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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Wowk


Strangers. A piece inspired by the journey itself.

Strangers are everywhere in a new city. The unknown faces and unknown stories of the passersby. Strangers here in Edinburgh come in all shapes and sizes. Children laughing and playing games. Couples, young and old, walking hand in hand. There's a lot of love in the city of Edinburgh, I've observed. And what more do I love, than being in the presence of love? In the brief moments we share -- the smiles exchanged or the helpful guidance to my next destination -- these strangers have shaped my day. Their smiles have warmed me, and their directions make my oft-aimless wandering a bit more calculated.

Life has also shown me a different kind of stranger. These strangers are not necessarily the unknown, but the no longer known. The strangers that once had a place in your life, but for whatever reason, faded away. There's a distant familiarity in these faces, but a twinge of emptiness in the memory. The strangers you manage to forget are my favorite; the ones you bump into at random and illicit a nostalgic smile. Your brain recognizes it as indifference. Your heart, despite your brain, softens with the moment. To be forgotten means they've left the least impact and done minimal damage. Your heart knows that not all strangers have been so kind...

To be fair, in a world filled with strangers, your greatest battle will not be recovering from strangers encountered, but with not becoming one to yourself. Your thoughts, beliefs, and actions are an embodiment of you -- ensure they are congruent with who you want to be. How many times have you heard the voice inside say, "if I do this, what will other people think"? Worse, how many times has it stopped you? I've been there. Break that habit immediately. Be unapologetically you. Don't doubt yourself, or believe that what "they" think carries more weight than your own conviction. Take the lead. Be different. You will be surprised how many may follow, even if from a distance. Be humbled by the impact you have on others, but don't let strangers' voices drown out your own.

All strangers come - and go - for a reason. Pause just long enough to understand the lesson a stranger taught -- and then move on. You only have so much room in your heart; choose your souvenir memories wisely. Don't let the unkind, cowardly strangers of the past hold you back from the magic of meeting incredible new ones. Keep your head up to see them coming. And your heart open to feel the difference.

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