I got on a little poetry kick last night. It started when I scrolled by this quote on my Tumblr dash.
I swear that when our lips touch, I can taste the next 60 years of my life.
And it kind of kicked me in the stomach. That’s a line that gets to the point, that’s something that’s pure and real and honest. So I did something that I regrettably don’t do often enough on Tumblr, I clicked on the source. And I watched Rudy Francisco sing this poem called “To the Girl who works at Starbucks down the street from my house on Del Mar Heights Road; I swear to God, I’m not a stalker.” And it was beautiful. Then I watched seven more of his spoken word poems. He speaks in a way that lets his voice repeat in your head like a song on the radio.
Then Sarah Kay’s TED talk from March 2011 showed up in my dash. And with a title like “If I should have a daughter…” I thought it would be about female objectification or something, but it was the opposite. Her first poem was about the lust for life she wants her future daughter to have. To hold on to her curiosity. To make her mistakes, but to always fall back on her mother. To take hardship as a gift.
After the poem, she starts talking about how she got into spoken word. The moment when she knew she could do what she does: she performed her first poem about being seen as unfeminine “packed with all the wisdom of a 14-year-old.” Another girl, tall and tough and in a hoodie, told her that she felt the poem. And that was when she knew.
She talks about connecting with others, and I think that’s the most important part of any writing. That’s certainly what I’m trying to do with reporting. But what I took away from this video was more than some journalism lesson. It was about opening up to heartache and pain and trouble and taking it all in and benefitting. At around 11:30, she says this,
I know that the number one rule to being cool is to seem unfazed. To never admit that anything scares you, or impresses you, or excites you. Somebody once told me it’s like walking through life like this (fists out). You protect yourself from all the unexpected miseries or hurt that might show up. But I try to walk through life like this (arms outstretched, palms up). And yes, that means catching all of those miseries and hurt, but it also means that when beautiful, amazing things fall out of the sky, I am ready to catch them.
I think that’s a really wonderful way of looking at life. I also think it takes a lot of courage to open yourself up to awful possibilities, but I agree that in doing that, you also reach those beautiful, amazing things that you otherwise wouldn’t have found. Her TED talk was a really great lesson on not just communicating and connecting, but on how to approach living.
I’m hesitant to say too much on a blog, but we all have hardships in our lives, and I’m definitely not exempt. And while I hope it isn’t too visible from the outside, I do have my stumbles and mishaps. Recently, despite all laws of karma and fairness, my favorite person on the planet was diagnosed with a serious illness. And that’s tough. But we all have things like that. And despite having something miserable fall out of the sky (as Sarah would put it), I think it’s important to keep my palms open for whatever’s next. Waiting for the wonderful seems like a good way to spend my time.
(And no, you can’t have my Tumblr URL.)