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Choose the Stresses of Passion and Kindness

I am so tired.

I’m tired of a lot of things: propaganda, politics in general, mean people, people with good intentions who can’t translate them to action, physical pain that makes it difficult to do certain things, allergies, people holding the sins of others over their heads.

I am also physically tired. I lose a lot of sleep for a number of different reasons: grading papers of my high school students, planning their lessons, painting my nails, doing my hair, phone conversations, searching for inspiration on Instagram, sick family members, sick friends.

Last night I slept only from 4:30 to 9:30 a.m. because I was having an important conversation with a friend. I had to go have my foot and ankle x-rayed. I went to visit my sick mom at home. Yesterday was her birthday and she couldn’t go out and do anything. I took a nap there.

I went to go see Birth of a Nation. It inspired me beyond explanation. I cried and prayed and felt so drawn to the scriptures. I felt drawn to my laptop to write.

Over the last two days, I’ve learned two lessons in unusual ways.

I went into Wal-Mart last night after church. I saw a social media “friend” and we had a really great conversation about going for it. He encouraged me to make bolder moves and commitments with my writing. I am working on how to execute that. He said that “going for it” isn’t easy; in fact, it’s stressful. He also noted that working on projects and at jobs that you aren’t passionate about is stressful. He said, “choose your stress.” We are capable of handling the eustress of working on something we’re passionate about that will pay off and fulfill us. I agree with him that the eustress beats the distress of futility and monotony.

I am thankful that he was kind enough to give me ten minutes in the middle of Wal-Mart.

I was writing this blog post in an IHOP in the middle of the night. My waitress was bored. She saw me writing in my journal and she started to tell me about how she is a writer as well. She won an essay contest. She recently wrote in her journal about step-parenting. She had a sweet spirit.

I was only awake because I needed to scratch some writing off the list. I am a notorious time-waster. It takes me a while to get in the zone and that conversation was counter to the “zone.” It was inconvenient. Human connection, however, matters more than completing tasks – or at least it matters just as much. If I had blown her off, I’d still be sitting trying to brainstorm a blog topic. When you make time in your emotions and in your schedule for kindness, it usually surprises you. I left her a big tip and my card. I hope she will reach out. She said she’s been blocked in her writing over the last few months. Maybe I can help. Maybe it was just a short, sweet moment that won’t be repeated.

Whichever happens next, kindness made my task easier and lifted some of the fatigue while I finished.

Choose the stress that will bring you success and within that stress, remember the really impact kindness above everything can and will have.

Najah-Amatullah Hylton

Oklahoma Teacher and Poet



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