When approached with the task of observing myself and my communications for a day, I thought the task itself was simple, but the follow through would not be as easy. I was correct. Saying things that are only true, kind and honest is not any easy thing to do. People and things happen that make us upset or angry and naturally we want to verbally respond. I am naturally a very sarcastic person, and often times I utter witty, hilarious responses without thinking twice. They aren’t mean spirited and are not meant to hurt people’s feelings and I usually say them to my friends. When observing the way I communicate, I became hyper aware of these comments and I tried my best to limit them, only uttering perhaps two or three throughout the entire day, which is a big deal for me.
There were also many times when I kept comments to myself. There were a lot of rude people I interacted with, and I had to keep my opinions about their actions to myself. I also had to refrain from commenting on outfits I didn’t approve of. That was a little tough, because some people just don’t dress very well. Why would you ever wear toe socks with birkenstocks? For God’s Sake and the sake of our children, WHY. But I refrained. I didn’t tweet this atrocity against mankind and I didn’t say anything bad about him. I kept my thoughts to myself.
Being kind and honest on social media was not as difficult. Apart from not tweeting about that guys outfit, I am generally not malicious on the internet. I understand that what you put on the internet is forever and I really dislike when people bash each other and famous people on the internet, it is unnecessary and it’s also cyber bullying. On Facebook I posted a funny video involving Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon so others could laugh and enjoy the video as well. On twitter, I tweeted about the new pope and running into my friend on the elevator this morning and how it made me happy. I texted a few people today, but all kind and/or useful things. Like when my friend wanted to get dinner and I texted a different friend who attended University of Massachusetts hoping to lift her spirits after a bad day. I sent various other texts throughout the day, but the majority of them were information based.
I also wrote five letters today and mailed them out, literally all over the world. I wrote my sister a letter about my spring break and stuffed the letter with two Dove chocolate wrappers with little quotes like “Do something for yourself today” and “Smile more.” My sister is currently studying abroad in London, England and having the time of her life. We often text and talk on facebook, but there is something special about letters. Last semester when we were both in America, we mailed a notebook back and forth writing little funny stories that happened and adding magazine cut outs and other doodles. Letters are our cheap version of a notebook for this semester. I sent four other letters today. One to a friend at Philadelphia University, one to a friend at St. Lawrence University and one to my friend at University of Massachusetts. They entailed of little, inspirational quotes and well wishes. My final letter was a thank you note to the grandmother of my friend with whom I spent spring break. She was so kind and welcoming, and I wanted to express my gratitude towards her hospitality. Writing letter to friends and family is a simple way to spread joy and kindness with each other, and it is a method I personally enjoy.
While at the FAC I shared a friendly hello with the desk assistant, I waved to friends as a walked to and from class as well. I got to see a friend for the first time since we returned from break and we hugged and were able to catch up for a few minutes and that was a conversation that made my day better. Another conversation that made my day better was a lovely conversation I shared with a stranger in the elevator in Maryland. He was bright and cheering as he asked me how I was and what floor I was going too. He also agreed with me that ten in the morning is too early to walk up any more than one flight of stairs.
I struggled while watching The Life of Mammals with my roommate. During that show she often likes to do impersonations of the animals featured on the show. Today, she impersonated an elephant, a dik dik and a giraffe. On a normal day, I would mock her and her silly impersonations. But today, I restrained myself and patted her knee while saying, “good try.” This made her laugh because she of course knows my typical response to her ridiculous impersonations.
The rest of my daily communication was pretty generic. Answering questions in class. Sharing a kind-hearted laugh with friends. Nothing too out of the ordinary. I spoke with a peer as I bought a Relay for Life tee shirt. I shared conversation with the people who prepared and sold food to me today as well. I spent a good portion of my day discussing my day with friends. I feel like some of my conversation may not have been necessarily useful to my friends, but it was meaningful and because they’re my friends, they cared about what I had to say and I cared about hearing how their days passed. Having people to debrief to is an amazing gift.
I was reminded of my sarcastic nature today. I enjoy my witty comments that induce laughter as long as they are not hurtful to others. I was made aware of the fact that I will survive if I don’t tweet about what strangers wear and that I generally am a good communicator. I didn’t feel very restricted in my communications either. I did experience laughter from friends when they could tell I was itching to be sarcastic or comment on something they had said that was unkind. Some friends tried to provoke me, but I remained strong while actively thinking about what I said. It was enlightening to see how much of what we say isn’t useful, but said to fill time and space, yet we often care about what is being said, because of who says it.