I had this thought when I was younger,
That I had to know who I was and who I wanted to be,
By a certain time in my life.
That, when a stranger asked me to tell them about myself
I should have a designated answer in the form of linguistic description.
Full disclosure of self.
I'd listed in my mind hobbies, character traits, intellectual preferences.
All things that, when put together,
Would produce a vision of who I was as a person.
I was a complete profile from top to bottom.
Inside and through.
Adding to and refining back qualities of what made me as I went along.
Fine tuning the presentation of me to society.
I thought I had it down.
Picked through with a fine tooth comb.
No boring aspect refurbished, no overbearing flaw unchecked.
Then one day
I was in a place that housed people milling around,
Same as any other day.
And as I sat next to a fountain feeding some birds,
Like I was prone to do on the pleasant weathered days.
A little boy came up an sat down next to me.
I didn't think anything of it and just smiled at him.
He lingered beside me for a few minutes.
And I noticed he seemed to be staring at me
With a quizzical look on his sun bright face.
I continued to dole out pieces of my left over lunch
And he giggled just a slight.
Now I was curious to know why this little guy
With anything at all to do other than sit next to me,
I finally turned toward him intent on asking what was so funny,
When he stated before I could utter a word
"You're the nicest lady I ever saw"
I was initially a little gobsmacked as to the bold declaration.
It made me snort a bit.
Shaking my head, I pondered to him
"What would make you say that?"
He innocently replied with a grin that...
"You feed the birdies and they don't even say thank you. That makes one a really nice lady! "
Well color me stupefied there.
This little boy, in his little statement, awed me.
He didn't know me or who I was or where I've come from
And in just that one action he witnessed of me
Feeding those little flying creatures,
He determined me a nice person.
And it swelled me more intensely than any praise over an achievement,
Any congratulations of a job well done,
Any compliment of artistic ability.
And as he got up to run off to wherever he came from,
I sat there contemplating...
Of all the things I thought of myself up until this point,
Just being myself with no preconceived notion or projection,
I felt more transparent in that little boys observance,
Than anything else in my whole life.
That led me to wonder why in the world I had bothered
To ever worry about and plan around who I wanted people to see me as.
I began thinking all of my preparing and analyzing,
All of the forethought I put into me as a person.
Kind of went out the window.
Because if a complete stranger could see through me so easily,
With just a mindless action like that,
Then what did people really see beyond my presentation,
Not that who I projected myself to be was false, just honed
To show the best parts of me always.
But then, what are the best parts of me which other people rarely see?
Maybe the things about myself I thought of as "works in progress"
Were already fully bloomed and beautiful already.
Maybe I was just so conditioned to think they weren't?
So as I laid on my couch later that night
And aimlessly thought of the events of the day,
I made a plan to have no more plans.
To keep my list of everything about me I had written over the years,
But put it somewhere only to serve as a reminder to me.
I'd try, from here on out, to just be me
The only regret I had of that encounter though,
Was that I didn't get to tell that little mind changer