Okay I’ll admit it, I love talking to strangers. It’s an addiction really! I’m one of those people who never runs out of things to say, and talking to complete strangers feels freeing in an odd way. I use use apps to feed my talking addiction, random chat apps where you are completely anonymous and have no page name photo or anything. You just send phrases into the wild blue yonder and see what people say in return. You will find everything from inspiring words of kindness to the straight up bizarre! Are people their true selves when they aren’t themselves at all?
Some famous person said “Give a man a mask and you will see his true face.” I feel at home among the blatantly candid, because I’m a terribly transparent person. Often i’m saying something out loud before I was even aware it was a thought. You will usually know how i’m feeling and what i’m thinking from across the room. Other people have the luxury of holding that stuff in…yet they will tell it freely in places where they are anonymous, with nothing to lose.They are like me, beneath the exterior they present. Suddenly we are on equal ground, and my candid confessions and showings of emotion no longer seem unusual.
Even in real life, there is no filter on who I befriend. I subscribe to the idea that I can look into someones eyes and see if goodness is dwelling there. A little light flickering. As crazy as it may seem, it has been true so far. When i was younger I turned to craigslist to find roommates. Most people would think that to be a dangerous idea, especially since the person who responded was a man. I met with him briefly the day before lease signing, looked at his eyes and knew he was of no danger to me. He ended up being wildly eccentric, but kind. later on another stranger moved in too, an equally odd young man. And both worked out quite well.
Similarly, i posted on an anonymous app about needing someone to sing at one of my events. A young woman replied with a beautiful voice and talent for music. An immigrant from morocco, she opened my mind about appreciating music sang in other languages. After phone calls and connecting through other forms of social media we decided we will one day do a live art/music performance together. All due to having a open heart in regards to new people, whichever way I find them.
Strangers are merely people we haven’t found common ground with yet. Reaching out to strangers, for me, is as normal as breathing. If i want a real opinion on an art piece id rather ask a stranger than someone i know. better yet a stranger with no clue what I look like or knowing anything else about me. It’s so much more impartial. Likewise compliments from strangers mean more.
Recently someone wrote to a local paper about me in the “i saw you” column, where folks leave descriptions of people they didn’t get a chance to talk to or meet, hoping they see it and reply back. most of my friends find these creepy, but i read them religiously and find them beautiful. Even the weird ones. The description this stranger wrote of me described me as this completely stunningly beautiful creature and ended saying” I would like to buy you coffee, but if you aren’t single, I hope you have someone who makes you feel truly appreciated and admired.” It was so lovely, and so far from my image of myself, that I burst out crying after thinking about it later that day.
Whatever we look like, the way we see ourselves…it isn’t the truth. It is our distorted perception. The way our friends depict us is often distorted too. because I cannot help but blab my opinions, i’m always questioning why others aren’t. Will a friend really tell me if my dress is ugly? Are they truly telling me what they really think of my art, or are they offering a positive spin because they are worried about being nice? And the even more awkward, is this flirtatious person buying my art because its awesome or because they think I’m pretty?
Surrounding myself with candid people,whether what they have to say is wonderful, or bizarre, makes me feel less alone in the world. Through modern technology, I will never run out of people to reach out to in some small way.I also wont run out of people who will bluntly tell me what they think. For someone as transparent as me, that form of connection isn’t daunting, but valuable and comforting.