Me Duele Tonto

Little known fact: I am a huge Shakira fan. (Okay, okay, so it’s a very well-known fact.) And one of my favorite songs (La Tortura) is entirely in Spanish. As an ignorant American who took Spanish for years and years in school and then immediately forgot most of it, I can’t really tell what’s being said, but it’s a beautiful song. And so, it was when I was happily listening to it one day that I realized that I did understand some of it. In fact, I understood the following lyrics:

Ay amor me duele tanto

It means, as you may have already deduced from your own 6 years of rudimentary Spanish, “love hurts so much,” or quite literally, “love makes me feel so much.”

And do you know what I thought it said when I listened to it? “Me duele tonto” AKA “I feel foolish.” (which may not even be grammatically correct, because again, ignorance). So, I was definitely wrong, and you may be thinking that there is now no reason for this blog post due to one simple Google search for song lyrics. (Well, this got awkward fast.)

But here’s the rub! “Tonto” also means “stupid.” And I’m like, Eureka! That’s it! That’s my entire life rolled into a nutshell of a nutshell. That’s my autobiography title, a simple double meaning conveniently couched in another language. Thanks, Shakira!

Because that’s my entire problem. Every time I feel stupid, I also feel foolish. They’re inextricably linked for me, as they are in Spanish.

Seriously, I want to avoid any situation ever where I feel like there’s a chance I could look stupid. (This is also known as any situation ever because there’s really no way to know everything about everything, and so I look stupid when I try, but I definitely try.)

And so, I self-sabotage a lot because I can’t seem to overcome the idea that if I ask questions or if I seem like I don’t know something, I’m automatically stupid, and therefore, I feel foolish. Quite literally, feeling stupid is synonymous with being stupid in Spanish and in my own head.

So, how do you overcome this? How do you tell yourself that it’s okay to seem stupid AND foolish? Well, as one of my other favorite women (J.K. Rowling) once said, “I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’?” I’d like to think “stupid” could be substituted for “fat” in this quote.

Because there’s a million ways to look or feel stupid. But asking questions so you don’t make mistakes, no matter how “dumb” they sound to your own ears, does not mean you are stupid (tonto). And that also means that you shouldn’t feel (tonto) foolish, either.


As we head into the weekend, it is a good thing that we all have some more free time. This means (unfortunately or fortunately, you can decide) I have some more time to think. This also means that I can come up with new blog posts. This also means that some of those blog posts don’t always make it to “production.” Some of them I leave on the cutting room floor.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of your time. So, I’m offering you an exclusive peek into my brain so that you can get a few chuckles for your Friday and so that hopefully you can ponder some of the mysteries that have kept me up at night. After all, what’s life without a little wonder?

Bailey Dailey’s List of Mysteries

1. If we have such advanced technology, why can’t we make mirrors on our cars that do not make objects “closer than they appear”?

2. Why don’t they make those candy necklaces with other snacks? Strawberries? Pretzels? Cheese?

3. Why can I remember an embarrassing moment that happened when I was 12 but not where I left that important document I need right now?

4. Why do we fear death when it is the only certainty in our lives?

5. Why are chargers (on any device) just  long enough to reach wherever you are?

6. Why do we trip when we think, “don’t trip”?

7. Why are pickle jars so hard to open?

8. Why do we lose so many socks?

9. Wait. Why do we even have socks?

10. Why don’t they make waterproof books so I can read in the shower?

11. Why does every math problem end with someone giving something away? Is everyone that generous with their watermelons that they gift them to six of their friends?

12. Why aren’t you reading this in your head with an accent?

13. Why is “zzz” a symbol for sleep?

14. Why do spiders disappear as soon as you take your eyes off them?

15. Why were lighters invented before matches?

16. Why does Australia have so many animals that can kill you painfully?

17. Why do we shape our eyebrows into little, perfect lines? Why don’t we do that with other hairs on our bodies?

18. Why do we kiss each other to show affection? Are chest bumps just not intimate enough?

19. Why do we believe in a God that we can’t see, but not Santa Claus (even though we know what he looks like)?

20. Why are you still reading this?

And, so on. Well, You’ve seen inside my head, and I hope you’re not too afraid. Just remember: stay curious!