WHERE ARE YOUR LADY BALLS?
I do a lot of strange things. One of them is talking to strangers, despite what my mom advises me.
In Canada, I developed the habit of talking to one stranger on the bus or subway everyday. I tried to keep it simple and innocent. For example, compliment a women’s outfit or comment on the newspaper article someone is reading. Originally, it was a way to make my 90-minute commutes to university interesting and less lonely.
Then I brought this habit with me to China as a way to practice my Mandarin. When I moved to the small city of Salamanca, in Spain, I did the same. In fact, many of the locals in Salamanca initiated a conversation with me before it even crossed my mind.
However, ever since I moved to Madrid, subway-stranger-talking has not been well received so I have toned it down.
Madrid’s subways are decorated with musicians of all statures. Although I have grown tired of the Enrique Inglesias brothers (they carry a karaoke machine around, singing and dancing to Duele El Corazon), others never seize to impress me. On a Tuesday night, from Arturo Soria to Velazquez, an elderly man with a soft eyes and an accordion did exactly that. He didn’t have original songs, an angelic voice, sleek dance moves nor was he incredibly skilled with his instrument. Instead, he played to about 6 people and made a point to look at each of them in the eye. He kept the eye contact. And smiled.
At first, it was creepy.
If someone tried to avoid eye contact, looked down, or at his or her phone, he slowly bent his knees and tilted his head and smiled to grab the commuter’s attention.
How bold! Who has the guts to do that? Most of us are too shy to even make eye contact with strangers and smile without an accordion!
At that moment, I asked myself – have I been doing anything brave lately? Or even better, on a regular basis?
I made a pact to myself to be brave, daring and fearless more often but in small ways. There is something so intrinsically attractive about confident and daring actions – especially the small ones.
Ever since, I have been taking advantage of any opportunity to be gutsy in my day-to-day life. I try to talk to more strangers on the metro (in a foreign language, this can be ten times more intimidating!), last month I cut off almost all my hair, and I try to be more frank and confrontational. I laugh at myself whenever I do something embarrassing and I try to pick up the phone more often instead of hiding behind technology (I should also mention my data plan is very low). I admit when I am wrong and I say sorry when it’s well deserved. The list can go on!
I’m afraid I am making it sounds easier than what it actually is. It absolutely isn’t. It usually goes like this.
- Freaking terrified.
- Somehow I stop thinking about the task and giving it so much importance. Then I just do it, as Nike says.
- Repeat but the next time, I’m just a 0.1 grams less scared.
Now, is an avocado in chocolate mousse daring? Perhaps a little. Let me explain. I have realized that eating “alternatively” is not always well received from our peers. I never thought I would say this, but Madrid’s metro has taught me that bravery does not stop at moving to a foreign country or bungee jumping. Whether you have eliminated sugar from your diet or have gone vegan, these small things require balls in order to be confident about and committed to your decision despite other’s negative remarks and harsh judgements.
Like how I tied a silly story and philosophy into food? Me too! Everything can be related to food.
So here is a recipe to being brave!
CHOCOLATE AVOCADO MOUSSE
Total Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 2 cups
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 avocados ripe
- 2 tablespoons soymilk
- 6 tablespoons honey/agave/maple syrup
Remove the avocado skin and seed, and then use a food processor to mash the avocados. One by one, add the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate before serving.