Thanks for stopping by to check out week 32 of the 365 More People Pictures Project. If you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is @missellanea.
I'm currently a week behind in the blog post, but I'll catch us up soon! I post the daily pictures on Instagram.
Day 217 - Richard
This is Richard.
"Everything! I'm pretty happy with everything. I'm content," Richard answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
Richard's recent act of kindness is that he presented a report in his Sociology Class on preparing a budget for a single parent with M.S., who is raising three children. Richard's experience working with the family taught him to live in gratitude and thankfulness.
"You are condemned by the way you condemn others," Richard answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement.
One thing about himself which Richard considers to be a success is that he's extroverted. Because of this trait, he feels he's met lots of friends and people in the community. Richard feels he's had opportunities he wouldn't have otherwise had, were he not an extrovert.
Thank you, Richard.
Day 218 - Jack
This is Jack. We met at Starbucks. I didn't realize at the time, but Jack was studying and he still allowed me to sit down with him and interrupt his studies to take a picture and ask him a few questions.
The happiest thing happening in Jack's life right now is that he's a new Uncle!
Jack's recent act of kindness is that he bought someone a meal.
"To help people heal and live better in their day-to-day lives," Jack answered, when I asked his life's purpose. Jack is currently in medical school.
"Being in school is a success," Jack answered, when I asked him something about himself which he would consider to be a success. Jack also sees patients as a student so maintaining his studies, attending class and seeing patients keeps him busy and he feels it's a success even having made it this far.
Wishing you lots of luck, Jack!
Day 219 - Luke
This is Luke. We met at the bus stop.
"My wife," Luke answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
Luke was having trouble thinking of an answer when I asked if he's recently performed an act of kindness. I reminded him that he took the time to allow me, a complete stranger, to take his picture and ask him a few questions.
When I asked Luke his life's purpose, he answered, "to entertain people." Luke is a musician - he plays bass and is a singer. He just moved here from Australia a few months ago, when he married his wife. Their story is so cute! Luke met his wife, a girl from Oklahoma, at a show. Luke said that she hated his band, but her dislike of his music wasn't enough to repel her from Luke. The two started dating and maintained a really, really, long distance relationship. After visiting her in the U.S. a couple times, they decided to get married. They both uprooted and re-planted themselves in Portland. Luke is just settling in and isn't yet with a new band, but I hope we'll see more of him soon!
"My music," Luke answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.
Thank you, Luke! Wishing you and your wife lots of love and happiness here!
Day 220 - Dan
This is Dan. We met on the street, near PSU.
"I think I'm starting to figure it out...life, myself, happiness and contentment," Dan answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
When I asked Dan if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he answered, "Every day!" Dan thinks it's the little things we do for one another which can have a huge influence on one another. Simple little things such as smiling at a person, or being friendly to strangers. Dan feels it takes courage for people to put themselves out there and open up to another person and he's receptive to it when others talk to him. I found this to be so true! When I approached Dan to ask if I could take his picture, I didn't even have to explain the project before Dan agreed. He instantly made me feel comfortable and happy I had stopped him. He's just one of those super friendly and outgoing types. It was like I had the courage enough to approach him, so he responded with the courage to be warm, inviting and friendly!
Dan and I spent quite a while visiting. At one point, Dan made a comment about how amazing it is for two people, complete strangers, to end up in the same place at the same moment, and share in a great conversation and exchange energy with one another. I had known that night I was going to meet someone extra special because I had gotten lost. I had just worked a 12 hour day and still hadn't found a person yet. My last opportunity to find a person would be if I stopped downtown before heading home for the night. I lived downtown for a few years and know my way around, but things have changed so much, I ended up taking several wrong turns before getting to my secret little parking spot which is always open. I was starting to get frustrated but then I reminded myself that I always meet someone particularly great when I end up having to go through several challenges to meet them. Dan was that person. Although I will most likely never see him again, for a few minutes that evening, he lifted my spirits and I had hoped I was able to do the same for him.
"To allow myself to be the guide for others, whenever or wherever that situation may occur," Dan answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose. Dan actually constructed his mission statement on the spot, explaining that he's always had a sense that he was meant to be a guide. As he explained this feeling to me, he was then able to articulate his personal mission statement.
When I asked Dan something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "that I haven't given up on myself."
Thank you, Dan.
Day 221 - John
This is John. We met on the street.
"Life is pretty good," John answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
When I asked John if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose, John said that he didn't really believe in a life's purpose. John explained, "if there is a point, then do it to it's fullest. Live every moment like it's a work of art that you could do time and time again." John's point was that we should find our passions, and we know it's a passion when we can do it over and over again. We talked about photography as the example, and that now that I've discovered photography, it's something I could do, and want to do, every single day for the rest of my life.
Although John technically doesn't believe in a life's purpose, I like his thoughts on the pursuit of identifying that which makes us happy and ignites us from within, and then for us to continue to fuel that fire daily.
When I asked John something about himself which he would consider to be a success, John explained that some people live with so many regrets, but John feels like everything that has happened in his life and everything he's done, has created the person he is. "I Like who I've become. I'm happy. That happiness is a success."
Thank you, John.
And then this happened:
I was tempted to give this its very own post, just so I could talk about it and my feelings and hopefully write it out of my system. I've decided that I'll just tell you the Cliff's Notes version here. A person attempted to car-jack me this day, Thursday, as I was on my way home.
