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You Look Really Nice Today.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about words and the power they have. I finished The Fault In Our Stars less than 48 hours after I started it and many of those words have haunted me in the days since. I mean, you know from the get-go it’s going to be the kind of book that makes you cry. It’s about two teenagers with cancer, one terminal. And if I were going to spoil the book for someone (I AM NOT, DO NOT FRET) I could tell them exactly what it’s about but I could never do the book justice. Because what it’s about is nothing compared to the words John Green uses to tell the story. Let me give you an example, he uses the phrase “existential free throw.” It’s just an amazing choice of words to describe someone having one of those enlightening moments we might have in life, while playing basketball.

Word choice. It’s a powerful tool. Think about the last time someone gave you a real compliment. Think about how good it made you feel. Now, what about the last time someone was mean to you? A tolling comment on your blog, a snotty reply on your Facebook status, rude treatment at a restaurant…think about how quickly that moment ruined your day. If you’re me, negative words have a much longer-lasting impact that positive words. I wish that weren’t the case, but it’s true.

A lot of my friends have been going through tough times lately. Some of you and your family have been sick for WEEKS, colds developing into bronchitis or stomach bugs becoming the flu. All of it passing through your family one member at a time. There are so many bodily fluids being discussed on Facebook and Twitter that I’ve started spraying my screen with Lysol to protect myself. In more life-changing news, there are failed marriages and pregnancy losses. There are serious illnesses affecting you and your families. And then there’s a lot of us just having bad parenting days: Terrible tantrums, teenage attitudes, spoiled tweens, and infants refusing to sleep.

It just seems that there’s just a lot of struggle lately in my peer group, both online and off.

So I want to use the only tool I have – my words – to try to make it better. I want you to know that I think about you a lot. I am the world’s WORST commenter. I read 100 blog entries a day sometimes and leave maybe…MAYBE one comment. ONE. I’m better on Facebook or Twitter because I can “Like” or “Favorite” or “Retweet” as a way of “commenting” without having to actually use my words. But commenting on blogs? If I do it? Consider yourself one of the few.

But know that you are amazing. I’m really sorry for the struggles that are facing you right now. I wish I could make it all go away because I hate seeing people suffer. Whether you’re just in a funk, or if you’re having an entire crisis of faith, I wish I could help in some way. But today I’m going to do what I can to just help EVERYONE. I’m going to use my words. I’ll be deliberate in what I say and how I say it today — making sure that I consider that fact that everyone is struggling and my words could make or break them in that moment. It’s not enough to just NOT BREAK THEM, I want to do my best today to use my words to spread as much joy as I can.

I don’t know if my ripple of cheer will reach you or not. But I hope it does. Whether it starts with a sincere compliment to a friend or note of praise to a volunteer, I want to try to alleviate some of the anxiety and sadness I’m seeing in my Twitter stream, my Facebook timeline, and my Feed Reader. It’s everywhere lately and I find myself worrying about all of you. Hell, all of US because we all know it’s not been all sunshine and rainbows over here either.

So I’ll use my words today to try to add a little bit of sunshine to the days of everyone I come into contact with. And maybe they’ll take that and pass it along to the next person. And that way, if I don’t get a chance to actually tell you what you need to hear to make your day better, maybe the ripples will pass near you and someone else will.

And if not, I’m making almost 300 cake poppers and truffles for an event this weekend. I don’t mind sharing.

22 thoughts on “You Look Really Nice Today.”

  1. I still have to read it – I’ve got to finish one of the 6 books I have on the go before I start TFioS. EEP!

    Those cake pops look amazing – do you have a particular recipe you follow or is it a normal cake mix?

  2. Ha, Kim, you are so awesome! I am going through one of those mentioned trying times right now but have not yet “come out” publicly on the internet about it, but I so appreciate the sentiment!

    Also, I did get a Diet Coke Christmas ornament for you when I was on vacation a few months ago (I tweeted about it, if you recall), and it is still sitting here in my office. I will email you about it, and if you would like me to send it your way, you just have to let me know.

