What I’ve Learned

I was asked “what did you learn?” by a few people not too long ago.

I learned that life is bigger than numbers. Ocean waters feel warm against skin. Anything can be an adventure if you let it be. The unknown isn’t petrifying until you try to control it. Some things in life are like sand — the tighter you try to grip it, the more it slips.

I’ve learned that my tiger stripes are nothing more than tiger stripes. Brown eyes are fierce, loving, truthful, warm, soft. The things you love are not insignificant or silly, you love them for a reason. What you surround yourself with becomes more a part of you than you’d ever think. Everyone can’t love all that you are and that’s okay. Love is the most powerful thing above all else. Music is the most universal language of all universal languages. Cold coffee isn’t all that great. You can’t heal in the same toxic environment that broke you into pieces in the first place.

I’ve learned that smiling until my face hurts is the best home remedy for my bad days. Leather feels weird against hot skin. Walking is a blessing that we take for granted and it should be more appreciated. Everything happens for an unexplainable reason — whether we know that reason or not; stop trying to fight its existence. My heart longs for the words to shake nations like lungs long for air. Time away can make you appreciate what you take as a given.

What have I learned? With time, these all-consuming negative emotions no longer have the authority. It gets better.

Skies get brighter, clouds clear, rain stops pattering against the ground. Razors stop piercing skin, tears stop leaking from desolent eyes, and sleep becomes attainable. 2 AM doesn’t come around and say hi anymore, those demons are put to rest long before then. Love doesn’t hurt me, people do, but that won’t stop me from loving anyways.

The thoughts that used to plague me nonstop like bumbling bees in muggy spring air, can’t make it through the gates anymore. The gratification I used to yearn for can now be found in a fraction of a second once I take a step back and understand that it’s up to me, only I can give me that. The love I used to spend nights with people I never truly knew, requesting through my bloodshot eyes — I already had it. I’ve always had it, but the moment I let them decide what it meant to love me and be me, was the moment I burned it and banished it to darkness.

My reaction to my life and my perspective on it changed and it got better, I got better. When they say change starts with you, it’s true. It does start with you. It starts with wanting better for yourself, looking for a will to fight, and a reason to breathe, a goal to chase.

What I’ve learned was that this is all up to me, my life is up to me and as long as I have a reason to keep fighting, I’m going to fight every one of my bad days to be okay the next. These strangers and halfway friends don’t get to decide who I am because they have tastes that they personally feel everyone has to follow.

I’ve learned that I’m an individual; I don’t how long I’ll be here and what I’m here for, but I’m going to be 100% myself as I figure it all out.

Queen Payne

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