An open mind is a happy mind

One thing a lot of people don’t know about me…I used to be afraid to talk to people.

I think I was intimidated because I had low self-esteem and I always felt like I was bothering people. Once I decided that if I wanted to be a journalist, I would have to talk to people, I got over that real quick.

The more I talked to people, the more I found that I really like people. I mean I

Teresa Drtina

genuinely like them. I may choose not to be their close friend, but everyone I meet has a story and I enjoy talking to them.

And I have to have an open mind. I have found that it’s really easy to bypass a good opportunity for a story if I close my mind to anything the world has to offer.

I have come to trust my instinct, too, because it also hold many great opportunities for me to experience those things I normally wouldn’t.

Am I using my need for a story as an excuse? Maybe, but I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. After all, if I hadn’t forced myself to get out and talk to people, if I hadn’t walked

Sonya Darrow is wearing a burlap skirt she made and hand-embroidered.(Photo by Cynthia Petersen)

through my fears, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Sometimes we have to make ourselves do things we don’t really want to do in order to succeed. I also think that
sometimes we have to reach far into our cores and pull that courage out.

I met some very interesting people today, because I kept my mind open. I attended a vendors show at the Hiawatha Community Center. I really didn’t have the time because I had many other things to do Saturday, but it was a community event and I am devoted to reporting the community’s news. When I walked in, I was mesmerized by a display close to the door. The bright assortment of doll clothes immediately caught my attention. Maybe the little girl in me was coming out, but the display was so pretty that I just had to stop and talk to the lady sitting at the booth.

What I found out about Teresa Drtina is that she is a first grade teacher at Johnson school, a school I attended as a child. As we talked, I learned much more about her and ended up talking for 30 minutes. I also toured the rest of the show and was really glad I decided to stop.

A few hours later, I attended the Eco-Fest in the New Bo district in Cedar Rapids, and ended up talking to a young lady who designs and makes clothes out of recycled materials. I was drawn to her by her passion for what she does, as I was to the teacher as well.

Now I am able to strike up conversations with most anyone I encounter. As I mentioned, it wasn’t always that way. Something happened through the course of my life that made me afraid to take chances. I’m so glad I was able to find that again.

And I’m finding that it’s not something I feel like I have to do anymore, it’s something I love to do. All I had to do was open my mind.

After all, a mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially if it’s closed off from the rest of the world.