Never forget, never hesitate…those that are humble, those that believe, those that strengthen

“I do not know who was the first person was to put chains on her, but I am glad I was the last…” – an amazing video of two past circus crippled elephants – reunited after 22 years of being separated – the caretaker, Solomon, realizing this would be the last time he would wash down “Jenny” since she would be finally reunited and free on a reserve  – this started a whole process of reflection on some truly amazing events that transpired over the last week – so sit back and let these reflections help bring what your favorite memories of this past week as well might have been.

It’s ironic maybe I started with a activist video, but there is a similarity there that is a connection – if you have never heard of the quote by the late Maya Angelou – you need to make sure you know this –

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  –    Interview for Beautifully Said Magazine (2012) – Maya Angelou

There are a few choice quotes I would want to represent my life here, some are from maybe my all time favorite film, Meet Joe Black, but this is DEFINITELY one I would choose as well.  This past week was an emotional one if you paid attention to the details and I might go back as saying the last week and a half.  Looking back, I will have moments of Les Miserables locked in my mind and that is a gift in itself, so you can imagine seeing the same participants crossing the stage for capping, then for graduation, something that hit me so strong and then seeing pieces of it again a few days to a week later, it has been a week often defying words I would say.  For the good as well.  One phrase kept coming back to me during graduation, “There are no do overs, so “Carpe Diem” and in that context, I do believe there are moments that can’t be done, so when hesitating to give that last hug, that last comment, I felt following the graduation I was not sure when I would see some individuals that I thought so highly of, and maybe they would never know that, so it was important for me to let them know, and in this case regrets of having said something to them or congratulation them truly were not able to be a do over, and I am grateful I did say something to the and provide that last hug.  Yet, let’s go back to Les Mis for just a moment…

There are times also I realize do-overs are necessary to grow, and here is an example that truly is a necessary do over.  If you were fortunate enough to see Les Miserables, one of the many aspects I always bring up is the details we often take for granted and I tried to make it a point to bring out the aspects of Les Miserables that did get taken for granted, that made this so amazing.  However, a necessary do over not mentioned was one of costumes.  Seriously, think a minute.  Whether the costumes were obtained or borrowed, etc, think about the matching to a perfect scene everyone in the musical to make it seem believable.  Every scene, every moment, all matching.  Believe it or not, that talent hovered on an unconscious level that made sense scene, after scene, after scene.  You may or may not be familiar with the name Giovana Razgado.  However, if you are, you know where this is going. Giovana, brought on by Teruhi, studies Fashion Design and helped coordinate the costumes, working very closely with the production team.  Believe it or not, this being her first experience win theatre, let me say that again, FIRST experience in theatre, she was a SMASH.  A SMASH.  Have you begun to notice the often unseen talents to the production in this case, were some of the most amazing?  Indeed they were and let me also make another comment worth noticing.  Never hearing a peep, never clamoring for attention, it took another amazing contributor to Les Miserables to point to what an impact Giovana made on all those around her.  Quiet, humble, and willing to give so much of herself – I felt this was a common theme throughout the whole production of Les Miserables, something that was a major additional bonus of seeing all the obvious, and learning what it was I was not seeing, and I was lucky enough to be able to see so much that I was not aware of.  Knowing this, before OR after the production, is it important to recognize people and perform a Do- Over?  My thought is if someone as generous, humble, and talented as Giovana was willing to give so much to give so much to other people? – It was worth it 5 years from now to go back and recognize what he did, so yes, Do-overs – vital!  Kudos to you Giovana 🙂

Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t see my post on the capping ceremony, but it is worth the read to honor the amazing going people that will no doubt, go on and lead some amazing changes in the world, I love them!

I look back on the leadership awards night and remember, how amazing it is to see the many other clubs and their passions for what they do for the school, outside the school, and in honor of their school.  We are SO lucky to have a ceremony where the other organizations see each other and see their passions, this was important.

I loved horning so many of the Repentino. Staff. and they deserved it so much – and deep down, I wanted to give an award to every single staff member, but also knew, this was an award night about seeing what was the above and beyond efforts individuals did and to challenge existing staff to go beyond what was expected, what was asked, and sometimes what was envisioned.  Giving roses to the staff for these awards was a small small token of how much each of these amazing individuals had given and made Repentino. what it is, something fro everyone to show their passions.  So when we received a Most Dedicated Club Award for 2013-2104 I literally, LITERALLY fell off my chair, I mean I did.  I was – all I have to say is the staff and their passions show through and we should all be exceptionally thankful we have students that feel so strongly abut their school, other clubs, and themselves to strive of success. It is an honor being among them.

