Sometimes we live our lives as if we only live it for ourselves, like our decisions and choices don’t affect others. But have you ever thought that for somebody out there you could be the person before him in the line in some fast food that maybe caused him to be impatient because you kept on changing your orders? Or you were the one he accidentally bumped into that day when he was rushing to work or school, hard enough that he actually suffered a painful arm throughout the day? Well I don’t know about you but for me this proves that we’re all somebody else’s story.
Often, if not every day, we meet new people and we may not really know them but the fact remains that they have seen a part of our lives. I mean, it may have been a split of a second when you passed by them or it may have been a whole semester of being classmates but one thing matters, they may have a story to tell about you.
I’ve always asked myself how do strangers see me but I guess I would never know the answer coz no matter how much I try to unknow myself, it’s never gonna happen. I mean, even if I try to put myself in somebody else’s shoes and try to see me as a stranger, I’ll never figure it out coz our perception is limited to our past experiences and, as far as I know, there was never a point in my life that I was a stranger to myself – well this does not pertain to identity crisis. But, well, my point is, I believe strangers see the “raw” you. Coz no matter how much we try, our tendency is towards expectations so when we’re around people we know or who knows us, we act according to what they expect from us (not being pretentious though). And so, I believe only strangers have the privilege of seeing you in your natural habitat. Hence, their stories matter, too.
I actually had a funny experience about this. Once upon a time, I fell into a drainage canal. It’s not as disgusting as you think it is, it was dry (fortunately), but it was really embarrassing coz a lot of people saw the incident. The very next day I heard someone talk about what happened to another person as they were passing by the drainage where I fell. And so, that’s it, I’m the girl who fell into the drainage canal for that person.
Bottomline is, our life story is not just from our point of view. It’s a collection of everybody else’s stories. I guess that’s why we have eulogies because the best stories about us are told by the people around us. Maybe you smiled at a stranger today or you gave someone your lunch. It may seem such a small thing for us. You could have written that in your journal or told someone about it just like that but, you don’t know, that person might have said, “I would’ve had a bad day if it weren’t for that person who smiled at me today” or “I haven’t eaten a decent meal today but that person saved my life.” The truth is, we may never know but it could mean the world to them.