It was still early after I met John, so I decided to stop off at a thrift store near my house and see if there were any treasures to be found. I left the store and was on my way home. As I was driving down the street, I noticed an SUV stopped in the middle of the street and in such a way that it telegraphed to me that someone or something was about to dart out into the middle of the road. We weren't at a crosswalk but I was thinking someone was going to run right out into traffic to get to the other side. Seems like someone makes this bold/stupid move at least once a week, so I try to be hyper-aware.
I stopped where the SUV had stopped, expecting someone to rush out in front of me to cross the street, and then we would all be on our way. A person didn't run out in front of me as I had anticipated, but instead, someone came walking from around the SUV and toward the front of my car. Obviously drunk or high, I waited for them to make their way to the center median so I could then continue on about my way. The person didn't go to the center median. Instead, he came walking around the front of my car, saying something I couldn't make out, and then he walked right over to my driver side door. The man reached for his pants like he was going to pull out a gun, opened my door, and told me, "get the fuck out!" It was somehow moving in slow motion, yet all happening so fast!
Until that point, I had been feeling generally happy and in a great mood. I think the fact that I headed into that situation feeling great, helped me to be calm. Had this happened the minute I got out of work and while I was still totally amped up, stressed out and tense, the outcome could have been different.
I started to surrender my car to the man, thinking that's what I was supposed to do. My mind was flashing to a collage of television news stories where reporters speaking of convenience store clerks who have been robbed, always add a little commentary saying that when in the position of being robbed, you're supposed to give the robber what they want and not fight. So, I was doing what I thought I was supposed to do and began to surrender my car.
As I started to get out of my car, I had two competing thoughts at the same time. I feared that if I looked at the guy wrong, or if I didn't move in a way in which was satisfactory to him, he was going to shoot me anyway. I had started to accept the fact that I was going to get shot and even calculated all of the spots on my body where I could get shot and still have a chance to live. It was the only time in my life when I was actually glad to be carrying around more weight than I should. I can remember making a mental assessment of all the fleshy spots on my body and thinking, I have lots of good places to get shot.
At the same time that I was ready to relinquish my car and brace myself to be shot, I had this gnawing thought that my purse/camera bag was in the trunk and no matter how nicely I asked, there was no way the car-jacker would allow me enough time to get in my trunk and get my camera before he drove off with my car. The thought of him driving off with my brand new camera, pissed me off just enough to fight back. HE WAS NOT GOING TO GET MY BRAND NEW CAMERA! NO WAY! I then realized that I didn't just have to take this. I still had options.
I slammed my car door as much as I could. He was all up in my business, so I couldn't slam it shut completely, but I slammed it hard enough to startle him. He was still holding onto my door and ran after me a few steps as I floored it to get the heck out of there!
I drove a little ways and then stopped to see if he was still there. I wondered if he was hurt or ran over as I drove away. When I stopped, I realized I was still way too close to him and he could come running after me and kill me. I drove a little further away, and although there's no way he could have run that fast to get me, I was still terrified that I was too close and he would come kill me. I drove down the road even further, and pulled into the coffee shop where I knew I would be safe. They helped me to calm down enough to call the police.
Everything else happened perfectly. The police captured and arrested the man and I had to drive down the road with the Police to identify the person.
I didn't know it at the time, but between what the 911 operator and police told me, and then a little blurb in the news paper the next day, I was able to figure out that people had already called 911 before I was able to stop to call police. The car-jacker had already robbed two other businesses and attempted to carjack another car before coming to my car. He must have been in the process of attempting to car-jack the SUV when I happened to pull up along side them. Although I hadn't seen a gun, the police told me that other witnesses said the man had a gun, and they were going to search the area to see if they could recover the weapon. I never did find out if he actually had one. To my brain, it didn't matter. I had to act and react as though he had a weapon and that's the fear my mind and body were responding to.
I was pretty "calm" during the incident. Perhaps I was too calm. It took the thought of losing my brand new camera to give me just the kick I needed to have the courage to fight. After it was over and I was home safe, I pretty much lost it.
My body and mind went through hell in the hours and days following. I was afraid that I was going to be too afraid to continue the project. I decided that if I felt scared, I would just ask my friends and co-workers to be subjects for the next few days, or as long as I took me to work through the fear.
Day 222 - Michael
This is Michael. We met at the store. When I saw Michael, I could tell immediately that he was a sweet person and that everything was going to be fine. I didn't want to let what happened the night before, prevent me from continuing this project. I love getting to meet people, and hope that together, we've been able to spread a little love and positivity.
"I really like my job," Michael answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
When I asked Michael if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he smiled and told me that he had just done so, when he let me take his picture. Yes!
"To be a good person and hopefully leave a positive impact on the world," Michael answered, when I asked his life's purpose.
When I asked Michael something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "all of my friends."
When we were finished, I told Michael how much it meant to me that he had let me take his picture. I told him briefly about the night before, and that he was the first person I approached since the incident, and it gave me back the confidence to continue with the project.
Thank you, Michael!
Day 223 - Josh
This is Josh. We met at the park.
"Life is going well," Josh answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
Josh's recent act of kindness is that he bought a plane ticket for someone so they could go visit friends they hadn't seen in a long time.
"To live," Josh answered, when I asked his life's purpose.
When I asked Josh something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he explained that he considers it to be a success that he's never done heroine, even though it was all around him. So glad for Josh that he never fell into addiction.
Thank you, Josh.
Here's the summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week:
- You are condemned by the way you condemn others.
- To help people heal and live better in their day-to-day lives.
- To allow myself to be the guide for others, whenever or wherever that situation may occur.
- If there is a point, then do it to it's fullest. Live every moment like it's a work of art that you could do time and time again.
- To be a good person and hopefully leave a positive impact on the world.
- To live.
Thank you for following along!