September 17th, 2019


moment of kindness from a stranger: joy

icon: "artless (a painting of a nude person in sun-dappled shade, unselfconsciously pulling off red stockings. They have a soft round belly and breasts that slope down)"

I was at the grocery store today, as per usual with my arms overfilled, and bent down inside the glass-front fridge to get a bottle of cream. I was expecting the door to fall on my shoulder as I had let it go, but a stranger caught it. I stood up and flashed a brief smile, walking away as the person continued to hold the door.

I expected them to get something after I was out of the way, but they let it fall and started to walk away. I realized my mistake and said "oh! Thank you! I thought you were getting something." And they said "I just didn't want it to hit you." I think we smiled at each other but my memory stops there because I was distracted by my surprise.

It was such a sweet moment of kindness and it made me feel recognized as a valid human being (whereas most strangers look through me and expect me to step around them, or they stare). It felt good for a stranger to take that risk just to make a tiny moment a little more pleasant for me. And it felt pure because when I said nothing, they said nothing, so I didn't feel obligated by their kindness. When I looked at them as they held the door, their expression was neutral, and I felt safe in their lack of expectation.

Thank you stranger, for offering me that small kindness. It was a moment of true joy.

Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back: my core motivation is curiosity

icon: "curious (my face, looking straight forward with one eyebrow up and a sideways smile, head tilted down a little)"

Once when I was very young, my grandfather was reading me a book about Madeline, an orphan who sneakily adopts a stray dog. As he read, I would point to the dog in each scene and ask "what's that?" When he got to the most complex page in the book, a park filled with dogs, he preempted my questions and just said "dog dog dog dog dog dog dog."

My dad loved to tell this story, but told it as a story that illustrated my grandfather. I think it illustrated one of my core traits: curiosity. I could tell that the four legged creatures were all probably dogs, but I wanted to be sure I was interpreting it correctly. I didn't want to miss a chance to learn something new. As an adult, I refuse to make assumptions that most people consider "close enough" to the truth, and my habit of suspending judgement makes it easy for me to adjust my thinking whenever I am wrong.

Curiosity is my strongest motivation by far. I don't have much drive for physical pleasures like food or sex, but there hardly exists a non-numeric fact that I don't care to learn. (Numeric facts are their own thing because I have difficulty comprehending them)

I am so incredibly lucky because part of my job involves me reading bits and pieces on literally every subject. I learn about everything from microbiology to astronomy to exercise science to audiology and beyond. (The downside is that my job is very mentally demanding and I often have no energy left for thinking when I get home)

I find people fascinating in direct proportion to how many new thoughts they can evoke in me. This can come from them asking questions about something I said, or from them talking about life experience they have that I don't, or from them talking about their similar life experiences in a thoughtful or analytical way. The most fascinating people to me are the ones that constantly seek to learn and grow, because then they always can evoke new thoughts in me.

My curiosity drive has most often been focused on my own mind and emotions, because they have the largest impact on my life. In my self-examinations, I have learned that I am:

ADHD and otherwise neurodivergent, with CAPD;
a non-binary trans person, with no gender;
fat and proud;
a relationship anarchist;
a Southerner and ATLien;
a tree-hugger;
a social justice activist;
a communalist;
a consent advocate;
a creativity catalyst;
an atheist;
an eco-vegetarian;
an artist;
a coffee clergyperson;
a growth-seeker;
a content creator;
a critical analyst; and
a writer.