THE DEATH OF KINDNESS (?) — HAVE MEN REALLY DECIDED TO STOP TREATING WOMEN WELL?

kindness 1So, after experiencing a lot of painful, angry, difficult, and downright devastating actions and words from the opposite sex, (ESPECIALLY THE PAST FEW WEEKS), and giving all of these experiences a lot of thought, analysis, and consideration, I think I’ve finally figured out the issue I’m having with the men in my circle right now.

It is the absence of kindness.

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I am a kind person. It’s not always a good thing, but it Is who I am. When I say I am a kind person, this is not to say I am kind all the time. When I am hurt, angry, or feel I have been wronged, I am not always kind, though I try to be. But I do fail at times. I say hurtful things. I lash out. But once that flash is gone (and it never stays for long), I am back to being the kind person I truly am. And I am not just kind as some sort of saintly unselfish act. I enjoy kindness…I like the sensations being a kind person gives me. I like the way kindness feels in my soul, in my spirit. I like the softness of it, the gentleness, the warmth it conveys. I like the connections it helps me make to people. I like the way it helps me combat my awkward shyness. I like how people open up to me when they sense my kind nature, and I enjoy the closeness that it encourages. For all these reasons I try to keep as much kindness as I can as close to me as I can.

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Of late, I have been hard pressed to find kindness from the men in my life — friends, lovers, and others. These are men I have consistently been as kind to as I know how. Now some may say I should not expect kindness from anyone I’ve extended it to. I’ve never been part of that bullshit “no-expectation having” camp. As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing wrong with having expectations of how others interact with you and holding your interactions with them to similar standards – it is called reciprocity and its a good thing.

But back to kindness.

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Not only have I been hard pressed to find kindness in the men in my life, what I have found in its place are lots of reasons why they refuse to be kind. The reasons come together and make a stew full of chunks of misogyny, bitterness, grudge holding, hurt feelings, selfishness, misunderstandings, an inability to consider someone else’s perspective, and absence of clear honest communication. But when its all said and done, kindness is absent.

And it hurts.

Instead I find men who actually look for reasons to not be kind — especially to women. Whether its “why should I just because she’s a girl” or “she shouldn’t feel so entitled” or “she needs to be taken down a notch anyway” or “she made me mad so fuck her” (no matter what happened to make her angry), or “why should I do what she wants just because she wants it”, more and more I’m finding men with very little ability to be kind.kindness 5

Now maybe kindness isn’t a very valued commodity among men these days. But I thought men were kind to those they cared for, those they valued, those they loved. But I am finding men in my life have lost their ability to be kind to me, in spite of the many ways I’ve been kind to them, even when I didn’t want to. More and more I’m finding men who have no problem with explaining exactly why they just will NOT extend kindness to women…period. It is almost as if they’ve decided to teach us women a lesson by taking away the one thing that when they do it, makes us most happy — being kind. And a kind man is such an amazingly beautiful thing to a woman.

This is particularly hurtful for me because most of the men in my circle had always been exceptionally kind to me. They extended themselves to me time and time again. Friends, lovers, and others. They just treated me with so much care, and I love them all for it. I’ve felt like I was buoyed along in life with their always-present compassion, empathy, and assistance. They’ve talked to me at 3 a.m., or let me cry on their shoulder, or paid on my cell phone bill when I was short, or made soup for me when I was sick, or picked up my kids from school. Or I’ve watched them extend extraordinary kindnesses to others that I have witnessed. But suddenly, out of nowhere, these men simply do not want to be kind. I miss their kindness tremendously, and I fear them now in a way. My awareness of their lack of ability to be kind causes me to put them at a distance. Their resentment of women is palpable. I feel their bitterness When I talk to them, it rises up out of their cruel words and stinks, or their silent refusal to be kind to me poisons my well and makes my waters unclean. And I don’t know what to do.

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I am not perfect, as I said earlier. But if that is a requirement for kindness from those who claim to love you, we will all shit on each other endlessly all the time. I miss the kind men who were in my life, who made my life happy, who made me smile, who I could think about when I would hear women say “there are no good men out here.” If you are a man who is kind to a woman just because…I beg of you to please continue to treat us well. Make that your personal standard – not based upon who the woman is, but based upon who you are.

And please introduce yourself to me, because I need to see you too.

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