Saturday, 18 January 2014

Caviar & Diamonds for Breakfast {3}

This post is dedicated to anonymous! We didn't want to keep you waiting, hope you like it <3 

I barely slept last night. All I could think about was him. Your mind does what your heart tells you to do, and mine was telling me to think about him. Nothing haunts me more than wanting to see him, his face... I went to work with Pietro this morning and he asked me about Young, I said that I no longer see him. I had to prove him that I don’t see him by not taking any coffee breaks. He believed me. A promise is a promise, no matter what you cannot break it.
I had to leave in five minutes to meet up with Young, as promised. It was 3:10, but I liked to be prompt and organized. It gives people a good impression about you. I served one more table before leaving; my shift for the day was over. I received the employee of the month award earlier today and I was so proud of myself. Can you believe it, a month has passed by already? Pick a job you love, and you’ll ace it. Being a waitress is so much fun, you can read people so easily and when you do the right thing it places a smile on their face. Putting a smile on someone’s face didn’t cost a thing, unless you count time as something valuable. Then you’re already investing your time into something precious, a smile. Notice how the word itself is heartwarming? Smile. It makes you smile, unconsciously.

I folded my apron quickly and placed it in my handbag. I ordered a mozzarella sandwich and frullato, Italian word for smoothie. I paid then made my way out, it was 3:14 at that time. I saw some street vendors as I walked past by; I bought a couple of shirts, a jacket and two shorts and a pant for Young. I chose the pants that had elastics bands on top, so I didn’t have to guess his size, its free size. I reached the Grand Canal at 3:36, almost jogging to reach there on time.
Young! I was so excited to see him, I almost hugged him. Almost. As honest as possible, I’m going to tell you this because we’ll, we’re friends and you already know so much about me. I want to hug him; I want to know what it feels like to be around him.
Somone’s excited!
Oh, you have no idea! I was highly anticipating for this time of the day to come. I felt like a child, like he was reviving my childhood again. And I missed it.
Me too.
Let’s go to our secret hideaway shall we?
Walking between the crowds, I got the frequent stare. Why would a girl like me be walking around with a guy like him? In their eyes a beggar. He dressed in the same clothes everyday. And I think I did the right choice by buying him some new clothes. We reached our place.
I got you something. I hope you like it. I handed him the bag of clothes. He opened the bag, took a brief look of what was inside and remained silent. He came closer, I wasn’t sure of what he was about to do.
He hugged me. Hugged me! I hugged him back tightly, inhaling his scent of cigarettes, leather and something else, which my nose couldn’t filter.
Thank you. He whispered. I could feel his fast heartbeats and unsteady breathing that meant that he liked what I got him.
You bring me happiness and joy. Thank you Young.
We sat down quietly. I gave him his sandwich and drink and he ate in silence. When you’re around someone you like, this silence becomes something extraordinary. It doesn’t bother you; it doesn’t urge you to say something just to fill this empty moment with something. Instead you sit there, listening to each others breathing, and occasionally hearts beating. And when you get these moments, embrace them, because they’re precious. He stretched his hand out and opened his palm, inviting me to place my hand on his. Opportunities like this don’t happen so often, and I took it without even having to think about it. His hands were rough, he had blisters, and his skin was dry. Is that the outcome of dehydration? I pulled out a water bottle and gave it to him.
Tell me more about yourself. I said while playing with his hand.
What do you want to know?
Anything? Everything? Your past, your present, your future? What you want, what you need. I want to know more about you, I want to know more about Young Bill. Open up to me…
Well my future is unpredictable. Having you around is currently filling my present. And my past? Its something I dread talking about. People expect you to be a saint, or some kind of angel. But I am no saint, and I am no fallen angel. I may even be that stranger your mother warned you about, am I right?
Doesn’t matter. We’re beyond that point. I paused. Now it’s just you and me. I whispered.
I keep asking myself this question, what is an ambitious person like you, doing in a place like this with someone like me? A low class citizen, current occupation beggar. If I were in places like India, they’d refer to me as the untouchables.
Why do you insist on belittling yourself? I see you as someone over and above that.
Aren’t you ashamed to be here with me?
