Try A Little Tenderness

Otis+ReddingI’m sitting in an airport as I write this post. I took a shuttle here from the hotel and had the annoying pleasure of riding with a woman who had attended the same conference as me. When I tell you this boo boo talked a lot. Chile, she was getting all over my nerves.  She was one of those “do good” type of people who works to improve health disparities in North Carolina’s Native American communities. Like, who does that for a living? It’s like people who work in orphanages in Uganda or people who teach ballet to little kindergarteners whose parents can’t afford it. Could they be a better benefit to our world? God bless them. I believe she also either wishes she were black or believes she has some special insight into the black experience. Well, I take that back. I think she wishes she were a person of color – any of the darker colors people come in. And I only say that because she was giving off that vibe that she truly, honestly understands the lived experience of a person of color in this country but she knows she can’t say that because she has never actually been a person of color in this country.  For that reason and because she was running her mouth just about the entire hour long ride to the airport, she was getting on my nerves.

But, I’m glad she was there. She struck up a conversation with the driver after he got off the phone speaking a language neither one of us had heard. Turns out he was Ethiopian and proud of it. She asked him several questions that he was glad to answer, and I got a mini history lesson that makes me want to visit Ethiopia now. What a pleasant surprise it was.

So I think you just have to withstand people. In my case, it was this little gregarious lady. This is no new news. I’m not blowing your minds with this one. It’s just a reminder to you (because it was a reminder to me) that people deserve to be treated with respect, patience, tenderness, and concern. I have a hard time with this. My patience is THIN, honey. Most likely, you and all your friends get on my nerves. When you chew your food too loudly or with your mouth open, you get on my nerves. When you think you know what you’re talking about and I think you’re an idiot, you get on my nerves. When you talk nonstop, you get on my nerves. When you tell jokes I either don’t get or don’t think are funny and you laugh real hard, you get on my nerves. When I can see your tracks, you get on my nerves. When I think you should have on a bra with that dress, you get on my nerves. When you spend more time saying “you know what I mean” than you spend actually explaining what you mean, you get on my nerves.  I don’t know why I’m built this way. I just am. I have to give myself little pep talks all the time to encourage myself to be nice, be polite, don’t roll my eyes, give my stank face a rest, laugh at the joke anyway, etc. It’s exhausting. But you people are worth it. Try a little tenderness…..click here to listen to Otis take it away.

I'm Mariah. Jesus is my homie. I live in (and was raised in) the south. I am, as often as possible, actively grateful for my family because I understand their life giving power. Really dislike melodramatics. Really love reading and writing so much so that I aspire to be an author. What else?

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