I had unpacked everything save the handful of boxes I was always too busy to touch. It had been so long, I had forgotten their contents, thrown about months before in a rush to pick up my life and move. Finally, tonight I decided that I had settled in enough to go digging into things again, uncovering the remains of all I had taken with me.
Among such things were notebooks, photographs, manuals to IKEA furniture, computer wires and camera chords, CDs and random certificates like the Sigma Tau Delta one naming me to the International English Honor Society. How could I forget the $60 membership fee? They were remnants from a past life that humorously help tell the one I am living now, or at least, how I got here.
If for no one else, they are valuable because they document how I’ve done things; how I have made it from there to here, and serve as a reminder that change is subtle when looking through the window but profound when looking in the mirror. Cue the notebook, the one that has my scribbled handwriting with jots of information and quotes from important people, some of whom I have known, others I simply know of–like Madeleine Albright.
Just above the notes I wrote on the former secretary of state’s speech, is an unattributed quote in the upper right hand corner of the header. It reads:
“You are really beautiful without the black eye.”
I cannot recall who said that to me but I at least have a date: 2/18/11. This gives me context, which is important when considering any story. And when I read this while unpacking, all of my insides smiled so much it bubbled up an out-loud laugh. For it was not so much the black eye that I had sported, in every term of the literal and figurative meaning, but the really beautiful part without it, that made me appreciate whoever had said to me.
The truly remarkable thing about writing quotes down is that they have the ability to withstand the test of time. In some cases, they make more sense years in the future, when you are finally able to look at yourself in the mirror.
Felix qui potui rerum cognoscene causas. -VIRGIL
Happy is he who has been able to learn the cause of things.