The truth about knowledge

Write what you know. This is the advice given to aspiring authors: write what you know. I am newly 20, haven’t traveled extensively, know only two languages and am not yet finished school. What do I know?

I know a little of love, but it is the kind people laugh at afterwards. The young kind. The lazy, infatuated, impetuous kind. Everyone, it seems, knows a truer love than this and I must suppose them to be right. So I do not truly know about love.

I know a little of life, because I have lived it this far. But I have lived it through my eyes. I know the life that has held me along with my four sisters and one brother, the life that has been good to me and seen very little hardship. I know an easy life, a friendly one too, and I think it can be said truthfully this is not the case for most. So while I have learned I am lucky, I have also learned I know very little about life.

I don’t know how to dance. I mean real dancing, not simply gyrating to the beat but moving with grace and ease, a fluidity I think is eternally beyond my reach. I don’t know how to let a man lead. I don’t know how to trust that when I lean back, his hand will remain on the small of my back–holding me up.

Speaking comes easily to me, I can find words for any occasion. But I do not always know how to speak without hurting someone I didn’t know was listening or stop my mind from running faster than my mouth can form words. I don’t always know how to hold back and let angry thoughts slowly extinguish themselves. Instead, I give voice to the acrid sentiments and regret it after.

I do not know how to learn. In the arrogance so often assumed by those who think grades equal intelligence, I have mistakenly established myself as a better teacher than those much older and wiser. I have missed countless important lessons while too lazy and indifferent to make the journey. So I do not know how to learn and neither to give true value to the education I receive.

What do I know? I am too young to know anything. I am too young to have undergone the process that used to be called “finding oneself,” too young to have experienced enough of the world to say anything about anything within it. Too young to be as important in the grand scheme of things as I sometimes believe I am.

I am too female to realize crying doesn’t solve everything, too naïve to stop hoping for the impossible and too human to stop trying. I haven’t quite accepted that wrinkles are a good thing, a testament to a lifetime of things worth enough to be etched permanently on a face. I am too cynical to participate in organized religions, yet too convinced of some benevolent force not to pray to “whoever’s up there” when I hit my lows.

I am small and at times insignificant, I will never know all there is. I’m not capable of such a feat. But I do know I don’t know a whole lot, so that’s what I’ve written.

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