We have so little of each other, now. So far
After I moved to Toronto, I stopped getting my hair cut. It was hard for me to go out, at first, and money was tight, and small things were a challenge, so I just didn't do it. My hair got long enough that it was hard to sleep because it would wrap around my head, drifting into my mouth and G's face and sometimes around my shoulders until I woke up in a panic because it was strangling me. Still, I didn't get it cut: it was expensive, it made me nervous, it was too much.
During one of our early trips to the Maritimes, my mother-in-law suggested I see her stylist. The nerves were still there, but I had some vicarious familiarity with this person, and so I went. I cut it short, one of the shortest cuts I'd had by that point, and it was such a relief. But the stylist, Jen, was the best part of the whole experience.
Jen is one of those people who really, genuinely seems to like others. She remembers me even though she sees me less than once a year, remembers which stories I've told her and which she's told me, keeps track of what I've been doing and how things are going. She's one of those rare people who brings you out of yourself because it's clear she wants you to come out and meet her. There is never a sense that Jen is making small talk because she's cutting your hair and that's the thing you do; you get the impression that no matter who was in the chair, she'd be genuinely interested to hear what they had to say.
I saw her again on Friday, and was reminded how much people who like people are a rare and precious thing. Misanthropy is the greater trend; the idea that others are there mostly to annoy or bore us is pretty pervasive. It's not unusual or generally seen as poor taste to say you hate people. But there's nothing interesting about being a misanthrope. Everybody wants to feel liked and interesting and worth listening to, and when we can offer that to others I think we're more likely to be able to seek and find it for ourselves, as well.
It was another violent, scary week. Things feel bad and scary and difficult, and being around others can be a huge challenge. But remember that for the most part, people want to love and be loved, people want to hear that you think they're worthwhile, and they want to tell you that you are. We overwhelmingly want to be kind and caring toward one another. Let yourself be loving. Don't forget.
Here, have my seat. Go ahead--you first. I like your hat.
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