i was the type of child that wouldn't talk to strangers (which i slightly blame on being mildly traumatized by the weekly escaped-convict-on-the-loose-and/or-kid-brought-a-gun-to-school-lock-downs at my elementary school)
yes, extremely obedient. cautious.
and careful (honestly, i have my suspicions that i suffered from some form of childhood anxiety. i know, right? i was cool. cool little keen. and since we're already at it--i also had glasses that sat crooked on my face by the time i was in third grade. so yes, here we have an anxious, worry-prone, terrified-of-guns, nine-year-old with crooked circular glasses and straight a's on her report card. mmmgh-hmmm. yesssss, please. pour me up a child like that for myself.)
strangers inquiring about my life always caused me wonder and hesitation. even at a young age. i wondered why they wanted to know the things they did. i felt like there was always some hidden agenda.
i found myself curious as to their motives.
distrusting, maybe? (i know, most little kids will tell anyone just about anything. i was a freak child apparently)
i mean, i didn't know them. therefore, i felt no obligation to tell them anything about myself or my life. no obligation whatsoever.
may have made for some awkward lingering moments when i wouldn't respond to a question or choose not to go into depth on a subject (but then again--i was about as awkward as you get as a child. so whatever).
strangers and me. just not a match made in heaven.
now twenty-three years old.
and after twenty-three years of living in this world, having friends and loved ones always around me....endless amount of people to go to with my concerns and cares....twenty-three years of faces i know that are willing talk to me with the most intimate of details...
it is the stranger that i find myself confiding in. telling them the things i struggle telling to the closest of relations in my life.
walking into a strangers home. two people that don't know each other.
i observe the interiors. notice the toys scattered across the floor and hear the voices of small children and dora the explorer from a room down the hall.
the smell. the sofa. the pictures on the wall. i don't know any of it.
maybe that's it.
somehow being around a new face in a place i don't know, with no past judgements, and absolutely zero back-story just does it for me. my heart softens, becoming just a little less guarded. my pride is set aside. and the truth, yes--the truth--then finds its way home.
the truth about the aching. the truth about my feelings. the truth about what angers me and how i feel i've been let down.
the honest-to-the-heavens-above truth. what makes me happy. what wrongs that i've done. the acceptance of my weaknesses and strengths.
of life and everything that keeps me up at night.
it's in the home of the stranger.
that i find no hesitation or doubt in my voice. no worries of hidden agendas. where i can take a clean breath and speak as free as i choose--as if i've been confined in some 'big-brothered' world where i worry about who may hear what and what they will take of it.
where i can listen to their lives and understand what their pains and worries are.
we both just breath. okay with the fact that we don't actually know each other. different stories. different lessons learned. and at the same time---so much that we can understand together.
brought together by some form of fate. or an unexpected answer to an undeserving prayer. maybe it was really nothing, just a text message and a phone call later.
and then, i walk out the front door of a home that i didn't know existed a mere two hours earlier.
saying goodbye to a stranger.
a beautiful stranger.
and i ache for her. for her pain. for how many tears i know she cries during the dark hours of the night after her kids are fast asleep and her husband fails to come home.
and then i get in my car, unsuccessfully hold back the tears and drive away.
funny thing, isn't it?
how something i was frightened of as a child is now an interaction that i crave?