Kindness as a profession ( and professional kindness)

Wait! Are those two different?  I think so. Some make their career from being kind. Others show kindness in a multitude of professions.  A kindness vocation can be as simple as the amazing @kindnesscoach or working for someone like RandomActs. It can also be working in a giving/caring role.  Teachers are kindness ambassadors. They literally fuel the kindness that is about to ignite the world. The kindness they demonstrate, model & teach is often the first such that some children see in their lives.  Much as kindness grows and multiplies when shared, unkindness can become a multi-generational vicious circle.  It is hard to be kind or even accept kindness when it is totally alien to you.  Teachers have the incredible role of introducing young people to their potential for kindness and they also get to have the immense gift of giving these fledgling “kind people” their first & most consistent dose of kindness. Wow. What an opportunity!  Teachers can LITERALLY increase kindness in

Remarkable Resilience

Resilience   Noun: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness . Etymology: Latin resilient-, resiliens, present participle of resilire to jump back, recoil, from re- + salire to leap Resilience is NOT: standing immovable in the face of trauma or tragedy A stiff upper lip A lack of emotional expression Never failing Constant positivity A competition Resilience is about having the flexibility and resourcefulness to find a way to get up again after a knock back.  Resilience is feeling beaten but giving it one more shot.  Resilience is crying, saying “this is hard” and then reaching out for help to get through it.  Resilience is learning from each situation so that you can come back faster and stronger every time.  There has been so much demonstrable resilience in the last two years. Families finding ways to connect despite being apart. People grieving and yet still thinking of the safety of others. So many continuing in their jobs or studies despite very justified fears

40 acts at 40

I recently turned the big Four Oh! As a way of marking this milestone I have decided to perform at least 40 random acts of kindness to spread the love.  I’m going to use this blog to keep you updated and share ways that you can help and support too if you would like to.  My first “Act” involves cake!!! I went for birthday brunch at a fab little local cafe near me on the way to Stratford-Upon-Avon,  OrangeMabel   The food was incredible, service lovely and ambience was right up my street. 40’s/50’s retro with nice big portions and refills on tea!!!  As an initial act I wrote them a stonking good  Tripadvisor review I then contacted some friends about creating a one off choir to sing Christmas carols outside a local care home and around the village. I’m also going to offer free mulled cider and wine to all singers!!  Instead of gifts I asked that people donate to  Macmillan Cancer Support  as this charity has done so much for my brother and his family since his diagnosis and are an incre

A record that will never unstick

I know people may be bored of hearing my voice. It’s been over a year since I wrote THAT blog. 17,000+ people read it. Mainly educators.  Some people have stood by my side without faltering. I am in awe of them. They truly lived by their words. Some are people I now call friends. Many are people I still don’t know well but who have taught me to believe in the goodness of humanity again, have helped me to trust the kindness of strangers once more.  I cannot ever express how much that support has meant, not just to me, but to every person who had ever had an experience of sexual assault. When they saw the responses you all gave you made it clear that the voice of the survivor matters. You empowered them alongside empowering me.  I feel like I am forever traipsing back and forth across the muddy cesspit that is my trauma, dragging myself through the horror again and again each time I remember, each time I see another statistic, each time I listen to a young person recount t

The curates egg of feeling “too” much

  Have you ever read a book that made you sob uncontrollably? Watched a film that left you weeping with abandon?...... Felt the unhappiness of another person pour into you like rain from a gutter into an overflow barrel? Yeah. That last one is less common. Especially when that person might be a complete stranger or even someone that you really don’t WANT to feel anything for.  I have never really worked out if it is an extraordinary privilege or horrendous curse to be an empath.  There are distinct pros to it.  We build relationships quickly and strongly We are natural “helpers” We find beauty in the most unusual and dark places We draw people together with our ability to read the needs and wants of others We are excellent “mimics” and actors having become chameleon-like and canny in our attempts to people please, blend in & not upset people We have an affinity with the world around us that often translates as creativity We are self reflective and constantly adapting, as versatile

Carpets and doormats

I have spent my life being a distinctly average, decidedly GOOD girl. I got good grades at school. I won a prize for music. I did ok at A levels. Yes, I kissed boys and drank cider but I was mainly just... average. I didn’t stick out.  Deliberately.  At first school I was honest and open about loving reading. I revelled in nerdiness and embraced the geek. I talked with my very average, neutral accent without thought of whether it made me different.  It did. In a small village school filled with the children of farmers I stuck out like a whacking great hypodermic in their haystack. I was bullied relentlessly from 8-14.  So at high school I learned the art of people pleasing. I made sure to blend in. I didn’t challenge the people who took my dinner money or who copied my homework. I didn’t snitch. I didn’t complain. I smiled, looked at my shoes, kept my head down.  I became a doormat. I didn’t go through the teenage anger or moods that most girls do. I was just quietly polite. Helpful. K

My last ever blog

My voice Less than a week: That’s how long my crime reference number was in my possession and valid. 11 months: that’s how long I carried a secret that poisoned me. The rest of my life: that’s how long this will stay with me.  Less than two days: that’s how much time it took for people to insinuate I might not be being truthful.  Less than a week: that’s how long it took for this country and it’s legal system to let down yet another vulnerable, scared person who thought that coming forward was the “Right” thing to do.  Let me explain a little of my experience. Actually, first, let me explain a little about me.  I am, fundamentally, a good person. I strive for kindness in all I do. I try to help, to care, to nurture. My core beliefs and driving forces are empathy and fairness.  I always believed that empathy was the strongest influencer. I was wrong.  My sense of fairness gave me the strength to speak about something that turns my stomach, something which makes me w