Yep, I have a magic hat. I acquired it this summer from my aunt’s garage sale pile but didn’t discover its magical properties until the day of the Mud Run. Each year, the Mud Run and the Greek Festival occur on the same weekend. As does a birthday party that my Mud Run buddy and his wife attend. This leaves me to entertain myself at the Greek Festival. Considering that I go to the festival after the Mud Run and before I trek back to my rural abode, it seems wisest to wear a hat to disguise my not entirely de-mudded hair. This year, it was the magic hat.
This hat changed my whole afternoon.
Since I’m primarily interested in the food and the music, and I can’t eat everything I want to in one sitting, I brought a book. Normally, this means people will not disturb you beyond asking things like “is this seat taken” and “where did you get the gyro.” This year, random strangers talked to me. People sitting nearby, people walking between the tables, people standing in line. It must have been the hat, because nothing else was different this year. I’m not any better at appearing open and friendly, or at small talk, or at introducing myself. It was definitely the magic hat. This is still real life, though—I didn’t find my new best friend or the love of my life or anything like that, but people were nicer to me than usual. Maybe there’s a little bit of my aunt’s aura around the hat—she’s wonderfully friendly and funny and sweet, so perhaps folks picked up on that.
Fast forward to today. There is a hiker’s social this evening that I signed up for through a meetup group. I was really hoping that one or two friends would go with me, so I didn’t have to walk into the restaurant alone. Nope. I seriously considered cancelling. I get very tired of going places by myself and I don’t often feel confident of my appeal. But I’m tired of feeling like a friendless/dateless/third wheel. I have at least one thing in common with everyone who will be there tonight. And I have a magic hat.
I will NOT give in to fear. I will NOT give in to depression. I will put on my hat and I will show up. (But wish me luck, okay? Fear and depression don’t go away just because you refuse to talk to them.)