Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to read my work in public for the second time in my life. The first one is a bitter memory. Not because people didn’t like my writing, but because I hadn’t realized I wanted my family to share it with me. I was young, foolish and shy, and worst of all, I hurt my family that day by not telling them about it. It was my mom’s smarts that made it possible for them to be there after all, but the hurt in their eyes still brings tears to my eyes.

At the time, I didn’t think my writing was worth anything. I wrote because I needed the outlet of my own insecurities and the only reason I was doing the reading was because it was part of the workshop I used to go. I didn’t think my writing was worth enough to share it with the people I loved the most. That first reading is one of those memories I prefer to keep hidden in the darkest corners of my mind, there, in that space reserved to haunt the nights where everything seems bleak and unwelcoming.

This second time, the story was different. I’m still shy, so I kind of hated every moment of the wait until my turn at reading was over –the second out of sixteen, lucky me! But I’m no longer foolish, nor do I think my writing isn’t worth any more. I’m thousands of miles away from my family, but they were as close to me as were the friends who took the time to come to watch me for those 4 minutes while I read. They heard me over messenger before and after, and are looking forward to the picture once I get it.
Almost fourteen years happened in between those two readings. I grew up and learned my lessons. I stopped fearing what others would think –though it’s a nasty monster that won’t gown down easy–, and started paying attention to what’s important in life.

Family.

Family is what matters most, the one we are born with, and the one we find on the way.

I wouldn’t have appreciated this second reading if I hadn’t gone through a painful one. I wouldn’t have known how much I want my family to share my most important moments if it weren’t for the hurt I caused them. I’m still sorry for making that mistake, but I can’t change the past. I can only make sure I don’t repeat it.

Painful memories teach us life lessons, and, most important, keep us from repeating our mistakes. Although they hurt, they remind us to become better persons.

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