Stop and say “woah” in your best Keanu Reeves voice on a regular basis. Amazing stuff is happening all around, all the time. Some things deserve a “woah” even more than a second thought.
Recently, I was talking to some friends about first impressions and how irreversible they are. I took a trip to Boston on 09/15/01(that is 9/11 and 4 days if you don’t understand the context) and it was a terrible time in the northeast. It is only fair to try and wipe that memory from my mind and give Boston a chance, but I cannot. I have enjoyed Boston once or twice since, but I don’t know if I’ll ever expect to enjoy it.
The day I posted this little nugget of wisdom was about the exact opposite experience. And it was about a girl.
I’d seen her a few times before this and had had several incredibly interesting conversations. She completely disarmed me from the beginning and made me want to crawl right out of my shell. If you’ve experienced the tail end of a long term relationship, you know how “at home” you get to be in your shell. This relationship had a very long tail. She was the first person I’d met who made me want to stick my head out. Let us call her Jeannette.
Jeannette could empathize and sympathize and pity me. Jeannette knew what I was going through, at least mostly. She had the most curious questions to ask and listened for the answers. I crawled up and entirely out of my shell and she’d prod me with questions. No subject was off limits or even seemed strange. Hindsight paints a funny picture, because I cannot for the life of me recall how it was that she peeled my shell off.
Well, this was the day that I had to stop and say “woah”. This was the day that Jeannette was not just a voice and a disarming smile. This was the day that she became a woman in my mind. “Woah…”
There is a moment that lasts only a fraction of a second when feeling vulnerable turns into feeling connected. There is a flash when your therapist becomes a friend. There is a flash when a tree turns into a million splinters, ash and smoke. This day, there was a flash…
I guess that is the magic of first impressions; they only happen when something makes an impression. I cannot tell you in what month my eyes first fell upon her. I can tell you that in that flash, she made her first impression.
I have been very direct about certain things and very stand-offish too. Jeannette is involved in some situations and certainly has some strings attached, but she is wonderful and amazing. If ever a person deserved happiness, it is she. If anyone will work for happiness, it is she. The more I know about her, the more “woah,” she deserves.
The level of success she has obtained regardless of the difficulties tossed her way is inspiring. Actually it makes her intimidating. She is young and tiny and looks younger than she is, but her story is both inspiring and intimidating. Her story definitely makes her old. She makes people feel understood and appreciated and un-judged. Oh, and she laughs at farts.
So, though our paths have crossed and we wander somewhere in the same vicinity for now, it is perfectly fine that we may never hold hands and wander off into the wild blue wonder. She returned the wonder to the world. Nothing more has happened between us, but still, she has changed my world forever. She has made me the man who sits here without a shell and bears my soul for you.
That’s a lie. She just made me want to be that guy that someone will one day say “woah” about. And here I stand before you, a better man. I can’t even be mad that she’s skipping along with some other guy. Okay, I’m a little mad at myself, but that’s for a billion other things that I saw when I opened my eyes as well. I am genuinely happy for her. She deserves someone to sit with and watch the sunset with while I run off to become an even better man.