In my poetry class today, my professor called one of the students out on not titling her essay. Nowhere in the instructions did she say to title our essays. Today, in my poetry class, the girl began to cry. It broke my heart.
It is so easy to overlook the humanity in others when it’s custom for people to live in thick skin. Because people can laugh off their hurt, or hide it, or ignore it themselves, we often forget how deeply one another feels. Until someone cries.
Until someone’s skin has been thinned enough that what they experience is revealed, we can live in negligence. Yet as soon as someone dares to, or is forced to peel back the mask, we cannot escape the truth of our circumstances. We are all human.
I strongly believe humans are innately good. But, we are complex. Within this complexity, we have created great disarray in the form of societal norms and lies, which allow us to achieve those. We are safeguarded, so we hide the level to which others affect us. We are lazy, so we forget the sensitivity of others.
It’s not cruelty, it’s human. But, we must remember to be good.
Seeing the girl in my class cry broke my heart, but it reminded me of the significance not only of our forgetfulness, but also of our kindness. I never know what the person I’m regarding has gone through. I don’t know if today, their boyfriend broke up with them or they woke up particularly sensitive. Beyond that, the person to whom I’m speaking doesn’t have to have gone through a crisis to deserve my kindness. Kindness is not earned.
Just as I do not know the extent of the hurt I can cause, I do not know the limits of my kindness. We are safeguarded humans and we may never know. But had my professor offered a boost in confidence to the student rather than unnecessary chagrin, tears would not have been shed and there could have been potential for an inspiring uplifting.
Today, I’m grateful for the tears that student shed. It reminded me we cry. We are human. We must regard one another as such.