Have you ever experienced a small kindness from someone that changed your life?
Did it shock you?
These days, you’d have to really work to shock me.
I’ve been through a lot, as you’ll find as I continue this series, and now, well, I don’t even blush much.
But earlier in my life, well, I was an extremely introverted, conservative young man who had just spent 12 1/2 years working and taking care of my critically ill wife. I didn’t get out much.
Anyway, continuing with yesterday’s story…
I discovered renaissance festivals, beginning at Irwindale Renaissance Festival.
Every weekend, I walked all over the festival, taking thousands of pictures, and finally plopped down in front of the belly dancers.
As it turned out, at that point in my life – completely caved in, filled with grief, super introverted, and with no real-life experience, that’s exactly what I needed.
It was the colors, the movement, and the music. It calmed me down and made me feel more alive.
On top of that, the dancers had this sense of community that I found unique and fascinating.
So, I put thousands of pictures on the internet for anyone to use as they wanted.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but the dancers found them. Before long, my photos were posted all over Facebook and other social media. I became famous and didn’t even know it.
One Small Kindness
One day, I was sitting in the back row with a telephoto lens, busy photographing. I sat in the back because I was not up to confronting people.
During a break between shows, one of the dancers approached me. She had tattoos going up her arms and on her back. Huge tattoos and a few piercings.
To be honest, she frightened me. She didn’t fit into my world view, and I had no idea how to deal with it.
Before I knew it, she came up next to me, put her arm around me, gave me a huge hug, and thanked me for all the photos.
Her name is Marjhani BellaMorte. She’s one of my dearest friends.
She invited me to sit in the front row, center seat so I could take better pictures.
She said I was now officially a member of Oojam, the “tribe” of belly dancers, and introduced me to everyone.
Suddenly, after being focused only on work and my sick wife, with virtually no friends, I found myself part of a community. Dancers and band members and other people who were part of the show.
That changed my life.
Over the next few years, my photography improved. I photographed over 1,200 belly dance shows, dozens of private photoshoots, over 300 renaissance festivals, a few WWE wrestling matches, the First Annual World Mermaid Beauty Pageant, and even a few weddings.
And believe it or not, the belly dancers convinced me a few times to get up on dance and belly dance. Well, kind of .,. I stood there and they kind of pushed me in the right moves. Unfortunately, no pictures of this exist.
Partially because of Marjhani’s small kindness, my creative flows opened up wide. I traveled everywhere, flying all around the country to photograph festivals, shows, and the outdoors. I began opening up to people and allowing them into my life again. Then, years after, I left my corporate job at Trader Joe’s to start my own ghostwriting business.
It’s interesting how one event, one gift from another person, could lead to such a huge change. It reminds me of the butterfly effect: one small change ripples through the universe and results in massive consequences.
I’ll get into more about that later that later in this series.
So, what small kindness have you experienced that changed your life? Leave a comment below!
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