Ashamed?! That’s a very harsh word to use to refer to yourself. What makes you think I’m ashamed?
I don’t know… Do you regret the things you do?
Never. Things happen for a reason, you do things for a reason. But I never regret it.
I love your courage. I wish I had that in me.
You do, Young. All you have to do is believe in yourself. I believe in you, but what I don’t believe in is the state that you’ve put yourself into. Somehow we’re always being dragged back to the road of regrets, like a powerful force pulling back. But that doesn’t stop us from being who we want to be.
A moment of silence is a moment of thoughtful thinking. Something or someone broke him down, but he can’t glue himself back together. I felt like it was my job to gather these pieces and bring them back together in better circumstances than ever. 
Life is a labyrinth, you gotta find your way out. Or else you’re going to suffer, suffer in that pit hole of pain, agony and sorrow. He wasn’t so calm when he said that, he seemed angry.
All I ask for is a second chance.
A second chance?
Yeah, like a clean slate. You know? Where any problem that’s arisen from the past is forgotten, no one knows about you. A fresh clean start. I did things in the past that I didn’t want to do but I was somehow enforced in doing so. Its not like I had no choice, I did, but because of social pressure, peer pressure. Some people just want to destroy you…
I know what you mean. I’ve been there before.
How so?
These set of eyes; they made me become a different person to try to fit in. I’ve been a friend with the worst kind of people, just to feel that sense of belonging.
Exactly… Except I don’t have beautiful eyes like you… I wanted him to describe himself to me. I feel like nothing is stopping me from pulling that hoodie down, but I had to respect it. Maybe he’s trying to hide something away from me, I don’t know what it is but nothing can possibly repel this beautiful soul of his. The more I thought about it, his features, the more I fell for him.
We spoke a lot. He asked about my childhood and I told him the tale of a family that had a girl and two boys. Then he asked me the most interesting question.
What made you choose art? It’s a natural god given talent, but why, why not study something else?
You want to hear the short version of the story, or the long version?
Well if the longer one means we’ll spend more time together, then longer for sure. I instantly smiled.
Well… I was five at that time. Back in the days, our house was the only house in the neighborhood. When I was four, an extremely wealthy family built a house facing ours. They were very very verrrry wealthy, it was crazy. The things they had, no one in this world has ever seen. This wealthy Emirati family had two sons. You know as an Arab tradition, we usually send something over to our neighbors either as a welcoming gift or just so we can create a friendship. So my mother cooked a lot of food, she usually doesn’t cook this much because we’re a small family and we’re not the wealthiest people out there. We carried the dishes and walked to their house, the security that was sitting by the gate called the maids to help us with the dishes. He didn’t let us in, disappointed, we went back home. My brothers and I used to play outside in our bicycles; they used to drive motorbikes outside. I’m not sure if we were jealous or not, but I’m pretty sure we were amazed by what they had. We were literally drooling over the bikes ahahahahaha. So we eventually became friends and I used to hang out with them. When I was eight their elder son was 22, he used to study abroad (in the States) so whenever he came back he got me a gift. So, one day he got me this art kit, I remember it vividly. So clear like it was yesterday. It had 5 brushes, and the three primary colours: yellow, red and blue. He looked at me and said, these brushes are going to change your life. I never knew what he meant. But now I do. And there’s not a single second that passes by that I don’t thank him for this, I pray night and day that god would keep him safe and happy.
What happened to him?
That’s an unsolved mystery. Since that day, I never got to see him again. I never really got to thank him. I want him to see what he made me become, I want him to be proud of me. I… I miss him… I really do…
I’m sorry…
In life they tell you to move on, but I can never really move on, not if he’s in the picture… He’s out there somewhere I can feel it.
Never lose hope. He squeezed my hand. I won’t as long as you’re there by my side…
We spoke until we got tired. Until I began yawning, a sign of exhaustion, which was hours later.
Will I see you again tomorrow?
I don’t know…
Pass by this place at 3:45, the same time as you did today. If I don’t show up by 4, then know that I can’t make it.
Please try to come, know that I’ll be waiting for you.
I’ll try.
Good night. Take good care of yourself, Young Bill.
You too Shamsa.

“When it was dark, you always carried the sun in your hand for me.”

