The challenge of Day 13, by Ashley Ambirge: [Think of a time when you didn’t think you were capable of doing something, but then surprised yourself. How will you surprise yourself this week?]
I can’t think of a situation I didn’t think I was capable of doing something and then surprised myself. To some of my friends I can suddenly do unexpected stuff, like stop to talk to the alcoholic bum on the street or telling a neighbour that he has to stop invite the children, without the parents consent, to his home unless he wants to have a visit from the police or telling the bus driver she is amazing the way she speaks to the passengers or telling another bus driver that she has a very bad attitude or start a huge computer game production company or a performing dance group or walking alone into South Bronx with a camera in my hands back in the 80’s having no clue that it’s supposed to be dangerous.
It’s not out of my character; it’s more that some of my friends wouldn’t necessarily do that. But my friends are not surprised anymore I suddenly do unexpected things. And that’s fine. Sure, I have had many times in my life that I didn’t think I could make it and then – voila! – I did it. But to be surprised by that? No, it was more of a relief or a ‘yay’ moment; I made it!
So what do I do that is surprising to me? No clue, so I had to ask my boyfriend and he told me something that, well, yes…surprised me!
Me: It seems I never surprise myself?
Toby: But you just were. Surprised I mean.
Me: What do you mean?
Toby: You just read a comment on one of your #Trust30 posts and you said: “I am so touched by all the comments I get. I can’t imagine that I can reach out to people in that way. That I have something to say that people find important”. It seems impossible for you to grasp that you touch hearts, that what you say has some significance and that people can relate to that.
Me: Yeah, but…I just talk or tell stories. I don’t know…
Toby: Exactly. You don’t know. You get surprised every single time. You move people. And you have always done that.
Me: But it’s just me being myself. I just talk.
Toby: See. You don’t get it even if we talk about it specifically. I see this daily. You are not aware of that trait in you. You have a knack for leaving people in a better shape than they arrived and that is a blind spot to you. You get surprised every time I say it to you.
I listened to my boyfriend and reflected upon what he said. In these cases I do surprise myself. Every time. It’s not false modesty. I don’t think I am capable of touching people deeply through my storytelling or talking. I listen to people and I talk to people and I tell stories to people and now I write. Maybe it seems like a small thing, since surprise is about the unexpectedness, strangeness and unusualness. But it is a biggie to me. I realise that now.
So I sat there in front of my boyfriend and was exactly that – surprised – totally, unexpectedly, strangely and unusually surprised. Just as he said I always am.
It seems obvious to say that I will continue to surprise myself, this week and the next and so on. As long as I interact with people and do what I do, I will be gratefully surprised when I get to hear that I have shared something that touched hearts.
And while I have you here…thank you all for posting your comments and bringing awareness to myself. Quelle surprise!
”A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is – full of surprises.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer