Not a Stranger Danger

I don’t like strangers. I like strangers. It depends on a lot of things. This time, I’m going to write about how you’re not always in danger around a stranger.

Strangers are humans, too. So they can be our friend. Even our friends were once strangers to us, too, anyway. Yesterday, I had another weird meeting with a stranger. Maybe for the stranger it wasn’t weird but for me it is.

Crying while walking on the street is normal for me. Unfortunately, this person did not notice I was about to cry before he approached me. He was, I suppose, in desperate need. He needs to go home but he’s short on money. He had a little problem with his ATM and he’s only got two pesos left. He needs 28 more pesos to get home. As he was trying to explain to me his problem, he looked like he was about to cry. He wasn’t able to cry, though. My eyes gave in before he can cry. I was trying my best not to cry. It’s just that there’s already enough water in both my eyes to let down one tear each. When the first one came rolling down, he noticed because I wiped it. He asked if I was okay. I said yes, I’m okay. Then he tried to explain again. The second tear just had to go. He noticed it again and asked is I was crying. I shook my head “no” and told him to just proceed with what he’s saying. He asked again if I’m okay. He asked me with quite a concern so I kind of gave in like how people on TV and movies cry when they’re not okay and someone finally notices they are not and asks them then they cry. I was like that. Only, instead of saying yes, I was just looking at him, trying to hold back my tears though you can actually start filming me already because of the reaction on my face. He wanted me to tell him what it is that’s making me cry. He insisted and of course I was uncomfortable. Why would I tell a stranger how I feel? Why would I trouble him? My friends might already be on their way to the mall where we’ll meet. I’m usually the most and only punctual friend. I don’t want to come late with puffy eyes. So I talked to the stranger to get it over with. I gave him an idea of what I’m going through and even though I really didn’t want to talk, I appreciate that he’s really trying to help. I haven’t even given him the 28 pesos and this person wants me to smile again and tells me I’ll be okay and that what I’m going through is normal and will be over soon. He didn’t get what I mean exactly but just the fact that he wastes time on a pathetic girl like me is, well, overwhelming. There was a point in our conversation where one of my friends was already calling me and I was in a dilemma. Shall I answer? Even with the tears in my eyes and his heartfelt words? I just let him talk. He made me smile and laugh a few times. I found out he’s in the marketing industry while I’m in advertising. He asked me my name and I told him my nickname (my real name will just cause more talk) and he told me his, well, I don’t know if it’s also just his nickname or if it’s his first name. He gave me a hug and shook my hand. I gave him his 28 pesos. I kind of felt like I bought kindness for 28 pesos. He thanked me. I said thank you, you helped me more than I helped you. We said goodbye again and we went our ways.

Crying while walking on the street is normal for me. What was different yesterday was there was somebody who will not let me just keep crying on the street and it was a stranger. I’m the type of person who finds it hard to make friends and I’m never the one to approach a person first. I don’t get comfortable with people after a meeting or two. I take more than enough time. Talking to a stranger is uncomfortable and weird for me. What’s worse is I’m telling him one of my problems. But sometimes, there’s just no one available at the actual moment. Maybe this person is sent. Or maybe life just knows how to have fun. Whatever happened, I’m okay that it happened. I can’t say I’m glad because I still think and feel weird about it. Maybe because it was really surprising. I let a stranger hug me. It wasn’t so bad. We can all use a hug sometimes. And I learned one thing from him. He said if I really don’t want to tell my problems to anybody, I can go spill it at the wind. Why not? The wind can’t complain or at least I won’t be hearing its judgement. I could use that advice.

I don’t think I can do the same for other people. I mean, I can’t do what that stranger did to me for other strangers. I just hope if you’re reading this and you’re not socially awkward like me, you’d try to do what that stranger did for me. You can do it in your own way. It’ll probably feel good. By the way, don’t we all need each other?


Anxiety on the So-Called ‘Real World’

It’s a big world and as we grow older, it gets smaller and bigger at the same time.

Sometimes,  I think it gets bigger because the things  I didn’t use to have access are now accessible; the things that used to be so far away are now closer; our old refrigerator used to be taller than me and now I’m taller than it. Sometimes, the world seems bigger when I look at the things that I haven’t experienced, the places I’ve never been into, the food I haven’t tasted, and the things I still don’t have access to. So the world, how it looks like, depends on how you look at it. There are a lot of angles but I think, for every person, there’s one best angle to look at life and the world—it’s looking at the world in your best self.

Nobody’s their best self yet. I don’t know if anyone will ever be because life is a continuous journey where we keep on growing and learning. That means we get better as time goes by if we’re on the right track. So how can a person look at the world in his/her best self? Maybe a person is at his/her best self when he/she is doing what he/she loves and is being true to his/her self, when there are doubts but more clarity, when there is loneliness but more happiness, and when you haven’t reached all your goals but you have high hopes that you’ll get there. So, I noticed that I’m talking as if I’m an expert here. Well, I know I’m not and I can’t say that I’m in my best self honestly, I am, again, in the period where I’m a little bit too anxious about the future because I’m not yet sure if I’ll land in the place I want to be in. Nobody knows what the future really holds but we all hope that it will be great. But life isn’t always great. I think we all know that and that sometimes, life sucks. But those terrible times help us appreciate the good times even more.

Why am I even talking about these things and why did I say that I hope I’ll land in the place where I want to be in? Well, the person talking here is graduating this April and can now start looking for a job. I’ll be entering what they call the ‘real world’. I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone in being anxious. Doubt is sitting beside me most of the time. The ‘real world’ sounds exciting and scary. Finally, I can focus on doing what I love and what I’m good at, but what if I’m not good enough? All those typical questions keep visiting my head. I feel a step closer to the ‘real world’ just by thinking of it and as graduation gets closer, the pressure grows stronger.

It’s been a long time now and I still have this wish that remains a wish. I’ve been wishing to have more self-confidence. If I had it early on, maybe, I might have done things a bit better. I don’t regret anything in my life but if I could go back in time and have a chance to talk to my younger self, I’d tell her to believe in herself even more though not a lot of people believes in you or though not a lot of people will believe in you.  Maybe I’d praise myself a little bit, too. Everybody needs to hear encouraging words sometimes. I know it’s better to show our love and support through actions but sometimes, people need to hear it, too. That’s why I’ll praise myself a little bit if I could go back in time. I remember that the few praises I heard when I was in fourth year high school encouraged me to take this road where I’m at.

Good words coming from other people are better but I guess, we should also praise ourselves sometimes ‘cos it helps.