When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that this kiss doesn’t “mean anything” because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.
The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.
One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don’t look at her skeptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. That coat will be the last gift she gave you. You will regret the small thing you didn’t say for the rest of your life.
It’s hard to say why, in one of the most eventful periods of my life I’ve had so little to share. Near death experience, career-changing developments, invaluable life-lessons, they’ve all happened between the last time I was on this platform and now. But somehow, I didn’t feel the need to share them, and that’s ok. But what I did tell myself is that the first thing that really moves me is the first thing I will post this year. And I finally found it.
So I was recently introduced to an amazing website called Dear Photograph run by Taylor Jones. Basically it’s a portal of old photographs with a twist. Here’s how it works. People take an old photograph (usually from their childhood), then go back to the exact location where the picture was taken, hold up the photograph in-situ and take a photo of that (sounds complex I know, but it isn’t). Lastly, they write a short note to that new photograph starting with the words Dear Photograph. It’s a truly amazing concept and it’s no wonder why so many people have taken a liking to it and posted photos, the captions are also beautiful (see some examples below). In fact, so popular has the site become that Taylor Jones has just released a book with the same title, featuring some of the best photos from the website. Do as I did, check out www.dearphotograph.com and buy the book.
After some time you learn the difference, The subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul. And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning, And company doesn’t always mean security. And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts, And presents aren’t promises. And you begin to accept your defeats, With your head up and your eyes ahead, With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child. And you learn to build all your roads on today, Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans, And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight. After a while you learn, That even the sun burns if you get too much, And learn that it doesn’t matter how much you do care about, Some people simply don’t care at all. And you accept that it doesn’t matter how good a person is, She will hurt you once in a while, And you need to forgive her for that. You learn that talking can relieve emotional pain. You discover that it takes several years to build a relationship based on confi dence, And just a few seconds to destroy it. And that you can do something just in an instant, And which you will regret for the rest of your life. You learn that the true friendships, Continue to grow even from miles away. And that what matters isn’t what you have in your life, But who you have in your life. And that good friends are the family, Which allows us to choose. You learn that we don’t have to switch our friends, If we understand that friends can also change. You realize that you are your best friend, And that you can do do anything, or nothing, And have good moments together. You discover that the people who you most care about in your life, Are taken from you so quickly, So we must always leave the people who we care about with lovely words, It may be the last time we see them. You learn that the circunstances and the enviroment have influence upon us, But we are responsible for ourselves. You start to learn that you should not compare yourself with others, But with the best you can be. You discover that it takes a long time to become the person you wish to be, And that the time is short. You learn that it doesn’t matter where you have reached, But where you are going to. But if you don’t know where you are going to, Anywhere will do. You learn that either you control your acts, Or they shall control you. And that to be flexible doesn’t mean to be weak or not to have personality, Because it doesn’t matter how delicate and fragile the situation is, There are always two sides. You learn that heroes are those who did what was necessary to be done, Facing the consequences. You learn that patience demands a lot of practice. You discover that sometimes, The person who you most expect to be kicked by when you fall, Is one of the few who will help you to stand up. You learn that maturity has more to do with the kinds of experiences you had And what you have learned from them, Than how many birthdays you have celebrated. You learn that there are more from you parents inside you than you thought. You learn that we shall never tell a child that dreams are silly, Very few things are so humiliating, And it would be a tragedy if she belived in it. You learn that when you are angry, You have the right to be angry, But this doesn’t give you the right to be cruel. You discover that only because someone doesn’t love you the way you would like her to, It doesn’t mean that this person doesn’t love you the most she can, Beacuse there are people who love us, But just don’t know how to show or live that. You learn that sometimes it isn’t enough being forgiven by someone, Sometimes you have to learn how to forgive yourself. You learn that with the same harshness you judge, Some day you will be condemned. You learn that it doesn’t matter in how many pieces your heart has been broken, The world doesn’t stop for you to fix it. You learn that time isn’t something you can turn back, Therefore you must plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really can endure. You really are strong . And you can go so farther than you thougt you could go. And that life really has a value. And you have value within the life. And that our gifts are betrayers, And make us lose The good we could conquer, If it wasn’t for the fear of trying.
Beyond social contract, YOU are beautiful. YOU are good. YOU belong. When you were small, you should have been told how beautiful and wonderful you were. That your hair, face, body and mind were just as they should be. That no one is better or worse than you because of what they have or how they look. You should have been held in the arms of your parents and felt safe and loved. You should have been protected from ugly words and physical violence. You should have been told that as long as you didn’t hurt yourself or others, you could be and do whatever you wanted, as long as it made you happy. That if you made a mistake, you would be forgiven. You should have been made to feel that all the things that make you different from another human being are simply the beautiful puzzle pieces which come together to make YOU. You should have been told that it doesn’t matter WHO you love as long as you LOVE. You should have been told that you are important and the world wouldn’t be the same without you. That if you put your mind to it, you could do ANYTHING. That being a success is defined by YOU and YOUR personal happiness. And lastly, if at this time someone hurt you and never apologized, I want to do it for them: I am sorry.
“In a world of schemes and strategies when it comes to selling something, you guys just bought music you trusted you’d like. You picked it up in the same way I made it… from the heart, no trickery. That is so cool and rare and all the marketers in the world together can’t manufacture that. I am very grateful to you.”—John Mayer, speaking after Born & Raised debuted at No 1 on the charts.