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Caviar & Diamonds for Breakfast {2}

I woke up before the alarm by almost half an hour. Last night I was drained by all the work I had, I had to cover up Pietro’s shift that placed so much pressure on me. I came back home and slept on an empty stomach, and now I’m awake with enough hours of sleep but my stomach won’t stop growling. I brushed my teeth and prepared myself some breakfast, the usual scrabbled eggs and a cup of cold milk. Nothing too exotic, something affordable and won’t keep me famished until lunch. I showered, tied my hair up into a high ponytail, and then wore my ‘uniform’. I sound so sophisticated but I’m basically a bar tender, well a waitress but part time bar tender too. I loved work, it’s been three weeks and my serving pleases everyone. I’ve been getting tips but I keep splitting the earnings in half, the tips go to the restaurant and half of the earnings go to the Lombardi’s for being super extra sweet with me.
During the lunch break I went to sit outside, the same usual spot. I found the stranger dressed up in the same clothes. Its been three weeks and he’s dressed up in the same exact clothes. So I got him a bowl of lasagna and a bottle of water.
Hello, how are you?
I’m good, thank you. How have you been?
Coping is the right term to describe myself right now. Something squeezed my heart.  
I got a little something for you. Buon appetito!
I handed him the lasagna and water. He turned his head to the side, but he made no eye contact. I couldn’t see his features.
You’re so down to earth, thank you so much. I’ll be forever in you debt.
Can I ask you something? It’s a bit personal…
Yeah sure. He said while gobbling down his lasagna. This tastes so good!
Do you have a place to stay? Suddenly he stopped eating. And I wasn’t sure of what he was about to say. Maybe I’m too fast, but I urgently wanted to help him.
I’m sorry… That’s none of my business, I honestly didn’t mean anything. I just want to help…
I know you do… And I highly appreciate it. I don’t mind you asking me questions but I don’t think I’m ready. When the time is right. Did I just crush his dignity by asking him this question, most probably? But his response was so calm and reassuring, it was like he somehow knew we were going to form a bond. A bond strong enough to let our guards down, let the words float around without judging.
What’s your name, madam? Mother told me not to talk to strangers. But what if strangers made you feel better? He’s the only exception.
Shamsa… What’s yours?
You have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen Shamsa. I love how when I sit on your right side it’s a shade of earthy brown with a speck of hazel, and when I’m on your left its sapphire blue. Its like you’re two completely different people but in one. You’re unique. I blushed, instantly. When was he able to catch a glimpse of what I look like?
Thank you. I have to go now…
No, thank you for this. It was nice talking to you. That was such a heartwarming comment.
I went back in, and suddenly I felt lighter. Like it was easier to do things, like something was lifted off. Could a simple compliment from a complete stranger change the way I feel? Maybe he sees something in me… Or maybe its because I helped him. With every pace I pound, a question would pop up. I need to see him again, I have to its not a choice it’s a command. He needs help, and I can offer him that help.

I kept on meeting him, not on an on-going basis. But he would frequently appear and when he did I took my break. We would talk, he spoke so little and I gave him the time he needed to open up. I didn’t tempt on pulling out the information from him directly. Pietro noticed the change in my mood when I came back to the restaurant, I felt like I was fueled up with energy and somehow pumped up with happiness. He observed us from afar. It was getting late and my shift for the day was over, so Pietro and I went out for gelato.
Who’s this guy you see?
What guy?
The beggar you take food to.
He’s not a beggar.
Then what you call someone who looks like that? A businessman?
Pietro! That’s so mean of you… He’s someone who needs help.
If he need help why he not go to the government and look for a job? Why he come to you?
I don’t know, maybe he’s scared?
Whatever is going on between you and him, I don’t like. You cannot trust someone you just met. And trust cannot happen when you know nothing about him and he knows about you.
He knows nothing about me.
He knows where you work. He knows how you look. What does he look like?
I don’t know…
What’s his name?
He won’t tell me.
Oddio! He laughed. He placed an arm around my shoulders and continued laughing. Carino! Listen Shamsa, next time you see him. Tell him what’s your name? Or else I report him to the polizia. Beggars don’t walk around the streets of Venice. I swallowed hard, I never saw him so serious. His sudden change from laughing to a poker face meant one thing, he’s serious. I knew where this was coming from, I knew he was responsible of me but I am responsible of myself. I do whatever pleases me. But him interfering made me feel safer yet bad. I felt like I backstabbed the stranger for a second. What goes on between us is confidential. We went back home and I went back to my sketchbook. I tried sketching his features by just listening to his voice, which was impossible.

