Does that title sound god-awful? I know it. But when the world in general feels darker than usual, the antidote is not to stay frozen with fear. Reading (or writing) hateful opinions on social media will not bring the peace we seek.
We are the light. You and me. All of us. In tiny ways, maybe, but if each of us is a pinprick of light in the darkest night, imagine what ALL of us at once might look like? Night of a thousand stars – except more like a billion. Give or take.
So don't feel hopeless and don't feel scared. Do something good. Because though it may feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things, it is not. Small kindnesses are a huge win for this world.
Here are three suggestions.
1. DONATE TO OXFAM
You are terrified about ISIS. You feel powerless to stop them. You are ANGRY. These are all very natural feelings but none of them are helpful or productive. Focus on what you CAN do.
Oxfam care for the desperate people fleeing Syria, a place once their home now the frontline of the escalating crisis. Over 11 million people have been displaced – three quarters of them are women and children. Families like yours and mine.
Consider making a donation. Every dollar is essential in helping Oxfam to provide refugees access to food, water and sanitation. What better way to fight back against terror than to come to the assistance of the victims left in their brutal wake. Rather than the division ISIS seeks, we can be a community.
2. MAKE A NEW DAY BOX
In Victoria alone, hundreds of women and their kids will spend this Christmas in crisis accommodation and refuges after fleeing family violence. While our children squabble over new toys and we drink more champagne than is strictly wise, a woman and her family are in a strange place with only the few belongings they managed to take with them – which may be the clothes on their backs.
Charities have long run Christmas drives in order to provide gifts to children and these campaigns are always really successful. But what about Mum? She is alone and frightened and just like her kids, she needs to know that somebody cares.
And so was the inspiration for New Day Box – grab a shoebox and fill it with toiletries – cosmetics, body wash, face cream, hand lotion – those little things we take for granted that have the power to make a woman experiencing such upheaval feel special. This simple idea amounts to giving a box of love and luxury to a woman who has nothing.
I did it a couple of years back with a group of friends and it was such a satisfying thing to do. However, the deadline is fast approaching. Check out the website for ways to post or drop off your box.
If you miss the deadline, also check out The Beauty Bank who accept donations all year round of unwanted and unopened beauty products to distribute to women in need.
3. KINDNESS AT HOME
Yes, I know, kids are annoying and husbands can be even annoyinger. But when I think about kindness, how to participate in it, how to spread it around, I am always thinking outside of my immediate vicinity. So I'm preparing a box of toiletries for a woman I'll never meet which feels amazing, but then I'm yelling at the kids and calling Bren a dickhead. Sometimes the kids' behaviour pushes me too far and sometimes I'm right about Bren. But I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about some of the language we've fallen into around here. And I'm not talking about the shits and fucks although they are plentiful. I'm talking about the sarcasm, the disrespect and the general unpleasant ways we communicate with one another. Luca has been doing this yelling thing at Ziggy and I could have stopped and scratched my head about where on earth he was getting that from except that I knew. I instantly recognised my own voice coming out of my 8-year-old's mouth. It was upsetting.
So Bren and I are making a real effort to choose our words more carefully – with the kids and with each other. It's not easy and we slip up, but I have realised that my best chance at changing this world is by raising my kids right. Confidence and talent are great things to nurture, but they are nothing without compassion and kindness. It's a huge opportunity and we get this one shot at it.
So that's enough seriousness. And who am I to even tell you anything since as soon as I finish writing this, I'm going to eat a bowl of choc chip ice-cream in bed while I make out with Netflix.
Three Blog Posts That Will Hopefully Make You Laugh
- This one by The Bloggess. It's short and hilarious – like Danny Devito.
- And then Mrs Woog wrote this about things you never expected to say to your kids.
- And me, the self-promoting hag that I am, wrote this. It's retro!
Have a great night. I have to go – Netflix wants me bad.