I don't get recognized in public too much. That's not a complaint mind you, I actually enjoy not having a high level of fame, being able to walk around and have a couple of people know what I do, but to not command too much attention. It's nice to be acknowledged though and so, when I was recognized by someone I have never met last night, it was a good feeling. In the midst of LinkedIn Local Charleston, a young woman stopped and told me, "you're the 100 Connections guy." It was nice to be acknowledged for the work I do, to find someone who appreciated it, enjoyed it. Towards the end of the evening she asked me if I had any available days. For someone who truly enjoys this, how could I say no?
Clarissa Carr has wanted to meet me for a little while now. She lives in Atlanta, but finds herself in Charleston fairly regularly, and so thought we would be able to connect when she was up here. Truth be told it was supposed to happen during Hurricane Florence, but she stayed home and I travelled to Spartanburg. She has read every one of the posts, following the story with excitement and intrigue. All of that is great, but it's not why I like Clarissa.
She has one of those smiles that can best be described as beautiful, fixed beneath intelligent eyes that have a spark of quickness, warning you of the wit possessed inside. When you talk about strong young women, try to draw that picture in your mind, the odds are you will find an image of Clarissa in your mind's eye. We have tred some similar territory in our respective prologues, coming from similar places and striving for similar things, though on out own separate roads. I don't believe in coincidence or accident, I know that our meeting was timed perfectly and was always going to happen.
Clarissa and I talk about hyperbole and the bubbles we all live in. We lament the state of a world where we cannot politely disagree, but instead seek to be completely right and to destroy our opponent in the argument. She points out to me how easy it is to find the differences we have with people, how much that desire for righteousness drives us daily. Clarissa is right, we so often find our way to the faults of others, justifying our own positions and often failing to even look at the other perspective. As we talk we begin to wonder if this is why there are no more "great thinkers" like there used to be, the philosophers of our world, that maybe they have been chased underground by the trolls, or worse smothered in our bubbles.
We talk about finding purpose, about my journey and how I learned to live life as my authentic self by walking away from everything. Clarissa enjoys the story, it's something that drew her to the project in the first place. We tell stories about the things we are unhappy with, the things we wish we could change and the places we would go if we weren't afraid of failure. We talk about her, about her fears and her stories. She shares with me her strengths, this resilience she has that keeps her moving forward. We laugh about politics and open ourselves up to one another. She tells me about her boyfriend, about Atlanta and about her search for something else, something more.
Then it happens. Clarissa tells me she wants to do something just like this.
The purpose of our meeting, and it's shifting timing, is revealed in a matter of seconds. I have had a lot of people talk to me about the theoretical idea of what I am doing, but no one got it. None of those folks understood that this project has always been more about me changing me, becoming my authentic self and living my best life. It is about me being the change I want to see in the world, and Clarissa sees it. She understands it and she wants to do it.
And just like that we start changing the world.
I won't spoil all of the surprises, so let's just say you will hear a lot more from Clarissa soon. You should. In my previous description I left out one detail about those eyes of hers, they are searching, looking for something better, for some moment of truth. I believe there are five things you can see in a pair of eyes that are the most beautiful sights in humanity, those seeking eyes are one of them. I like Clarissa, she is a dear friend formed through some words, a few new people and a cup of coffee. She is someone who will change the world, with the help of 100 people.
I cannot wait to see it.
I cannot wait for you to see it too.
Most of all, I cannot wait for her to see it.
Favorite Dinosaur: Triceratops
Why: Cera, the strong female character, in The Land Before Time. (I love that movie)