving her books, though it isn’t always what I go for. Actually, what I love the most is giving her books that I either loved at her age, or else ones I wish had been written when I was her age. A few summers back, she told me that her favourite books were the ones I gave her. I think it may be the best compliment I’ve ever been given.

She doesn’t just read, either. This girl can write. I think there may be some sort of genetic tendency for this endeavour, as her Mum is a published and talented poet. My neice has written both prose and poetry, and everything I’ve read from her has absolutely astounded me.

She’s a fantastic actress, too. Granted, I’ve never been lucky enough to attend a performance of hers, but I’ve been sent videos of her performances, and she treated me to a live rendition of a monologue (written by her, too) that had me laughing so hard.

Did I mention her musical ability? Because she’s got that, too. Before the current shutdown, she performed with some classmates in a band, and while I admit to auntly bias, they were really, really good.

She paints. She does synchronized swimming. She can rughook. And she’s only twelve years old. She blows my mind.

She is twelve today, and I don’t think I could be any more proud of her than I am. Of course, I’ve said that before, only for her to turn around and do some new, amazing thing, and I discover new depths of pride and love.

If I had one wish for her, it would be this: never, ever forget how special you are, and how many people love you. No matter where you go in life, no matter what you do, your Aunt Jenn is going to be right there, cheering you on. And bragging about you to anyone who will listen. (Seriously, kiddo, I do that. Like… all the time.)

Happy birthday, Clverkins. (That’s what I called you when you were tiny… I was right to do so, I see.)

((Note: If you are reading this and know my wonderful girl, and want to chime in to add your own praise in the comments, please do so, but I also ask you to protect her privacy. My choice to leave her name out of this was deliberate.)

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

Words

I don’t know what to say, here.

Maybe that’s an ironic openning line in a blog that clearly has more words after it, but it’s true nonetheless.

I just don’t know what to say. Because if the senseless, brutal death of a man doesn’t open your eyes to the fact that things have to change, nothing I have to say will do so.

Why did it ever need to come to this? Why haven’t the past senseless, brutal murders of people been enough to change things? Why haven’t the voices of people of colour crying out that they were scared for their very lives if confronted by a police officer change things?

And if you are sitting there, reading this and thinking that this is a problem that only happens somewhere else… you are wrong. People with black and brown skin in your communities almost certainly are afraid. They have grounds to be afraid.

And it has to stop. I, as a white woman, live a life of extreme privilege. I can count on the police to be on my side. I can’t ever truly empathize with the plight of my fellow humans whose outer layer happens to not match the shade of my own. I can’t speak for them.

But I can speak. I can say “Enough.” I can say “No.” I am only one small voice, my words on their own don’t have much power, but that’s not the point. The point isn’t my lone voice. It’s all of ours. If you feel the same way, please say so. Not just in the comments section, either. Say it on any platform you have. Say it more than once. Say it when a friend or family member says something you don’t agree with.

Say it. Speak the hell up.

I guess I do have some words, after all.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

One Year In

On May 21, 2019, I posted this: https://jennifermorash.com/2019/05/21/an-introduction/. It was my very first blog post. In it, I introduced myself, gave a synopsis of where I was, and a bit about where I wanted to go.

The final line of that post reads: “”Deep breath, best foot forward, and let’s see where this goes.”

That was one year ago tomorrow. So, where did it go?

Well, the introductory material has almost entirely remained the same. I’m still a blind woman and still a massage therapist, though you can tack a year onto the age and length of time in the profession.

But I am not a recreational writer any longer. More on that a bit further in.

I detailed how I was finally trying to write a novel, wich I’d only been at for a week and a half when I began. Since then, I have completed first the rough draft and then the second one, taken the novel through the beta reading stage and began the third draft, the one I intend to submit for publication. So, I call that a goal completed.

I no longer write every single day. That is unsustainable. However, I never intended for that to be a permanent state. I only wanted to do it for long enough to build up my writing muscles from a state of atrophy, and I did. I am still writing frequently.

After a few posts, I settled on a schedule of publishing one post per week, every week, with occasional bonus posts when the mood or situation struck. That is a schedule I have kept to, with two exceptions. I missed one week last fall while utterly miserable with the flu, and took a planned and pre-announced break over the holidays. To be honest, I’m surprised at myself. I doubted my ability to come up with something to write about each and every week. Somehow, I have.

So, why do I say that I’m no longer a recreational writer? Because I’m a professional one. Starting this blog led to the opportunity to do paid writing for the blog that my clinic runs, which you can find here: https://www.massageexperts.ca/blog/

That job makes me a professional freelance writer, which is absolutely not something I thought I’d achieve in under a year. I am exceedingly grateful to Massage Experts for the opportunity, and sincerely passionate about my work there, as it brings together my love of writing with that of educating my clients.

Blogging has not always been easy. There are weeks I just don’t feel like writing. There are subjects that can be difficult to write about. And in our current global crisis, it gets even harder some days. However, writing is cathartic, enjoyable, and it brings me a lot of satisfaction.

To those who have been with me from the start, I thank you. Your support has encouraged me at every step. To those who have joined me somewhere along the path, I thank you, too. Your joining in shows me that I’m not just shouting into the void.

So. Deep breath, best foot forward, and let’s see where else this goes.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

The Longest Month

I think April of 2020 has been the longest month of my life.

I’ve certainly had other long and difficult months. I’ve spent months at a time in the hospital, often not being allowed to get out of the bed or, sometimes, sit up. Much of that as a child who wanted to go outside and play. I’ve spent months in some very serious pain. I’ve spent months where depression and anxiety kept me away from the world by choice.

