Lake Street Dive
“If you’re gonna tell them everything,
Don’t leave out the good part”
I make friends wherever I go. Not just the new school, new town, kinda situations; I mean like train stations, grocery stores, at the gym, or waiting in a line- only the most random of locations. I really love these “friends;” people that share a bit of their story with me and become a sliver of mine.
Chances are I’ll probably never see them again, or maybe I will because life is funny like that, but either way I remember these interactions long after they’ve passed. I learned about flowers from a lady at National Airport when we were waiting for our very delayed flight. I learned of missionary work in China and Taiwan where someone helped thousands of orphans find safety. I learned of a young catholic school student who had a love affair with his teacher and nun in the 30’s. I made friends with one of the staff members at the gym last week and learned about what Winchester (about 25 mins north of Front Royal, VA) in the 70’s- the hippie vs. redneck stereotypes were so interesting! Did you know that wearing white socks outside of gym was a “redneck” things? I would never have guessed that socks could hold such meaning. These seemingly small interactions punctuate my life with fascinating tidbits of histories.
And yet, the same bubbly, outgoing-ness that allows me to make connections so easily also is deemed by some as “a lot to handle” or “annoying.”
We had two full days in the field last week, hiking, hunting for wildflowers, and learning from park rangers. This gave me plenty of brain space to reflect.
During student-faculty meetings, Jim asked me how I would rate my class participation. I laughed and told him that my report card comments in elementary school were always, “Kira is a bright student but talks too much.” I gave myself a modest 9.5/10. My comments in class have become more focused and on-topic as the semester has gone by and I’ve gotten more comfortable with my classmates. I don’t know why this is- most people open up the longer they know someone. My stream-of-consciousness-say-every-story-that-comes-to-mind is most productive in the initial stages of meeting new people. I compliment them, find common ground, and ask them about themselves to pry away the outer shell of self-containment that our society enables us to have. The larger picture behind the, “how are you doing?” that no one cares to hear the answer too.
Friends have *somewhat jokingly* chastised me for striking up a conversation with someone on the metro, talking to a baby that we pass by, or answering someone’s question that wasn’t directed at me. But what’s so wrong with having a more caring, interconnected world? My sillier questions to guest speakers that seem frivolous and wasteful of time actually do serve a purpose. Questions like, “what is your spirit animal?” or spirit breakfast cereal, kitchen utensils, etc, break down barriers that many put up to protect themselves from the judgement of others. They are called “ice breakers” for a reason- I use them with kids all summer long. When you get someone to toss away their “cool card” (cool card being an attitude of “I’m too good for this,” “this is stupid,” and on a deeper level, “I don’t want to open myself up to judgement and possible ridicule of others by participating in this”) you get more honest answers and connections from otherwise surface-level interactions.
In conclusion, I’m not sorry if you find me annoying. My quirks may lead you to distance yourself from me, but they also mean that babies and old people love me (and we all know those are the most important populations anyways). I’m not sorry for trying to make connections out of genuine interest and not exclusively for future self promotion. I’m not sorry that I am able to open my heart to the world. You should try it sometime and see what happens.
Pictures from Friday’s Wildflower hike:
This entry was made possible by the empowering tunes of “Good Kisser” by Lake Street Dive and “Ain’t No Man” by The Avett Brothers. Everyone needs a playlist that gives them the confidence to take on the world; those songs are at the top of mine.
I’m starting The Dress Project tomorrow and will be participating all of April! Click the link to learn more about the project and stay tuned for updates. Our TDP blog can be found here, and I am trying to find a way to have them show up on this site as well. Yay for sustainability and supporting a good cause!