I believe trust has stages in a person’s life. First day of school for any person above the age of 13 consists of feelings of anxiety, excitement and indecisiveness. I look around my first college class at eight o’clock in a Monday morning. The classroom is quiet yet, there is at least 40 people attending it. Maybe it is because most of us are dreading being here so early in the day, or maybe it is because of the nervous mood that a room full of different faces gives off as people sit on a cold chair, not sure to say hello, where to sit, or where to look while the teacher is not present. All faces, because they are foreign to me, do not look warm and inviting. I too am not quiet sure what to do with myself in this new environment. I feel this way because I do not trust anyone yet. I do not trust they will like me. I do not trust what they think of me. I do not trust what they will remember me as.
I wish I was in first grade again. In those days it felt like the world was mine. I had no worries, no anxiety, no indecisiveness; the excitement of the first day was the only feeling I had in me. In those days all a kid had to do was sit next to another kid and magically a conversation would begin about a cartoon character or a new object they had receive from a parent and five minutes after that they were best friends, sharing food and secrets. Then, somewhere between the juice boxes and “coodies” I lost the kid in me. I have grown up and I can no longer start a conversation about a new toy with a stranger. Life has become complicated. I am not sure if I can trust my “desk buddy” enough to lend them my favorite pen, or share a secret or even just allow them to see my mistakes. The trust that once was easily established with a stranger is now the hardest thing, a maybe the last thing that is established after I meet someone.
I am afraid. Afraid because of the things I do not know, because of the things I do know, and because of the things I do not trust. Then my childhood comes back to me. A person walks in and smiles at me. I smile back and that person sits next to me. Suddenly, we are exchanging names and home towns. Not life stories, not yet anyways. But this small conversation opens a world of possibilities, a chance of learning to trust people again.
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