To the people who helped me realize:
You tell me your stories with an open heart. With emotions that materialize and melt down your cheeks. You wipe them away with the same strength that allowed you to wipe away the burdens you’ve carried.
You tell me your problems and I listen. I think of all the ways I can comfort you, but sometimes I’m lost for words and all I can do is stare into your eyes that flood with patience, waiting for me to respond to the load of information you just allowed me to record on an intimidating camera.
You show me through words and eye glances that your problems are far worse than mine have ever been, and I have nothing to offer you, to console you.
You tell me things you might not have told anyone before, yet I am still a stranger to you. We have no history beyond the 15 minutes we just spent together.
You make me realize that I am not alone. That I can be selfish. That there are people who have nothing and are still so grateful when I have everything and can, at times, seem very ungrateful.
That there are a million reasons why you shouldn’t smile. Yet here you are, curved from cheek to cheek.
That life has given you every reason to not want to live, but it somehow, gives you more reason to live.
You’ve made me realize that ignorance is not simply a lack of knowing, it’s a lack of wanting to know. It’s assuming.
That spending your whole life in the same spot is like reading only one page of a book.
That knowledge goes far beyond school, work and travel. It comes from meeting people. People you don’t want to meet. People you didn’t know existed who have problems you never thought were real.
Real. That’s what you’ve made me realize the most. It’s even in the word… realize. There are so many realities I would have never known had it not been for you speaking real words in real moments for a real purpose.
A purpose I didn’t know existed.
To all the people who helped me realize, I hope I have a lot more realizations to come to.