I have a secret,
I’ve been hiding,
Under my skin…
Not-really-needed-but-I-like-the-song Mr Roboto references aside…
Subconsciously, I have been a little afraid of people.
I don’t recall having always been this way. In first school, I talked to anyone. I loved to talk to other kids about Pokémon and to teachers about the newest things I had learned from last night’s edu-tainment TV programme.
Somewhere during middle school, that changed. I don’t remember specifically why or what caused it – it kind of just happened. During high school, I started building barriers and experience had turned into a very wary person.
I got better over time. Sixth form and university were times where I met some great people who helped me to slowly pull those barriers away.
Today, I want to write about one more lesson I learned from my trip to China. A lesson which helped to finally demolish those walls.
One amazing thing about being miles away from home for a few weeks. You feel a little more free. A little more brave. More willing to try things.
So I tried speaking to strangers a little more.
I didn’t do anything huge, I didn’t launch myself into a deep conversation with the nearest bystander. Just small acts, casual conversation. The city I stayed in had a very close community. People talked to each other like they’d known them forever, even if it was really the first time.
Small talk didn’t feel obligatory. Jokes were shared and every laugh felt genuine. And you know what? I finally learned that people aren’t that scary.
Back home, I decided to be less afraid. I chose to become a little more open. My friends helped me to start tearing down these barriers – and now it was my turn to finish the job.
Every interaction I make has a little more heart. A little more eye contact, a little more sincerity. I don’t know how else to explain – there’s more “I-may-not-know-you-well-but-I’m-talking-to-you-like-I-mean it-anyway.” Not everyone is receptive to such behaviour, but I’ve found that the majority are.
All our friends were strangers at one point. Let’s think about that.
I think this was a case of catterpillar-cocoon-butterfly. I started out as a catterpillar, slowly cocooned myself away but eventually emerged into a almost-butterfly*. I don’t think I’m quite a butterfly just yet*.
Admittedly, there are still a few bricks left… but I’m happy to say most of the wall is gone now 🙂
All that’s left to say is domo arigato!.. Thank you for allowing me to learn this lesson 🙂
(*But if we were talking Pokémon terms, then I’d totally be happy with calling myself a Butterfree. :mrgreen:)