First blog for the year - and it's March already. We've got a new home in the city and it's all very exciting. Space to display, wrap up our gift boxes, and a convenient location. The only downside was the wall colour - a fusty pink - which is an easy fix. Just call a painter in to make things white lol?
What an experience! In comes his stereo blasting horrendous music - a continuous attack of expletives pulsing through our heads, one hate song after the next. F this and F that, bloody bloody bloody - eek.
Alone with him one day he tells me he's partially deaf from years of fighting. "Oh, were you a boxer?" I asked him. "No, I was involved in gangs" he answers with a sheepish grin. I take a big gulp. "Should I be scared?" I ask chirpily. "Nah, that's all in my past, I have a baby now".
"Well", I say, "It sure is a nice day. Your wife must be loving taking the baby out walking in the pram. The weather has been just amazing". Seriously, why do the words just leave my lips. One sentence too many. Every time, my scatter-brained verbal diarrhoea getting me into trouble..
"My wife can't leave the house. She's on home detention.", Painter man says. Awkward silence. Irrational thoughts. I briefly consider the beer, vodka and gin in the storeroom. My son's cricket bat that he left here during the week after practice, yes that could be handy. Or I could stab him with a Citta Design pate spreader if the situation turned to nasty.
"It's not how it sounds", he offers. "She did something real small that she regretted. But then she didn't show up for community service because she gets anxiety". He then goes on to tell me that the house has never been so clean and that he's told her she has to go through the punishment so she knows not to go wrong again. "She's halfway done this weekend. Only three months to go". My heart softens. People make mistakes.
"Look", he says, "See, she wants me to eat healthy, so she's put these nuts and raisins in a bag for my morning tea. See how she's put little bits of chocolate in there too because she knows me!". His face lights up and I'm touched by his obvious admiration for her.
I guess we're all just the same when it comes down to basic human needs. Kindness, affirmation and feeling supported are the best things anyone can give us. I've begun this with a title "How the Other Half Live" and I don't know now that I really mean that. I don't see that I'm very different to the painter and his partner. I've made stupid mistakes but just on a different level. What matters is how we learn and move forward.
It's so easy to celebrate success and all the obvious happy events in life. But the stuff that people most appreciate, is when they've faced a challenge and felt supported. Let someone know you're in their fan club, even if it's for something they work at every day. If we all give more positive affirmation, the world will be a happier place to live in.