I have never met a stranger. I talk to people everywhere I go. I strike up conversations with people on the street, in elevators, and waiting rooms. I talk to corporate types, yogis, and the homeless. No discrimination. I just like folks.
These conversations always begin casually, but they hardly ever end up that way. People willingly share their stories with me. I give them permission to share without shame, to be vulnerable without judgement, and to safely express what is on their hearts.
We all want to be seen + heard.
I lend my ear for them and for me. I ask questions because I am interested and because I am fascinated by the brilliance of the human mind. I offer my time in exchange for a few moments of authentic connection.
But my friendliness did not always feel like a gift. As a child, I was scolded for talking to strangers. And for many years I silenced my convivial nature, to my own detriment. Denying the truth of myself had dire consequences.
I became an angry teenager. I was annoyed whenever people looked at me. I wore my attitude like armor to keep people out. I stopped smiling and saying hello. I made very few friends and I kept all of my emotions to myself. And although I grew comfortable with this safety, I was shrinking inside.
In social settings I would sit and quietly observe. A stark difference from my young, vibrant, inquisitive self. Somewhere along the way I decided that people were put off by my warm energy. I misinterpreted my parents attempt to keep me safe as an attack on my character. And I lived in this prison, of my own creation, for a very long time.
And then something happened….
I got older and I stopped giving a damn about what others thought. Instead I started showing up as my true, wise, outspoken, self. And guess what? I started making contact.
Contact with people who are not used to being seen, the kind of people who do not readily share.
In giving myself permission to be me, I gave others permission to be heard.
And while I am super friendly, I do not collect people. Intimacy is important to me. I thrive on real and true connection. When I meet someone with a magnetic soul that vibrates on frequency that only my spirit can decipher, an immediate bond forms.
You do not know who you will become, all you know is who you are. You change every time you exchange energy with another person – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Every aspect of you is porous, transforming with every interaction.
Eyes meeting for a second.
A nod so minimal that you almost did not see it.
A smile so slight it could easily be missed.
The brief, but unmistakable, acknowledgment that says… “I see you, seeing me.”
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