All of My Kindness: FourFiveSeconds

woke up an optimist / sun was shinin’ i’m positive / then I heard you was talkin’ trash 

I try really hard to be kind. Or, to be more honest, I try really hard to try to be kind. Not that long ago I was this sort of skittish damaged girl that thought that maybe if I hated with enough weird specificity it might save me; later I was a sad college student that didn’t know how to or want to differentiate between what is astute and what is cruel. I am still both those people sometimes but I am trying to feel myself into something else.

I am twenty-three and there are things about which I feel spiteful; feel angry; feel malevolent. I also try, really hard, these days, to be thoughtful, because some deep part of me wants to lash out and hurt people sometimes, and another part of me is just sort of worried about people, and wants them to be okay, and I am trying to think carefully about which parts of myself I listen to. I’m not, like, saying this because I’m trying to seem like a ~good person,~ or because I’m trying to prove that despite sometimes being an asshole I am totally like, good on the inside and that’s what counts, or whatever. I’m just saying that in my limited and flawed experience kindness has been a thing that I have to concentrate on if I wanna achieve it. Maybe this is because I am not actually that much of an intrinsically good person, maybe it’s just because stuff is hard and everything is complicated, I dunno.

I think I spent a lot of time thinking that being mean proved I was smart. Because if I could poke holes in anything it meant I was better and more whole; but it didn’t, cause there was and are and always will be holes in me, too. Meanness felt so much like understanding but all it was, in retrospect, was me being astute and also unkind. Even if you think you can see everything, that doesn’t mean you’re an omniscient narrator. You can see and see and see; but who are you gonna be when you’re telling what you’ve seen?

I spent a long time like that, this smart mean kid who was always waiting to skewer something just so I could prove I knew how to find its center. It seemed like saying the worst thing had to be the most honest; like saying something as harsh as possible just meant you were being real.

This song is about a different kind of anger. This song is not about a selfish anger, or an anger meant only to be seen. This song is about an anger that comes from someone who is thoughtful and careful and kind; someone who looks real hard at something and then still says–oh. I don’t like this. It’s an anger that comes after kindness.

Trying hard to be kind doesn’t mean I don’t get angry, or that I’ve lost my capacity to decimate something; it maybe means I don’t want to, but it also means sometimes I can try to be honest and okay and I will understand that something I’m facing is neither. My anger is never really gleeful anymore. I worry about it; I worry how much of it might be selfishness and myopia; but I also know there are things worth anger and I try to understand what those are. I think there are times when I’m on the precipice of making some hard decision, or doing something, or just going the hell off, and you think –should I? Am I being reckless and unfair? Am I being weak and small? But kindness is not the same as weakness. Kindness is difficult and sometimes awful; kindness sounds like the rasp in Rihanna’s throat and a spare guitar backing track. Kindness is difficult and odd and lovely; kindness isn’t the same as never being angry, kindness doesn’t mean you’re never at the end of a fraying rope, kindness is–god, who knows. But you gotta try. Or something.

cause all of my kindness / is taken for weakness / now I’m four, five seconds from wildin

Elisabeth

About Elisabeth

Elisabeth Sanders is from California and owns four different pairs of gold shoes.

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