I was inspired to write all this sitting in Dobra Tea in Burlington, Vermont, enjoying my solitary walk on Church Street:
“It seems fitting that it was one of the first experiences I ever had as an insecure, 18 year old in her first year of college and now, 5 years later, I am a visitor to the city who graduated exactly a year ago. At first I was uncertain why I had such a craving to come; I had only been a handful of times, all with people who have moved on and out of my life. Most I’ve lost almost complete contact with, mainly for the best, and a couple I still talk to, but not often. So I was confused with myself until I took a sip of my peony white tea and was instantly flooded with this awareness of where my life was in that moment, where my experiences have taken me, and what kind of effect all those people who crossed my path have had on me. From a sip of tea. Admittedly I’m a very reflective and sentimental person already, but that’s still some incredibly powerful tea to be able to do that! I laughed at myself for so suddenly entering such complete mindfulness, fully aware of everything around me. It just seems so funny, that a place I’ve never had a strong connection to, has so effectively brought upon me a flood of memories and experiences, that have fully molded who I am.
Just as everyone’s fingerprints are all unique from each other and from everyone else, so the impression everyone leaves in your life is unique. Some of those experiences are negative, but that doesn’t mean they leave a bad impression. It’s all what you take from it. And believe me, I’ve had my share of negative experiences to know that they can take over and stain your heart unless you look at each of them as something to learn from. Something to, by walking away with your chin up and a smile in spite of it all, be proud of. It has taken me a long time to learn that, but that first sip from my cup has reminded me that at least I’ve learned it sooner rather than later.
In the end, that’s how I handled those moments, and now as I sit in Dobra Tea, sipping something as wild as it is sweet, I look back at the best times I had. The open mics every other Wednesday in Slade Hall’s basement, with its painted ceiling tiles and murals covering the walls. It’s the first place I ever sang a guitar song in front of a group of people, the first place I recited one of my poems, the first place that caused me to believe that creativity and originality come in so many forms you may not recognize it at first. My second year dorm, Austin Hall, third floor, laughing my ass off (pardon my French) sitting in the middle of the hallway with those friends I was lucky enough to live in such close proximity to, cuddled together underneath mounds of blankets. Sitting in my Art History classes studying the layers of meaning in a portrait from the Italian Renaissance, some of which I was truly blessed to have been able to see in person when I studied for a month in Florence.
Those were all the experiences which taught me what was important for every member of the human race:
We all want to be able to express what’s in our heart of hearts. Whether it’s music, poetry, laughter, painting.. hell, even math! Math is important to you? Cool, you express it by doing it. Laughter is important to me so I express it by laughing and making others laugh. And what’s important to me right now, in this moment, is the taste of this tea while slipping down my throat and into my belly, washing my entire body in its warmth. And it is also important to me to express how content I am in this moment by writing it all down. By writing down what this tea has inspired in me- the remembrance of those times that made me who I am. Those times in Burlington, Vermont, as a student, that opened my eyes to what it truly means to be a part of humanity.
So now I will continue to sip this tea and later post this experience for others to read and remember to enjoy each moment and remember those that have shaped their lives forever.”
I hope you enjoyed it- and, of course, don’t forget to SMILE!