As the end of my time in Boston approaches, I can’t help but reflect on all the lessons learned in this little city that stole my heart.
This is where I learned how to love. In the past six years I’ve fallen in love more times than I can count. I fell in love with forever friends, with work that inspires me, with a cappella music and with a man who I let slip away. I learned that love is full of warm fuzzies and good vibes but it’s also full of hard questions and harder answers. I learned to ask them boldly and give them honestly and that’s a lesson I will never forget.
This is where I learned to lose. The first 18 years of my life spoiled me with victories and, while the past 70 months or so have given me so much to celebrate, they’ve also been filled with loss. The loss of innocence, of relationships, of grandparents and great grandparents, and of the perception of perfection as something attainable (or even something to aspire to). In this time, I’ve often felt the heartache that comes only from looking in the eye a shortcoming you didn’t know was there. The shortcomings were mine and they were his. They were my parents’, and my siblings’, and my friends’. They were the world’s and, though I had never seen them before, they were undeniable.
This is where I learned to heal. My time in Boston taught me that my scars, and cracks, and imperfections are not my weaknesses, but my strengths. There’s a strength that comes from having felt a sorrow so great that you were sure the sun would never rise again, only to see that stubborn ball of flames do just that the very next morning. There’s a strength that comes from letting yourself hope again after months of feeling hopeless, and a strength that comes from being able to share the darkest moments of your life to bring light to someone else’s.
This is where I learned to laugh. This is my favorite lesson but was, surprisingly, one of the hardest to learn. I lived so much of much my life consumed with fear and insecurity that I never learned to be silly. I didn’t laugh without looking around to see who was watching, I avoided doing anything I didn’t know I’d be great at and I never ever, not once, laughed at myself. It took a while, but Boston taught me that sometime’s it’s fun to embarrass yourself with the people you love, that it’s okay to dance even when you don’t know the moves and that ice skating is a much better time when you let go of the walls - even if you fall two or seventeen times. My favorite Boston memories will be those where I danced like an idiot and laughed without inhibition - and I'm proud to say I have more of those memories than I can count.
So, as painful as it was at times, thank you, Boston, for all the lessons. I hope to spend my last month here loving and losing and healing and laughing because more than anything I’ve learned that I’m my best self when I’m able to embrace all the things this crazy ride has to offer.
Los Angeles, I’m coming for ya.