Moving to graduation – I just could think of one thing the whole time I was sitting there, I picture the students I came to know as family, andI pictured them on a place to their new “home” away from home, but I scrolled through the snapshots of the memories I had of them, and realized how hard it was for me to let go of that image, that memory, and I realized, even though I have to cope without seeing them on a regular basis, I will never lose the memory of  what they meant and mean to me.  Then, being an English teacher by trade, I pictured this and realized it was true:

Every since I have been lucky and privileged enough to be around young people, I feel I have started to create a

palettepalette, like an artist uses, and the different colors kept being added.  When I was in Seaford, the brightest color I could imagine are added, through my amazing XC runners, AMAZING Key Club members, amazing English, AP, Honors, Yearbook, and so many more groups that my palette was full!  (So I thought).  The I cam ego Mexico not knowing I would be actually MOVING TO MEXICO (it began to sink in), and literally a miracle, these AMAZNG people became a part of my life that I could never, ever foresee – and the colors I thought filled my palette, they depended the hue of these very colors and I began to see them add, mix and combine.  What would be if I could take these individuals from my past life in Delaware, and fly them all to Mexico so they could be together with these amazing – AMAING people that became my family in Mexico? – I can’t even image how exciting things would be! yet, I was doing that as I retained a piece of some many of them along the way – and I was doing just that! – and as true as they were deepening the colors I had on my palette already, I became a deeper and impassioned person thanks to them.

That is the best I could describe it as I saw them walking across that stage for the last time, and I wanted to hug them.  Hugely.  But that would be embarrassing.  For them.  🙂  I could recall the night I was honored to help reveal the plaque for the Les Miserables last night (I mean, I am STILL reeling from the cast allowing me to play such a HUGE PART! Yet, I realized, too son, I had to PRONOUNCE the names of the very cast members I KNEW yet, I HAD TO PRONOUNCE THEIR NAMES, um HELLO!  – I AM AWFUL at VERY IMPORTANT Spanish pronunciations, so, after that night, I promised I would be taking some intensive classes this summer to correct that embarrassing problem!)

Sunday morning hit, and I looked around, and saw the aftermath off these past two weeks, piles of piles – unattended and needing an overhaul in my apartment, the debris from my “dogs gone wild” when I was preoccupied with so  many people, and I realized – I love how quiet it is whenI wake up and look out over Mexico City from my apartment – I love the fact that I can walk the streets ataxy hour, and feel the cool breeze or the chilly air, yet it is fresh after a downpour the night before – I love I can go back to any spot in my apartment and flesh out my reactions and feelings and be able to have time to contemplate them without rushing to my next “job” or task without every having to do that – I love I can visit bakeries, visit people in my Roma neighborhood that know me, can think and have time to think about the people that have made me and helped me who I am, there is a magic in Mexico City and in my Colonia of Roma that allows this that no amount of money could every compensate me for and I realize…I started using the word “My” and it makes me feel amazing…

Along the way of this three year journey called Harry in Mexico, each of you have trusted me and supported me with the blog and many, many other adventures and experiments.  Along the way, I also have been harshly spoken about, criticized, and remarked on that I am not a good this or that, and life, life is full of criticisms, full of the nonbelievers, full of people that offer friendship and then take it back.  Again this is life.  Yet, a VERY close confidant who left but alway always took time to sit me down and repeat and repeat over and over various mantras that really guided me to be better person towards everyone, has helped me through some really frustrating and touch patches, and this is what I have learned:

1) Sometimes the best way to get through harsh and unfair criticism, when others seemingly deserve it, is to take that feedback and redirect it evens stronger towards something you believe in – so in a way, you are thanking the very person  that has sought out negativity, and you turn it into positivity, this mass peace with your heart and soul on a different level and longterm for yourself.

2) Do not believe the harshest criticism, it is one thing to hear and consider it, but do not internalize it.  Each of us knows exactly the truth and motivations that lie within, the same as walking on the campus where you KNOW you belong, to connecting with that person you know is THE ONE, to may things, we do have a built in sensor and IF WE PAY ATTENTION to that, and not let time and hurrying get the best of us, we know what is right, what is wrong, and how to get back on track, we have to listen instead of letting other cement that knowledge for us.

3) For every bit of criticism we receive, I take these notes, messages, etc, and post the where I can see them I see them every day.  Instead of letting them hold me back, I see myself saying “Fine, that is your perception of me, but it is WRONG.  This is my goal for today and I will prove that I am not this idea you have of me!” and I go out and rise above and beyond the average expectation that is found in that criticism, and within moments, I have disproved every aspect of that criticism that exists, and I am better for it.  I also find I am better to those around me because of it as well.

4) Running away from diversity, criticism, gossip, stereotypes, is easy, anyone can do it, and yet, facing t and taking a different approach completely is not something everyone can do.  Again, turning these ugly traits into something beautiful is a challenge, and truly an art, and makes a masterpiece at the completion.

It is on days that brings the value of so many individuals that have become dear and near to my heart closer to the very things I value and need to do to continue to motivate and stress how important others are.  To not do is NOT a Do over, I feel it is so important to let others know how much they have added something to your palette, you only haves many chances before they go to create their own masterpiece.

I would have to say yes, watching the reunion of these two amazing survivors of a cruel circus system was bittersweet, and their crippling became the very thing that touched your heartstrings, yet they rose above it.  The same things happens if we refuse to accept the bad and know there is a better something due to happen if we just stay the course, and not get slowed down due to others’ beliefs.  It is ours that make the difference, that can cripple us or let us design our own masterpieces.

I am fortunate enough to have many artists along the way, that I have built a gallery, a gallery that is priceless.  No one said the path to creativity and breaking from the same old pattern was going to be easy, critical free, and absent of doubt.  Worth it?  EVERY set of the way.  I am proud of those that have been generous enough to be humble about their contributions, (on and off the stage) gone on to graduate and be confident of what they bring to the world, and along the way, helped me to keep on moving forward as well.




About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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