He didn’t show up the next day. Or the day after, or two days after that. I was getting worried, maybe something happened to him. Maybe the police caught him; maybe he was starving and stole something. I hated the fact that I knew nothing about him. I left work early today. I had to find him. Venice was big but not too big. He’s somewhere here and I am going to find him. I walked around looking for that tattered old parka, but I saw none. Why am I so attached to someone I know I won’t see again…? I found him by the Grand Canal; it was almost impossible to find him between the rush of people and his parka that looked camouflaged. He stood so close to the water, too close that it scared me.
Sir! I ran up to him.
What are you doing here?
I need to talk to you.
I don’t know, let’s just talk. Lift some weight off of our shoulders.
Why are you doing this?
I don’t know… But I want to know more about you
Like a job interview?
Something like that. So, are you in or out?
In. I thanked god for his reply. I felt a rush of adrenaline, my body was buzzing with excitement.
Great! But before we begin we need to get some gelato.
He laughed. It was intoxicatingly electrifying.
He waited outside while I was ordering for the two of us. We walked past the crowd and sat down at some quiet place. There weren’t many people that passed by this area, it was so peaceful.
I need to tell you something. But before I do so, I need you to promise me one thing. Promise me that you’ll never leave.
I promise that I will never leave and never let you go. But whatever we discuss, it remains between us.
I promise you, it’s confidential. But first, what’s your name?
They call me Young Bill.
So do I just call you Young?
Yeah, why not?
And from there we picked up the pace from where we left off last time. Funny how the more he spoke the more I saw a resemblance. How we’re sitting by the riverbanks, he spoke about his life. A drowning person who can no longer tread water and I was the fisher who caught him with a rod. And that’s when it hit me, the fact that he needed help and my instinct was right. I felt like I betrayed my feelings but more importantly I betrayed him.

What did you major in, in university?
Oh, I still didn’t decide. I came here to study Fine Arts but I thought its best if I learn the language first.
Want to hear some advice from a complete stranger?
Sure. Why not I laughed
Fine Arts is a hobbie. You should be studying something else. You can be an artist but work at a totally different sector.
What do you have in mind?
What makes you think that I should be a psychologist?
The way you speak. The way you don’t judge people based on who they are, you’re way past that. You enter their souls. You’re helping me out, trust me if I went seeking help in some other place they’d spit at my face. No one cares about us, the ones who come from the lowest part of society. They treat us like dirt, they fear that we’ll do something to them. The always see us with this look, filled with disgust, sympathy and fright. On occasions you get those who throw a penny at you. But you’re not like that, you’re much much more than that. Out of this world.
I didn’t know what to say. How was I supposed to react to something like that?
I love the idea.
You don’t sound so enthusiastic. You don’t believe me?
No. No! I do, trust me I do. It’s just that there are so many factors stopping me from becoming a psychologist. I’m not mentally or ‘psychologically’ prepared for this.
What’s stopping you?
Everything. I can’t just change majors! It’s like changing life itself, changing the path I’m dedicated towards. And besides, I can’t afford paying to some posh university that teaches psychology. I’m here on a scholarship. And my parents are depending on me.
We spoke for god knows how much or how long. It was getting dark and we had to get going. I got up, my legs were entirely numb. It felt good to talk until your throat was dry and your legs were numb.
We should do this frequently.
You need to show up more frequently.
Meet me here tomorrow, at 3:45.
See you then. Take good care of yourself.
You too.

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Caviar & Diamonds for Breakfast {1}

