Wear your opinion like a hat:
on top of your head,
proud and gorgeous,
a shield and a statement.
Let no one tell you
that this color is wrong
or the size is silly–
it is your hat and not theirs.
Wear it when the sun is too stubborn
or when a storm is too sullen.
No weather ever stayed for good so keep your hat on;
Your confidence will protect you today.
Wear it not because it is fashionable and worn by many
but only when you are convinced
that it paints your violent political heartbeats a picture.
Its feathers will not be ruffled,
like the cultural creases of your tongue
will not be ironed out into oppression.
Criticism is but a patchwork
in world of ragged cliches and
Our thoughts are threads
and there will be days
where everything will feel
criss-cross and frail and shabby.
You will hurt,
you will come undone
and you will end up with stitches.
I assure you this.
But I also believe that
you will emerge in the extravagance of learning–
You will wear your independence
like your second skin
and you will not be afraid of being naked
You will grow wings and roots
and you will cherish both
because now you fully understand
that bravery is your way of dressing up to the nines
that there is but one way to take off your hat—
when you’re so overcome
by respect and reverence
that you are compelled to offer everything you wear and believe in,
in exchange of a wisdom so large, so unbearable, so regal:
dardenitaaa || Manila, Philippines || October 2012