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When a t-shirt makes you feel like a fraud

So… this came in the mail.

I watched the movie last year and was moved by its message of friendship and love that looked beyond outward appearances to the quality of character of one unlikely hero. My husband, hardened by years of packaging real stories of death and horror for the news, sat there unmoved as my son and I bawled over some of the scenes.

Since opening in 2017, Wonder, based on the book by R.J. Palacio, has spurred on many to be part of a movement that encourages us all to be kind. The t-shirt was a part of that. Now looking at the movement’s Australian website I get the sneaking suspicion it’s all part of a marketing ploy to promote the movie. I gobbled it up though, hook, line and sinker and bought the t-shirt over the internet.

So there it was, after many months since its purchase. In the living room. Urging me to be kinder and more compassionate. I wore it and felt like a fraud almost immediately.

“Why do you feel like a fraud?” my husband asks, puzzled after reading this far into my post.

“Because there are days where I can be obstinate, rude, quick to anger, cruel and sinful,” I explain.

“And times when being kind is the last thing on my mind and I have to wring compassion out like blood from a stone. I can’t live up to the promises this t-shirt is making. Who am I to urge others to be kind?”

He is about to roll his eyes, but he controls himself. Just. He reads on.

The tag line “Choose Kind” comes from the following quote from the novel and movie:

When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.

I wasn’t sure I even agreed with it. There are times when you have to be right. Times when your life depends on being right. Where there is a looming cliff and people are blindly walking towards its edge, you have to scream the truth to them even if it may seem unkind. It may be the kindest thing to do.

By now I was questioning why I spent my hard earned money on something that made me feel bad and wasn’t quite sure I agreed with.

Yet here it was, after many months. That blasted t-shirt in our living room. Urging me to be kinder and more compassionate; to contribute to a world, broken and harsh though it may be, that is gentler on the soul.

“Ok. That’s it. You are being ridiculous,” interjects my cranky husband after reading to this point.

“So much sack cloth and ashes angst over a t-shirt. If you like it, wear it. If you don’t like it, don’t wear it. It’s what you do with a piece of clothing. Simple.”

I love my husband. But he can be unbelievably pragmatic. It’s annoying. I can feel my eyes about to roll. But I don’t give in to the temptation. Because today, I am choosing to be kind.

via the Daily Prompt: Wonder

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March 2018
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