Yesterday was the first day back in class. Well technically school started last week but the prof. was away on a conference and so we did the class online. So, walking into the now all too familiar classroom, I surprised myself by the variety of emotions I felt. There were some people I saw and my face broke out into a wide grin. Some whom I passed on my way saying a quick Happy New Year before moving on. Reaching the classroom which was fairly empty, I began the process of looking for a seat that would be mine for the next three months. I eyed my old seat longingly. It was convenient. I could slip back into my comfort zone and chat away with the same people I had chatted with last term or I could switch seats to a section of class where I usually feel intimidated and face my self-inflicted fears. Drawing a deep breath, I decided on facing my fears.
The next three hours flew past. The prof was fantastic. Fully of energy and a raw earthiness that endeared her to me. She began the class introducing herself and then asked us to go around the class saying something about ourselves that the rest of the class would not know. Now, in the past year and half we have done many such introductions and each time it happens, I love hearing what people care to share.
Even as I pay attention to what others are saying, there is a part of me willing me to come up with something that would stand out. I could say I am vegetarian or I could say I fear snakes or I could say… The thoughts come in waves and I am scrambling for the perfect thing to say. My turn comes and passes before I make up my mind. I stumble and say I speak three languages. The prof. being kind enough asks which three and moves on.
Of the ones that stood out, there was one person who said they had 60 plus first cousins. Now, that is the kind of thing I was looking for I thought. Or the one that said he loved peanut butter and green olives as a combo. I know I will remember him for the rest of my life because of what he said. There were some that were quaint, some quirky, some funny but almost all of them revealing a side to the person I did not know existed.
On my way home, I kept going back to the moment when my mind was flipping past my entire life searching for something that would elicit a “wow” response. Why do I still look to impress people around me? Am not sure if impress is the right word. In any case, I am not sure if I will ever know by but I do know I need to figure out one smart witty response in case I have to do this again.