Stranger 14, Day 14 – Meet Sandrika, the “Happily Animated”

Stranger 14, Day 14 - Meet Sandrika

There are a number of “regulars” at the gym in the morning when I go — no surprise. But it’s especially interesting to see how the regulars all know each other, but rarely interact. Most often, we (yes, I’m one of those) are so focused on our workouts that it’s likely we look like people who do not ever want to talk to a human-being. Heck, I have my earbuds in all the time (even if they’re out of batteries) + watch set to a timer for recovery periods, and sometimes, I wear a hat. All of this is used as shields to tell people, “hey, sorry, I got sh** to do. No time to chat.”

One of the regulars I’ve admired is a women always with her headphones on, hitting her reps, and just… focused. Like I said before, many regulars are there to hit it and quit it. So, I’ve never met this woman until today as I noticed her leaving the gym.

Meet Sandrika, 43

Who are you?

I have to add real quick that when I asked Sandrika to be my Stranger for the day, she had this look of defensiveness. I could in her eyes what she was thinking, “who the heck is this? Why is he talking to me? What a weirdo.” Oh, and a healthy dose of skepticism. However, she was open for a connection, and I’m so glad we did this. When I asked her this question, she started smiling brightly, and well, that smile never faded. Instead, she was full of life and awesome facial expressions. Anyways…

“I think I’m a motivator… I’m an introvert and an extrovert… if I feel you’re a cool, bubbly person, I’ll warm up to you real cool. But if you feel like you’re someone that’s sneaky, I can tell it, and I’ll stand back and watch before I make a move.”

I asked her how she felt when I first walked up to her. “I was like ‘huh?’ I wasn’t sure what was going on, but no bad feelings like that.” We laugh…

Also, to her point about being both introverted and extroverted, she’s got a big smile, laughing, contorting her face as she thinks — she’s extroverted up top. And her hands are clasped together in her lap as she leans forward closing off slightly — she’s introverted below her shoulders. It’s interesting.

So what are your passions? Dreams?

“Working out, making people happy, I’m an aesthetician, I have a full-time job, but I do own my own spa. I just like to make people happy. Working out is a passion of mine. It’s a big passion.”

I asked her what drove her as to how she makes time to always be at the gym.

“This is why I come early in the morning. I come early in the morning because of all the time in the day… at 7:30AM, work starts… don’t like coming after [work] because of all the people. To get in and out. Not to get in everybody’s way.”

Do you have a big life regret?

“You could say this… shouldn’t have any regrets. I’m very spiritual. Whatever you’ve done is just a life lesson. I’m thankful for anything that didn’t go right for me. I just say it’s a helluva lesson for me… it didn’t work, so try something else. Push yourself.”

We talk for a moment sharing how Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

What is a Life Lesson you’d like to share?

“Just to strive for better things. Stay happy. Never get depressed because that’s a sin. Being depressed or stressed out, that’s a sin.”

“Be right. Be happy.”

What’s a Life-Defining Moment for you?

Sandrika thinks for a while. In fact, she’s looking everywhere but at me as she thinks. This is when I really notice how animated she gets. It’s like 100 faces in the span of a minute. It’s fascinating, and it’s beautiful to see as she thinks and really wants to be… open. I share with her how I’m noticing her animations.

She then shares how she was motivating someone at the gym today. He was feeling down and wanted to leave the gym, but she stayed and talking to him at the gym to get him to stay and to workout. They talked as she continued working out. The gentleman actually came to the gym to see her in-person. Instead of calling her, he wanted to talk to her in-person saying, “No, I want to talk to you in-person because I want to see your facial expressions.” She laughs because it was twice in an hour someone mentioned to her about her personality via facial animations.

Sandrika admits that she’s also animated because she feels nervous, still. “Hit me on the spot… Be prepared. Always be prepared.

If you could do anything right now, what would that be?

“Just live. Live. Be happy. I want to be able to travel everywhere and help people and do other things. Always be a missionary and help.”

What’s your favorite exercise?

“In the gym??? My favorite exercise??”

She laughs at this as she thinks; then, admits, “I hate the gym.” Hahaha

“I want to get in here and get out. But I guess legs… everything. Okay, I guess I like it.”

She knows she’s being recorded, and she mouths, “I hate it!” with a big timid, smile.

How do you feel about the presidential debate/ race? Who’s piquing your interest? (Thanks Chandler, Stranger 13)

She thinks. “I’ve made my decision. I don’t really care if either of them made it. I don’t like some of the stuff she’s doing, but I definitely don’t like the things he’s doing.”

“I wish we could pick… choose two more because I just don’t think they’re the right ones.”

What would you like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

She takes some time to really think about this. She’s unsure…

“What motivates them? What makes them happy?”

“… when you wake up in the morning, what starts your day?”

After the handshake.

She talks about how so many tell her she seems unapproachable, but once they meet her, they’re so happy to have met her. She continues building on the last question, “Waking up first. Thanking God. I want us to be us, unified… I want us to be happy.”

I like this last point because this is the point of this project. This project is to unify people. It’s to inspire others to meet each other, and take time to get to know the people we see everyday. It doesn’t mean you have to interview each other like me. But instead, continue to connect. Sandrika talks to me about how the world seems to divide, and it’s important to connect more.

Yes, we get so fixated on the moment like when we’re working out in the gym. It’s important to be in “our zones”. We go there for a reason. However, it’s good that once we’re out of that zone, to connect and appreciate that other person’s hard work and dedication.

Thanks, Sandrika!

Meet Sandrika. She’s no longer a Stranger.


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