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Kelly J. Cooper

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Contrast [May. 25th, 2008|05:36 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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I was just reading this story from the HelpOthers.org website about a man seeing a crying freshman woman and saying some comforting words and was struck by the contrast.

I had a very similar experience. I think it was the only time I cried like crazy in public during my freshman year and possibly all of college. I was in the elevator with another girl from my floor, a pretty blond girl, and she said something like, "Jesus, whatever it is, get over it. It can't be that bad." And she walked out of the elevator ahead of me, never looking back, having made me feel 100% worse. It's the reason I often hid my sorrow, because no one wants to see you crying.

She and the man in the story above said similar things, and maybe they even both meant well. But his words cheered the author of that story while the blond's words were like throwing an anchor to a drowning woman.

I really like reading HelpOthers.org, because it give me great ideas and helps me keep my faith in humanity. But it often leaves me crying, selfishly wondering where were all these kind people during the first twenty years of my life?

It's really only been in the second twenty years of my life, since running into the greater susboid community, that I've found people capable of that kindness, giving me enough strength to be able to offer kindness to others myself.

In fact, I'd like to offer up special thanks to people like rmd, Christine (my old housemate), jbsegal, BVE (despite turning out to be an ass later) and his best friend Tom, liralen, allessindra and her husband, Frodo, tb, Paul & Francie, johnromkey, George W. Poulos, frobzwiththingz, gdaniels, Tim, Thalx, madbodger, H*, Vic, i_leonardo, Mason, gilana, RS, totient, the whole Rutgers networking & systems crew - including Alex (AKA Siggy), deguspice, Bressen, frotz, and many others I'm probably forgetting who were kind to me or took care of me in those first few years of hanging around the Internets, Elbows, and Fandom.

There are many more of you who've been wonderful to me since then, but those first few years... whew! Tough ones.

[User Picture]From: sweetmmeblue
2008-05-25 06:57 am (UTC)
siggy is n2lmq

Glad you had good people around then and now. *hugs* you rock!
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-05-25 07:00 am (UTC)
Thanks for the pointer. And... wow! Thank you very much for the compliment!
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[User Picture]From: lillibet
2008-05-25 11:48 am (UTC)
dpolicar has a great story about an older man, encountering him in a deeply depressed state, who said "Savor it. You may never be this unhappy again," which cheered him up immensely.

It's always interesting to me when you reveal this part of those years' experience, because I remember you as being so cool and popular and self-contained that I felt I couldn't get near you. I thought at the time "there will be time" and I'm very glad to have been right.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-05-25 08:11 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Savor it, eh? Hmm. Have to think about that.

I remember you as being so cool and popular and self-contained that I felt I couldn't get near you

I find this extraordinary. I remember feeling like fresh meat, I remember feeling like a lot of people wanted a piece of me, I remember feeling like I finally belonged - that my years and years of loneliness and self-entertainment were training for hanging out with people so much smarter than I was. I do not remember feeling cool or self-contained.

The popularity was startling, though. But I felt like a novelty toy, that it was only my newness and different experiences that made me interesting and, further, that I'd never be as popular, well-loved, and respected as folks like JB, Regis, Hobbit, Mason, Phil, or Romkey. One-name people. People about whom there were stories and... I dunno... legends, almost.
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[User Picture]From: lillibet
2008-05-25 09:15 pm (UTC)
Well, they'd all been around for a while at that point, so they'd had time to build up a legend. I remember what I think was the first time I met you, at a gathering at IDR specifically because "Kelly is in town!" I had no idea who you were, but the general consensus was you were the best thing happening in Cambridge that weekend :)
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[User Picture]From: lillibet
2008-05-25 09:19 pm (UTC)
I want to add that I have a much clearer sense of what the interior of cool is like now than I did back in my callow youth. I've been shocked myself to realize that people, for example, are honored to have me show up to their party or surprised to hear me being nervous about cutting my hair, or whatever, because I am, ahem, so cool :)
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[User Picture]From: thespian
2008-05-25 01:52 pm (UTC)
How odd; I actually said almost those exact words to someone who was crying on the T on Friday morning.

When I wound up in tears on the T that night, no one said anything, but that's probably for the best, as I think any word of sympathy would have made for outright crying right then.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-05-25 08:16 pm (UTC)
It's very kind of you to stop and speak to someone crying.

I try & check crying people to make sure they're ok and not running from someone, but I never have anything comforting or profound to say.

If you don't mind me asking, why were you crying that night?

Sympathy is guaranteed to turn on my full waterworks when I'm upset, but I usually do feel better for it.
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[User Picture]From: thespian
2008-05-26 05:41 pm (UTC)
I haven't posted about it because the people who caused it are for the most part, really very good and caring friends, all of whom did a small social thing to hurt me, any one of which I could have dealt with, but which, repeated en masse, turned into me simply feeling just how on the edges of the crowd I actually am when other, shinier people are around.
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[User Picture]From: awfief
2008-05-26 11:55 pm (UTC)
I've found people capable of that kindness, giving me enough strength to be able to offer kindness to others myself.

I'd be interested in hearing more about this.....

I really like helpothers.org, and in fact I'm one of the folks who sends out "smile cards". :)
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