I have learned that some days nothing will make you cry, and other days anything will.
I have learned, finally, how to do my hair.
And learned that somedays still, my hair will do me.
I have learned that when all is lost, there is always surrender.
I have learned how to kill a Huntsman spider
armed solely with basic survival instincts,
and a water blaster.
I have learned how to make exquisite light-saber noises
when dueling arachnids with my light-saber.
I mean water blaster.
I have learned that sometimes when you have no money,
the best thing you can do is spend your last few dollars
on someone with less.
I have learned to SHOUT,
and to not be so afraid of what noise comes out.
I have learned to beat my laptop at Mahjong.
I have learned how to hug a crying friend in the
“your world has just broken in to twelve thousand sad-shaped pieces
so here, rest your head on my lap and LET ME HUG YOU
and you can cry, and cry, and cry
and I don’t CARE if you ruin my favourite skirt with your
salty mascara tears but just be here.
And let yourself be still.
Until we figure out
which broken piece of world
we’re going to pick up and put back together,”
style of hug.
I have learned to laugh.
Great big belly laughs, in public,
I have learned to change,
and learned that change doesn’t make me a “sellout,”
it makes me new again.
I have learned to play the guitar. Like a boss.
But not like The Boss… yet.
I have learned that no one really gives a shit
about the width of my hips
or the size of my thighs.
I have not learned my times tables,
But I can recall the threes if I sing them
in what I think sounds like a Peurto Rican accent
to the tune of a Latin American song
from an old cassette tape my Mother bought me
when I was small.
I have learned that the word “shadow,” only has one “d,”
but still maintain it sounds, looks,
and in fact is better
Shaddow, shaddow, shaddow.
I have learned that is is possible
to carry thirty kilo’s worth of suitcase and guitar
across New York City,
under the East River…
on the Subway…
with a cold,
up and down a hundred flights of stairs
in shoebox apartment buildings
And learned that after all this,
I still complain carrying two bags of groceries home from the store.
I have also learned that I am exceptionally lucky
to be able to afford groceries.
And to have two working arms to carry them at all.
I have learned that having a broken heart
feels a little bit like repeatedly kicking your pinky toe
on the corner of a table leg in the middle of the night,
and I have learned that life will not always give you what you wanted,
however, it will give you precisely what you needed.
And if you are willing to hang on,
you will end up thankful
and wanting more
of what you never knew you were missing all along.
I have learned to spell my own last name,
(most of the time),
learned how to delight in the success of others,
and discovered that the foul, fragrant herb that my tastebuds so detest,
which masquarades in herb gardens as parsley has a name of it’s own;
and it is Coriander.
I have learned what my parents are like,
as human beings with personalities;
not just as providers, with bank accounts.
I have learned that bank accounts make excellent servants,
but terrible masters.
I have learned to be honest, to be corageous, to be loving,
to be kind, to hold my tongue, to be vulnerable, to appologise once; and well
and learned that I will need to re-learn these things every day
for the rest of my life.
And in all of this learning, I have found that across the world,
people adore a smiling face.