It has been almost 4 years since I decided to reduce my online presence and learn about myself more rather than sharing my opinions with the world.
The whole purpose of walking away from the online world was to give finding religion a more honest try. I did not 'find religion' but rather learnt something disturbing-
I am one not as open minded as I once thought I was.
Upon finding this my first reaction was to come back here and delete all of my old posts but hey, I shall leave them as is because they are a part of who I am and what I have become.
We all have preconceived images of people based on what they wear and how they carry themselves but it is not often we look at ourselves and think about how people see us. I have always had negative impressions of young people who wear hoodies and walk around with the hoods up in the middle of summer- Often thinking that they were either insecure or was up to something mischievous.
I do now try and be more open minded about these preconceived notions and discard my judgemental attitude but it is slow coming. Old habits die hard I suppose. I have however learnt that my own dressing and personal grooming habits alter how I myself am perceived.
I find it intriguing how my hair alone makes a large difference to my interaction with people. Being male, having long hair and living in a majority older people town already makes me stand out. But whether I wear it down or tie it back is the difference between everyone saying hello on the street and being referred to as 'dude' or everyone keeping a respectable distance, avoiding eye contact and calling me 'sir'.
The attitude one goes into the world with makes a massive difference too. Having earphones in and walking around with a "Do not disturb" mentality makes people avoid you. Whether we like it or not we all give off subtle clues as to how we are feeling and though these may be interpreted wrong, other people notice them and react accordingly. We cannot then blame society for making us feel excluded. Meeting new people makes me happy. As a result of this I try and meet people all the time- regardless of who they are- and these contacts become useful in making life easier. It's not what you know, its who you know- Don't assume this means that one must meet rich and powerful people or meet people to get something out of them, it merely makes life more pleasant for us all.
Last winter is a good example of this. Whilst stuck 5 miles out of town in the countryside in the snow I covered over my motorcycle and prepared for a cold and uncomfortable walk into town dreading every meter up a steep slippery hill to get there. Out of the night walks a clearly homeless man. My instincts made me look around for escape routes and move my helmet into my right hand in preparation to defend myself. The stranger then pulled back his hood and said good evening and referred to me by my first name. I relaxed a little and tried to remember where I had met this man. He took my helmet from me as well as my bike jacket allowing me to move easier and we walked together back to town down a path I never knew existed. The walk I had been dreading turned out to be a pleasant evening stroll. When we got into town whilst walking past the train station I suddenly remembered where I had met this person- some 5 years before I had sat down on the platform waiting for the train and shared a lunch with him. He didn't move mountains for me that day but he made the experience of being under prepared for the snow that much easier. I still don't know his name or very much about him but whilst walking through certain parts of town I find myself looking out for him if only to say hello and have a quick chat. He is yet another person that makes journeying through life that one bit more pleasant.
Lets all be a bit more open minded about people in general- life is what you make of it.