I’m a conscientious sort. Always have been. I like my words to match my actions, not just today, but in all the days that follow. I don’t prefer to surprise people. Instead, I feel the need for the equation of me to balance at the end of the day. I want to be a coherent story that’s wrapped with a tidy red ribbon. I want to “make sense” above all else.
Why? Probably because I’d rather blend into the wall than dance around in the center of the room. Surprising people with contradictions in my carefully crafted image leads to attention, and I’ve spent years finding ways to minimize attention. It wasn’t until recently that I started to question this approach to life.
While reading Kenji Yoshino’s wonderful book, Covering (might discuss in a future post), I came across a quote by Walt Whitman:
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
The truth of Whitman’s statement left me awestruck, as did the casualness of his delivery. It was a quintessential Oprah “a-ha moment.” The chains of my own perspective fell away in that moment, and I realized that I have the power to give myself permission to contradict myself. I’m not beholden to anyone to create a coherent story out of my life. I am large. I do contain multitudes. Yes!
So, here’s to the freedom to say one thing today and feel or do something completely different tomorrow. It’s our right to fill the space that is our self with whatever multitudes we darn well please. And it’s our right to change them tomorrow, and then change them back the next day. Sure, it may garner some raised eyebrows or some ever-dreaded attention (at least for me), but that seems a small price to pay to experience this life within the vivid color of our own full emotional spectrum.
How about you? Do you contradict yourself…gleefully, joyously, voraciously?
I do hope so.
Image Courtesy of Graur Codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net