Venice, oh Venice. The scent of the salty air fills up my lungs as I inhale. I roam around the streets just to get familiar, but the more I walk the more I discover. It’s been almost two week since I’ve settled and all I have been doing is walk walk walk. I can’t get over the beauty of this city. The organization that provided me with the scholarship, prepared me a place to stay, a decent apartment that had a kitchen, a bedroom and a living room. Perfect for one, and I was extremely thankful that I was living on my own. I had already started studying Italian as a language with two elderly couple who offered to help me. I still didn’t apply my papers to any university mainly because I don’t know which university best suits me. I did take a glimpse of the campus of some universities, I jotted down what I liked. But so far, I wanted to discover Venice. I took a small notebook with me wherever I walked, to scribble down what I liked and where the place was. But today, out of all days I felt like I need a cold gelato in this hot weather. Yes it’s hot, nothing compared to Dubai of course, but its humid and hot. The kind of weather that makes you want to wear the lightest t-shirt possible with a skirt or some shorts. I tied my hair up into a ponytail, wore my shades that I bought from some street vendor by Rialto Bridge and took out my sketchbook. There was just too much inspiration in this city, and my mind was oozing with ideas that I needed to tame before it was too late. I bought a cone of frozen yogurt and walked towards the Bridge of Sighs, I took a picture of the view then got out my sketchbook. I needed some acrylic for this, so I mentally noted down that I needed to go to the nearest art store to buy some. I figured that the Bridge of Sighs needed a moment of peacefulness, a moment to silence, and tranquility in its essence. I wish if my parents were here or my brothers, so they could feel what I could feel in Venice.
            I finally settled at about 2PM in a coffee shop by Riva degli Schiavoni, facing the docks. I looked at the view it was breathtaking. The gondolas parked side by side, a few boats here and there. It was magnificent, and I knew that this scene was not to miss. I took a couple of snapshots whilst they were brewing my cappuccino. I loved the buzz in this restaurant; I loved the diversity that I was amongst. The different languages, different cultures. Couples sitting beside me, businessmen on a coffee break. There were all kinds of people, and then there was me, the artist. I sketched out a couple of gondolas here and there; I sketched out moving figures with the background. My A4 notebook is too small; I seriously need to buy something larger… Dusk was slowly setting; the different wash of warm colours inspired me to come back again with a set of new paint and canvas. I had to be at the Lombardi’s in a few (the elderly couple who were teaching me Italian). I quickly paid for my cappuccino and headed over to their place, taking snapshots of the views and street names so I can remember how I got here and there.
            I rang the bell to the apartment and patiently waited, I arrived at 6PM sharp. Right on time to the appointment. Here’s a quick introduction to them:
Father: Giovanni. 67, retired.
Mother: Francesca. 60, retired.
Elder son: Riccardo, 34, works in Milano. Married, has 2 kids.
Younger son: Pietro, 27, works in a company in Mestre. Lives with his parents.

Ciao Pietro
Ciao Shamsa, come stai? (Hello Shamsa, how are you?)
Bene grazie, e tu? (Good thank you, and you?)
Bene. Come in, you’re just in time for dinner. Where did you go today?
I’ve been walking around. I just discovered the Bridge of Sighs. Then I went back to the usual place for some cappuccino and gelato. How was your day?
The usual.
Ciao Mr. and Mrs Lombardi. I went over to greet them then sat facing Pietro. We had lasagna for dinner; all these carbs are going to be the death of me (I hope I’m not gaining anything!). Today’s lesson was about ‘what I did today’; ‘Che cosa hai fatto ieri?’ and I had to practice what I was taught the previous lessons.
Ciao! Mi chaimo Shamsa. Ieri, ho fatto un giro da sola. Due ore fa ho mangio il gelato. (Hello! My name is Shamsa. Today, I had a walk on my own. Two hours ago I had ice cream.)
Brava! You’re improving!
Grazie Mrs. Lombardi  
The lesson went on. I knew that if this went any further, eventually the Lombardi’s are going to get bored of me, and this is just an assumption. But honestly, I think this is useful but to some extent it need to be practiced on a daily basis more than an hour or two. So I came up with an idea, something so simple.
Mr. Lombardi, I was thinking of applying to a job. Somewhere where I can interact with lots of people and speak Italian. I think this will drastically improve my language.
Bene, but do you have somewhere in mind? I can help, ma I don’t know what you want.
Why don’t you work at that coffee shop? The one you go to everyday. I’ll work with you part time.
Pietro! She is our guest; we must treat her like our daughter- I gasped!
- Sorry to interrupt Mrs. Lombardi. Pietro, you’re a genius! That’s perfect! I can gain so much experience in such a short period of time!
For a moment they just looked at Pietro, and I could tell that the mother was furious from the inside, as if she was about to hit Pietro with the bowl of salad. They spoke in Italian, words I couldn’t comprehend.
La mia bella figlia… You know God, come si dice in inglese, ah. Not give me daughters, only boys. Pietro give me age and white hair. I don’t want you to go, stay here. Come visit us everyday. We teach you Italian you teach us inglese.
Oh Mrs. Lombardi, you’re my Italian family that I never had of course I’ll come visit you everyday. And besides, if Pietro is going to join me I’ll be visiting you all the time.
After the conversation and after dinner, I helped clean the dishes and Mrs. Lombardi taught me the names of the cutlery. Spoon is cucchiaio and so on.. Then we planned out the timings and what we’re going to do tomorrow. Pietro said he’d pass by my place at around 7AM. That’ll give us enough time to have breakfast together, then look at a couple of restaurants close then apply to the one that best suits us. I went back home at 9. I called mom and dad, we spoke for around 2 hours then I went to sleep, I was exhausted.

