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If I Should Have a Daughter (TED Talk)
Transcript of If I Should Have a Daughter (TED Talk)
The Beginning, the Middle and the End.
(Not necessarily in that order)
When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty, will I be rich
Here's what she said to me.
If I should have a daughter, instead of "Mom," she's gonna call me
because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find
And I'm going to
paint solar systems
on the backs of her hands so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say,
And she's going to learn that this life will
hit you hard
in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach.
remind your lungs
But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to how much they like the taste of air.
"Oh, like the back of my hand."
There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by Band-Aids or poetry.
So the first time she realizes that
isn't coming, I'll make sure she knows she doesn't have to wear the cape all by herself because
no matter how wide
you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal.
Believe me, I've tried
"And, baby," I'll tell her, don't keep your nose up in the air like that.
I know that trick;
I've done it a million times.
You're just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house, so you can
find the boy
who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him.
Or else find the boy who lit the fire in the first place,
to see if you can
But I know she will anyway, so instead I'll always keep an extra supply of
nearby, because there is no heartbreak that chocolate can't fix.
Because rain will
everything, if you let it.
But that's what the
Okay, there's a few heartbreaks that chocolate can't fix.
I want her to look at the world through the underside of a
, to look through a microscope at the
that exist on the pinpoint of a human mind, because that's the way my
That there'll be days like this.
There'll be days like this, my momma said.
her way to me
I know that
When you open your hands to catch and wind up with only
blisters and bruises
; when you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you want to save are the ones
standing on your cape
; when your boots will fill with rain, and you'll be up to your knees in disappointment.
And those are the very days you have all the more reason to say
Because there's nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter
how many times it's sent away
You will put the win in winsome, lose some.
You will put the star in starting over, and over.
And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute, be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called
And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting, I am
pretty damn naive
But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can
so easily, but don't be afraid to stick your tongue out and
"Baby," I'll tell her, "remember, your momma is a
, and your poppa is a
and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who
stops asking for
Remember that good things come in threes and so do
And always apologize when you've done something wrong, but don't you ever apologize for the way your eyes
refuse to stop shining
Your voice is small, but don't ever stop singing.
And when they finally hand you
, when they slip war and hatred under your door and offer you handouts on street-corners of cynicism and
, you tell them that they really ought to meet your
If I should have a daughter
When I was young, I fell in love
I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead
Will we have rainbows, day after day
Here's what my sweetheart said.
Things I know to be true
Spoken word poetry is the art of
It involves creating poetry that doesn't just want to
sit on paper
, that something about it demands it be
heard out loud
or witnessed in person.
Writing poems might help you to figure things out.
You might get to the end of a poem and not solve anything.
But at least by trying, you have a new poem out of it
Never mind if you are only 14.
Pack it with all the
of a 14-year-old, include
, make it
And when you come off the stage you might be surprised by the audience that hoots and hollers their
“Hey, I really felt that. Thanks.”
And you might get a tap on shoulder saying:
There are three main steps in the
spoken word journey
I can do this.
I will continue.
I write poems that reflect who I am.
Spoken word poetry doesn't have to be indignant
if that's not
who you are.
It could be
Write what you know.
There are things there are specific to you.
But It's about gathering up
all of the knowledge and experience you've collected up to now
to help you dive into the things you don't know.
Now I have children of my own
They ask their mother, what will I be
Will I be handsome, will I be rich
I tell them tenderly.
Where do great stories start from?
Spoken word poetry
cracks open locks
And you can use it as a way to entertain, educate and inspire.
That's where the
Poetry can be really scary.
Sometimes, you have to trick teenagers into writing poetry.
everyone can write lists
“10 Things I Know to be True”
And then someone else has something the complete opposite of yours.
At a certain point, you would realize that someone has the exact same thing, or one thing very similar, to something on your list.
Third, someone has something you've never even heard of before.
And fourth, someone has something you thought you knew everything about, but they're introducing a new angle of looking at it.
This is where
Spoken word can help you rediscover
fight your instincts to be cool and unfazed and, instead,
being engaged with what
goes on around you, so that you can
something from it.
Spoken word poetry allows for
It's not uncommon for people to feel like they're alone or that nobody understands them.
Spoken word teaches that if you have the ability to
and the courage to
those stories and opinions, you could be rewarded with a room full of your peers, or your community, who will
But the most important thing of all…
...spoken word poetry allows you to tell the stories only
Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.
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