Thank you, Rihanna

For those of you who are hesitant to read my column because you are an anti-fan of Rihanna, please understand that my reference to her new song is only the foundation for my words. I myself am not a big fan of Rihanna and her music at all, but her newest song with Paul McCartney and Kanye West, “FourFiveSeconds,” is one I owe thanks to.

In the song, Rihanna and Kanye both sing in the verse, “All of my kindness is taken for weakness.” Normally, my ears aren’t open to the lyrics of a song as much as to the music because half of the mainstream songs we listen to these days are about partying, sex or a recent breakup. But this line struck a chord as I remembered how I would distance myself from people because they would “take my kindness for weakness.”

My close friends tend to say that I am quite sassy for the small person I am. On the other end of the spectrum, people I do not know well would see me as a quiet and soft person because I am not as expressive and choose to stir up noncontroversial small talk in awkward situations. In multiple instances, people correlated my gentleness with a weak heart and rashly threw rude comments because they thought I would not be able to defend myself.

Perhaps following the golden rule to treat others with kindness can come off as a vulnerability because it is easy to assume that one cannot stand up for him or herself if he or she is not outwardly talkative or articulate with their inner thoughts, but that degrades the person’s capability to emote like anyone else can. When you see someone being kind to every single individual they encounter, I assure you that they are in no way powerless or completely fine inside. In the end, is not everyone broken in some way?

With that, I will leave you all with a quote by the great Plato:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Reste toi-meme,

Michelle Kang