Remember how I’m a magnet for weirdos? Well, about 10 minutes after I published my previous post, I met Severo and Moones. Just a quick summary of my last post: I expressed the struggle of finding balance between being adaptable and retaining my identity.
I noticed Moones first because she is a 70 pound boxer. Then Severo, the 36-year-old guy with the dreads.
Severo is essentially a homeless artist whose soul you could feel by the positive energy he was emitting. He really listened, he really looked into my eyes, and he didn’t just say words–he really spoke.
In less than 10 minutes, I learned more about him than I wanted (he’s been celibate for a year); half the stuff he said did not make any sense to me (artsy stuff); and I couldn’t keep up with all the tangents he was going on (shelters, music, the government, souls…). But after I left the 2-hour-long conversation with him, I was the happiest I had been in a long time.
My description and paraphrasing does not do him or the power his words had on me justice. We talked about everything–dogs, art, traveling, our hometowns, and life. Most of it revolved around being present and being happy. In between topics, he would slip in comments like, “Nicole, you have such pure expressions!” I have no idea what that means exactly, but it was the most genuine and confident-boosting compliment I have ever received. We talked and talked until I felt so comfortable with him, I blurted out, “So I just wrote this blog post…” I told him all about my living out of a suitcase for a month and my mini identity crisis. When I got to the word “adaptable” he interrupted me (the only time he interrupted me) and said, “Connecting.” I probably had the dumbest look on my face because he continued to say, “Don’t put yourself down by saying ‘adapting.’ You connect.” I was shocked by this completely alien point of view. I liked it. I continued, replacing “adapt” with “connect” and finished describing my struggle. He then told me that I’m trying to appease. He said that I do that because I don’t want to offend or make people uncomfortable. He said that I should just be me and scare the shit out of people because that’s how shit gets done! That’s what gets people thinking and growing.
“But,” he said, ” I understand ‘appeasing.’ We all do it. But if you’re going to do it, make it your art. You could be like a samurai, and have different masks in front of different people but have this hidden sword that people don’t know about.” OKAY. So that part didn’t make complete sense to me, but I dig the “making appeasing an art” thing. I guess our conversation never really answered my question. He presented a case for both the “adaptable” and the “unapologetic” me. But the way we talked about it, the way he looked at each side so positively, made me feel so good about myself.
At one point of the conversation, he asked me, “What intensifies your life?” That stopped me dead in my tracks because what the hell intensifies my life? I thought about it as he rambled on about his art and his initiative. I guess what intensifies my life, Severo, are the unexpected encounters I have with people I meet. Especially honest people like Severo, whose fire burns so fervently, that the whole journey ahead of me has become a little brighter because of him.