But nothing has been like last month for me, and I know I’m not alone.

It’s not just a matter of boredom, though there was some of that. It was the worry, the fear, and eventually the overwhelming grief and confusion.

(Let me put in a warning here. My posts tend towards the positive. This is not going to be a happy post. For those reading when I post it, you may have already taken in more sad and worrisome things than is good for you to handle. I won’t be offended if you stop reading.)

Right now, as I type this, we are in the midst of the pandemic known as Covid-19. It has infected millions, and killed over 200000, it has brought life as we know it to a standstill globally. It is like nothing I have experienced before. We are all stuck where we are. Public gatherings are not happening. Travel has stopped. Public venues are shut down. Grocery stores have arrows on the floor to indicate what direction you are allowed to go in, and taped marks to show where you can stand. We are all staying six feet apart from one another. Many are off of work, more are working from home, and the essential workers still have to go out and brave getting sick to keep us going.

Then, here in Nova Scotia, a maniac whose name I will not include here because it doesn’t deserve to be remembered, went on a rampage in a place near and dear to my heart, perpetrating the worst mass shooting Canada has ever seen, in a tiny little place most had never heard of. A place we can see from the cottage. A place close to family. Too many lives were lost.

The next week, a NATO helicopter crashed off the coast of Greece, costing the lives of six more Canadians.

April was, in many ways, a series of blow after blow. It seemed like when we started to pick ourselves up off the ground, or even start to, something else happened.

I can count on one hand how many days in April didn’t see me crying at some point. From sadness or just because everything got so overwhelming. And, yes, sometimes in joy because there have been some wonderful things people have done to bring us together, too.

So, why am I writing all of this? Many of my readers are in Nova Scotia or have ties to it, you already know all this. Those who aren’t still heard the news.

I’m writing this for myself. I’m writing this because for me, at least, getting it all out and down into words is good for me. Thoughts can get all cluttered up in my brain, sometimes I just need to sit down and type them out. I’m writing this for you guys, as a reminder that while you may be by yourself, you’re not alone in how you feel.

I’m also writing this because I don’t want to forget. I want something out there that I can look back at next year, or in five or ten years. I want to remember, not because these are good memories, but because to forget is to once again take for granted what we have.

And I want to write this down because I want to remind all of you, as well as myself, that it is a new month. Spring is coming (in theory, it did snow last week here). A time of renewal. We’re going to get through this. Nova Scotia is as strong as she is beautiful, and we humans are a resilient folk. And beyond my beloved province, we’re all, as a society, going to weather this storm.

Once again, please be kind to yourselves and to those around you.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

When This Is Over

Right now, as I write this, the world is still in the grip of the pandemic lockdown. All of us are affected. Some of us are stuck at home, unable to go out for any but the most important errands, if that. Others work in some essential capacity and so are having to risk their own health to go out and work.

This isn’t going to last forever, thank goodness, and I’m fairly sure almost everyone is eagerly anticipating the day when all of this is behind us. I certainly am.

However, there are some things I devoutly hope to see when the dust clears.

  1. Remember what you learned

It’s darned difficult to live through something like this without learning some sort of lesson. Perhaps you’ve learned to really appreciate the people who deal with your garbage, deliver your mail and ring you up at the grocery store. Perhaps you’ve learned patience. Maybe it’s the importance of checking on your more vulnerable friends and family. And hey, maybe it is as simple as appreciation of the freedom to go out into the sun just because you can.

I hope that whatever you learn, you hold onto it when this is over. When life returns to some semblance of what we used to think of as normal, don’t let these lessons slip away, especially the hard ones.

  1. Keep some things going

There are people out there for whom this pandemic has changed very little about their lives. They are the people who are stuck at home as a general rule. Those with disabilities that keep them house bound, those with social anxiety that make it harder for them to deal with people. Those who live in remote areas. For them, things have suddenly popped up that are actually making their lives easier and more enjoyable.

Virtual choirs, online courses, writing groups, free audiobooks… there is a long list of clever and inventive ways we’ve come up with to keep in touch and keep one another sane.

Please remember, when we step back out into the world, that some people can’t. I know that not everything can be kept up, but I’d love to see some of these wonderful things kept in place for those whose lockdown is permanent.

  1. Remember that we did this for a reason.

If this works, and I am in the firm camp of believing it will, there is going to be a segment who will claim that we over reacted. There will be those who point to the fact that death tolls were less than initially projected, or that not as many people got sick as was initially claimed could happen. There are those who will look at success, and interpret it to mean that we did all this for nothing.

They will criticize the response. They will criticize the measures put in place. Don’t listen to them. What we are all going through isn’t pointless, and it isn’t an overreaction. If this works, it will be because of the measures.

  1. Take note of the world

Dolphins are returning to the coast of Europe. The canals of Venice are running clear. The tops of mountains are visible for the first time in decades. Sea turtle eggs are popping up in higher numbers. I could go on with a list of all the marvels of nature that are showing up in the short time that we’ve been prevented from causing our usual mess.

Most of us aren’t doing anything out of malice. We don’t set out to wreck the world. But we’re doing it anyway. We haven’t been stuck at home for all that long, and look at the incredible difference it’s made.

I know we probably can’t keep up this degree of lack of pollution, but I hope to the depths of my heart that we can at least look out at what’s been happening and use that as a lesson. If it took such a short degree of time for major improvement to become visible, that should tell us just how much damage we’ve been doing. Maybe we can learn from this, and do a little less.

So, what do you hope to see when all of this is done?

As usual, be kind to one another and to yourself.