Things aren’t always what they seem + poem

Páramo | Roma Norte Cuidad de Mexico 

As I looked down at my Google Maps bubble, it looked like I was there but the metal business doors were clearly locked. Plus, no tables or chairs outside which at least in Mexico City it means things are closed.

Aside from the one random door that was opened. I said, “it looks closed but let me go upstairs and ask.”

As I walked up a good chunk of stairs the music and conversations got louder and I could see the hostess podium.

“Cuantos?” she said meaning how many to be seated.

Things aren’t always what they seem —  

But I actually want to talk about a very different story than this bar clandestino.

Today I got my shoes shined. It’s very common here for people to make a living walking around shining shoes.

I said yes, this time around, but he wasn’t shining shoes  — that’s just what it looks like on the outside. Really what he was doing was sharing a beautiful message about self-love, humanity is its own worst enemy sometimes, what truly COVID has taught us about how equal we all are.

And waking up grateful every day because that’s all we can do. In those 5 minutes, he shared his story of surviving alcoholism, the loss of his mom and so much more.

Inspiration shows up where we least expect it sometimes. 

Our muse will not show up as a pretty flower, or an angelic awakening. Our muse shows up as the shoe shiner. As the beggar. As our own worst enemy.

It reminded me of a poem a wrote back in 2018, riding the bus in Downtown Seattle. I was inspired by — what I perceived — as a person without a home. I’d love to share it with you…

The Man with the Golden Smile 

He holds a black bag

Over his foot 

Beneath his heart 

Craving to speak 

What his soul seeks 

No one gives 

No one cares 

He holds up his hand and smiles 

A smile so gold

So pure 

And serene 

Tears stream down her eyes 

As she sees the guises eyes 

In this moment, he is her guide 

The Man with the black bag

and a golden smile. 

— by Brenda Umana | Seattle, WA | 2018


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