    I hope you have an amazing day!

  3. Thanks for the ‘Fault in Our Stars’ recommendation. I read it in a day (while also taking care of my 3 kids) (kind of) and really enjoyed it. Such a sad premise, but such a great book. My favorite lines were: “Some infinities are bigger than others.” And, “You are so busy being you that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.”

    Also, may I say your hair cut looks amazing!

  4. So I sent you a ranty email earlier this morning about stuff I’m going through and then I read this and my goodness you made me cry to the point that I’m avoiding punctuation.

    You’re the bomb diggity.

  5. You are too sweet! I saw your uplifting comment to someone on Twitter last night. It was really supportive.

    Also, I’ve noticed the same thing you have lately especially with the sickness running through entire households.

  6. Here via @jonniker. I have seen your name around these parts for YEARS but have never stopped in. I love this post! I’m totally sticking around if you keep showing us cake poppers and truffles :)

  7. Great post. I do try to find something to compliment people about all the time. I was once with someone for the whole day, and when I complimented 2 people within about 4 hours, he said accusingly “You’re sure free with the compliments.” I was thinking WHY NOT? Is it like there is a compliment reservoir that is going to run out of compliments if I tell people something nice? Especially if I am doing it without expecting anything in return? Gah.

    The best compliments, I find, are those on things people obviously take pride in. There is a cashier at the grocery store who decorates her nametags. I complimented her on her bedazzled nametag and now she’s like my best friend. That’s all it took – noticing what was important to HER.

  8. Hi Kim! Can I just say, “Hear hear” on your post. I think both positivity and negativity are contagious, so I try to put out good energy. That doesn’t usually come in the form of commenting though, so I am delurking to say thank you for the thousands and thousands of words you’ve put out there. I’ve been a reader since before NikiZ was born and I always look forward to your posts and I love following your trials and tribulations – as a mom, a runner, a friend, a daughter, all of the above! I’d invite you to read my blog but I don’t blog. :) If you want to follow me on Twitter (I don’t tweet much) (I’m already following you) I’m CherryCoast. I’m going to try to say something nice to some of my coworkers I don’t bump in to often, in honor of your post!

  9. The blogs I read daily? Ones I have been reading for five years or more? I feel like I KNOW these people, so when they go through crises in their lives, I feel pain for them. Two of my favourite bloggers (one of whom I’m sure you’re referring) are going through divorce, one lost her first potential grandchild to miscarriage, one is going through mystery issues with her special needs child….GAAAAH! I feel like I’m crying over blogs a lot more than smiling, especially since Christmas. I hope 2012 brings them some joy.

  10. I love this, Kim. I’m starting this “Say it Out Loud” challenge in my daily life — where I just speak up when something kind or complimentary or loving pops in my head. I don’t want to keep those thoughts in any more for fear of social embarrassment or rejection or strange looks. Your post re-inspired my idea. Thank you so much.

  11. Schmutzie and I were having this very discussion last night, about how people are having hard times and predatory folk pile on and ZOMG ISN’T IT ALL JUST A PILE OF POO, WAAAAAH.
    (okay, that last third was me, with Schmutzie listening patiently. still.)

    I love that you are thinking about these things. I love that you are expressing them in such a tender way.

    Thank you for doing your part to put loveliness into the world.

  12. You have great ideas!!! I too am making your cake poppers for a birthday celebration this weekend!! A cake popper and kind words go a long way:)

  13. Thank you for this post. I think this is likely my first time commenting here. I’m normally a dedicated lurker, but this hit really close to home. I just had my first miscarriage yesterday and I’m having a really tough time dealing with it.

  14. I think a lot of us struggle with the complimentary message versus the commiseration message. I know I do, and I’m trying to break (or change) the habit. Because absolutely words can make things better. Sometimes the issue isn’t speaking up but speaking up in a positive way.

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