Canadian culture, poetry: You Learn, Alanis Morissette

Tutoring English, you encounter poems and songs. The tutor comments about one with which he’s gotten reacquainted.

Alanis Morisette’s album Jagged Little Pill yields numerous good songs, among them You Learn.

Back in the late nineties, I liked You Learn, but it didn’t speak to me as now. Twenty three years later, I’m finding more of a lesson in it, while back then it was just a fun song. BTW: I was 25 when Jagged Little Pill released, so I’ve about doubled in age since.

The song’s lesson, of course, is that if you play it safe to avoid embarrassment, you don’t progress. If, on the other hand, you try, you’ll probably fail – the first time. Yet, you learn.

Going even further, Alanis pokes fun at embarrassment itself:

I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth…at anytime…
(Feel free…)

In fact, You Learn confronts haters. Alanis is stating that those who would make you feel awkward or ashamed have no real power; rather, it’s just your fear of them that gives them influence. Instead of being shamed by their criticism, you should be ashamed of yourself for worrying about it. Don’t let them prevent you from trying – from learning.

At this age, I get her message; I wish I’d understood it much sooner. Nowadays, I take her advice – and, to quote her, “I recommend” it, along with You Learn.


You Learn, Alanis Morisette: YouTube

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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