“My challenge to everyone … is to step out of (y)our box and …..make eye contact with someone, smile and say hello. …. Then take it a step further, reach out to someone ……and try to have a conversation, more than just “hi”…take a minute to really talk to them…..”
When I read the above words, I knew I couldn’t let this slip by. I had been in more than just a box; I had been in an indestructible, impenetrable shell for the past two years. But lately things had been changing, rapidly, at a pace I didn’t know was possible. I discovered that accepting this challenge tipped me over the edge into a place that I had never allowed myself to unconditionally venture before.
Most of my life I have been judged (does this sound familiar to anyone?) and it was/is usually incorrect. There is a saying “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” This book (me, internally) is not its cover (me, externally). Having experienced being judged and having to deal with it all of my life, had created in me a paradox: learned personality traits versus innate personality traits. In other words, do I distrust people or do I be friendly? I had lived heavily in the former for far too long, it was time to move forward, time to be me, time to be free. This challenge was the ticket.
FRS posted Invisible on the 12th of September, 2012. On the 13th of September, 2012, my mother and I were on our way to San Francisco for our first overnight trip together, alone, ever. I had already decided that in order to get the most out of the challenge I had to put 110% into it, and I did. My mother was so completely thrown off by my new behavior that it initially caused some very strained moments. After I explained to her what was going on, she was a little more comfortable. She really became less uncomfortable after the following event.
My childhood was spent, here, there, everywhere, but always in California. For a while we settled down in the East Bay. This area brings back very fond memories for my mom, so we took a detour and drove around. When it came time for dinner, we decided on a restaurant that had been there during the time that we lived there. This was a real thrilling and special event for my mom, who couldn’t believe the place hadn’t changed. She even got to wondering, out loud, if our waitress was had been there at the same time we had lived here.
So I, with my newly liberated friendliness, asked our waitress if this was possible. She was genuinely interested in chatting and told us that no, she had not been there during that time. However, she had owned a restaurant in a nearby town and that it was (forgive me for forgetting) either Spanish based cuisine or New Mexico based cuisine. This was not to be confused with Mexican cuisine and she was very emphatic about that. She walked away and my mom and I talked about it, and then a thought hit me. When she came back to the table I asked her if it was her restaurant that had served the Sopapillas. I don’t know which was more dominant at the time of the question, the delight in having someone remember her food, or the surprise, because I would have been very young at the time. Even my mother didn’t remember. Throughout the rest of our meal, we had a great time talking with our waitress. She told us how John Madden was such a fan of her food, that he even mentioned her restaurant in his biography. She brought over pictures for us to see of the restaurant, her holding Madden’s book and she simply beamed with pride and happiness. My mother and I were enjoying ourselves immensely. As dinner wound down, I asked our waitress if I could take a picture of her, she politely declined, but we did exchange telephone numbers and I told her that I would be writing about our encounter on my blog. She was thrilled.
Side Note: Believe it or not, this is the Reader’s Digest Condensed version of what happened that night, not the James Michener (think Hawaii) version!
I haven’t stopped being this “new” way since. I was even approached last night while I was at my local live theater, to come read for a part in their new play. I don’t know if this would have even happened 6 weeks ago. Probably not.
I will leave you with these two thoughts: The only thing you have to fear, is fear itself.
I believe in the power of asking. If someone says no, or gives you a negative reaction, then you are no worse off than before. But if they say YES, or react POSITIVELY – who knows what can happen!
(I just had a friend tell me that they were afraid of being told no. As it turns out, this friend missed out on an opportunity they had been waiting for. When they read this post, they understood the power of asking and now wish they had asked when they had the opportunity.)
DON’T LET IT PASS YOU BY – TAKE A CHANCE!