Pietro passed by my place at 7AM, as promised. We went to apply for the restaurant that we both thought suits us best and they were delighted to have us as a part of their family. I loved how everyone treated every one as a family, not as strangers, not by their features, but by their souls. Yes, people did stare at me at first because of my eyes, but they didn’t treat me differently. I put on my apron on top of my white shirt and black trousers, and started serving. I was hesitant at first, speaking in Italian and taking orders but by the 5th customer it became much easier. On occasions I did speak English to some customers- non Italians- or Italians who knew I wasn’t Italian. I got my coffee break at around 2, Pietro had left for work earlier, and he said he’d be back at 4 to work on his shift for the day. I sat by the docks, real close to the extent my legs were dangling down centimeters away from the water. How much I miss swimming, how calming it was to me. I wrote down a couple of notes in my small notebook that I had with me back in Dubai, bits and bob of inspiration is what I call it. I’d write down a couple of quotes or sayings, or whatever poetic comes up in my mind. I couldn’t help but doodle on the side a gondola, or the face of a fictional person.
Ciao, sei una artista?
No… Sono umm… Waitress? Io non parlo Italiano, ma parli ingelese?
You’re very talented. You should start selling those; you’d make a fortune. He sat beside me. Leaving a small distance between the two of us, not so much personal space. Suddenly I felt uncomfortable by the distance. Mommy told me not to speak to strangers, in fact she warned me about them. I made simple quick mind notes on his appearance. He wore an old parka that had holes, he smelled of cigars and of leather car seats, which was extremely offbeat. He had tattered jeans on, no watch, his shoes were plain black not too old yet not new. Perhaps he was homeless, a beggar, or that’s how he dressed. He had his hoodie on so I couldn’t get a glimpse of what he looked like, but I could see just his jawline peeping out. He had an unshaved dirty, quiet long beard- about two centimeters long. Fingernails weren’t trimmed. He had a strange accent, he spoke fluent Italian that I can swear to you he sounded Italian. But the instant he shifted accents he sounded so unbelievably American. So I couldn’t make judgments based on his accents.
I stood up about to leave, because talking to strangers wasn’t my thing and mommy warned me too.
Where to?
It was nice talking to you, miss-? Nice try, but I won’t give you my name mister.
It was nice talking to you too. Good-bye. I said, smiling. I left him where he was, but something in me, something deep inside told me to go back. To talk for a little longer. As if talking to him was the right thing to do. But I couldn’t, I had work to do. I looked back after reaching the restaurant, he disappeared. I looked in between the crowds but he wasn’t there. It was like he vanished into thin air… Once I got back into work, the busier I got with the customers the busier my mind got because of him. Maybe he needed my help, he looked like a person who needed help and I refused to do so.
I went back to Pietro’s after our shifts were over; we had dinner together with his parents. I helped clean the dishes then went back home, on the way back I was talking to my parents on the phone. I unlocked the door to my apartment, changed into pyjamas then sat on my bed with my journal opened. I wrote down the date and began describing my day; I did a few sketches here and there using my biro pen. I kept on scribbling until I fell asleep.

A week has passed and things were, gratefully, moving on smoothly. My life with the Lombardi’s and the restaurant is all I ever wanted and more. It was like living in a movie. I wonder how life would be like if I was in Dubai, with my classmates… I hated how I craved the need to be accepted, accepted by my classmates so I can feel a sense of belonging. But nothing fulfilled that except for sports and studying. How can you want society to accept you, when you yourself can’t even accept yourself?

Quote of the Day: “The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”