On Sunday I attended Brunch With Brains at Ginger Tapas with a bunch of beautiful women who really inspired me. I got there quite early and we waited a while for the anchor Shullz (Cool fm) to get there. When she did, the ball got rolling and to kick things in action we each had to introduce ourselves, say what we do and something very unusual that nobody knows about us. As I listened to each of these women talk about themselves so effortlessly, talk about their families, their hobbies, their adventures; exotic travels, mountain climbing, skydiving..., talks of being in Finance for 15 years, Oil for ten years and all what not, my mind struggled to come up with something halfway interesting about me before it got to my turn.
For some reason it sounded like a brilliant idea to say I talked to myself and bounced ideas off a voice in my head who gave me pretty sound advice (yes I did say that. I should be flogged, I know). Yet when I started talking I realized it was the farthest thing from a brilliant idea. I had at least ten pairs of eyes glued to me, listening intently, smiling expectantly, eyes gleaming with excitement. Yet with each word I spoke I could see the glimmer leave their eyes, one after the other, like light bulbs in a house, going out one after the other. Their smiles were replaced by vacant stares and I could hear them wonder who let this loony out of the loony bin? The less sense I made, the more I struggled to be understood, the more I fumbled. I knew I should stop talking already, shut the heck up and keep it moving but I needed to redeem myself, to say something halfway sensible. Yet, my usually collected brain was obviously very addled and these women just stared at me questioningly, oh, I forgot to add that the video camera was right in my face, recording every second of my horror. I thought I would vaporize and vanish but something kept me going.
I'm not sure why, it's unlikely she was fascinated by anything I was saying, she was perhaps just being polite and if that's the case then she's a damn good actress. Uwanma's grin stayed wide and her eyes' lights though they wavered, still sparkled, and that's what kept me going.
Now I know she had no idea of this but I was and am really grateful. It was an act of kindness, smiling to encourage the bumbling psycho who felt out of her depth. It was the one reason I was able to sit through brunch without burying my head under the table.
Oh, BTW after I talked about voices in my head, guess what, two women who spoke after me actually alluded to talking to or bouncing ideas off voices in their heads too. Someone actually said "Err, it's just like what Thelma said" and I couldn't help but feel a sense of relief and exhilaration; I'm not the only loony in the house!!!
After the talk when everyone got to networking and chitchat, one of the women said to me "I really liked your introduction". I thanked her and told her I knew she was only trying to encourage me and stop me from feeling terrible but she said "No, I really did like it, I mean it". Wow, she spoke with so much conviction so I will hold on to that, whether she meant it or not. LOL.
I later learnt that Uwanma is an OAP with Inspiration fm and an HR professional. A lot of networking went on after brunch but I didn't get to talk to her. Yet I've thought about her with warmth and gratitude every moment since then. It's just like Maya Angelou said people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel. When everyone looked at me like a nutter, Uwanma encouraged me to say my side, tell my piece, and more importantly made me feel like my story was just as valid as everyone else's.
So, yes it was little, it cost her nothing, but it was thoughtful and I'm so grateful.
So people, the biggest acts of kindness sometimes cost absolutely nothing! Show some kindness guys. It could be a smile, it could patting your downcast colleague on the back, it could be polite laughter after someone has told a horrible joke, it could be words of encouragement for someone who needs it... Nobody ever lost anything by being kind.
Good morning great people! What do you have planned for today? Are you sitting home all day? Anything special happening at the office? Got a hot date after work? Is that mean boss finally warming up to you? Is your office crush reciprocating the love? Are you in class already? Got a presentation? Staying home with the kid(s)? Plotting world domination? Preparing a marketing pitch? Cooking up a storm? What's up guys, give me the skinny on today.