I have a confession. People fascinate me. I am an introvert and I don’t draw energy from people and all that. Except…..every once in awhile. I love new experiences and I love watching people. When I’m in the right mood, I even enjoy engaging random people. Tonight my school was passing out hot chocolate and cookies downtown, a perfect opportunity for observing and interacting with people.

Here’s the thing. I am fascinated with people who don’t fit the norm. I come from very (very) conservative circles….so some of my friends think twice about walking up to guys who have long hair or people who are smoking. Or especially people who look just a little out there. But me? They seem to draw me like a magnet. I don’t want to live their lifestyle…I’m perfectly happy with mine. I do want to talk to them, observe them, just have a peek into their lives. I am not sure how this fascination started or how a tiny and shy girl turned into the kind of person who will walk up to anyone with a smile. There are a few things that helped it along, certainly.

Reading was one, surprisingly enough. I read all these young adult books where the characters would be out and about in their towns and meet all kinds of cool people and do crazy, fun things. I wanted to be like them! I wanted experiences and stories and I wanted to be a part of a random stranger’s story. You know those experiences that are so random or odd or kind that you just talk about them forever? We’ve all had them, but have you ever been the person initiating an experience like that? It’s amazing! That’s what I wanted.

Then there is the simple fact that I don’t like comfort zones. I love adventure and experience….life must be LIVED! Being normal is overrated.

One of the experiences I always wanted greatly whetted my appetite for others. A few years ago I started playing belegarth. Simply put, belegarth involves dressing up in fantasy costumes and mock-fighting. The weapons have hard cores, but are covered with foam. The fighting can be one on one or in battle arrangements. I discovered belegarth one afternoon while I was walking my dog in the park. Of course a group of oddly dressed people with swords drew my attention, so I watched, asked questions, and watched a little longer. I recognized itΒ  for the opportunity it was. That was that. For about a year I came to belegarth off and on. I met people of every stripe and type. It was fun and adventurous and a chance to be different. It was in belegarth that I learned to assert myself. My self-appointed belegarth mentor forced me into battles and attacking instead of playing defense. Somewhere along the line I learned to like it. That boldness crept into other areas of my life.

This is what you have to picture: I am a tiny girl. People often think I’m 13 or so. I look sweet and innocent. That’s not an exaggeration. I just look young and sweet. πŸ˜‰ All of my girlfriends are scared of guys who don’t look “normal.” I understand the need for caution…a girl doesn’t just go up to guys she doesn’t know, especially if she’s not in a safe setting. But in safe surroundings? There’s nothing to be scared of! According to my observations, most guys will admire you if you assert yourself. They think it’s cute that you’re not scared, and they indulge you for whatever reason. Sure, when you walk away they may think you’re crazy, but what does it matter? You’ll feel good for doing something different and chances are high that you will have brightened their day, just a little.

So what does this look like? This means that if you think a guy looks like an actor, go tell him. If you like his outfit, tell him. You want to pet his dog, go ask. Is he playing a guitar and singing? Ask him about it. Strike up conversations. Obviously, this isn’t just for girls. Guys, you can do it too. πŸ™‚ I just can’t speak from that perspective. Actually, I can say that I enjoy when random guys talk to me, especially if they aren’t hitting on me.

People, take a chance. Talk to someone new and random. You will enjoy it, trust me. πŸ™‚

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