Sunday, October 4, 2015

Who are you?

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody too?
Then there's a pair of us - don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

(image via the depths of Pinterest)

Nobody...I am nobody. Scanning through Emily Dickinson's poems, these words cut my heart as beautiful poems typically have the power to do. I committed the piece to memory, only to recite it in my head whenever...fitting. It's pretty ridiculous, don't you think? A few simple words put together in a less-than-logical way, and somehow it just makes sense to its readers. Poetry brings up those hidden - and often times horribly vague - pressing feelings, and brings clarity to them, as well as the comfort of knowing you're not alone in your insanity. 

Most of us have been nobodies before, right? Would it be a venture to guess that most of us are nobodies by our own judgement? For years I have struggled with (unconsciously) looking at the world and its inhabitants as if I'm on standing the outside looking in. It's as if I have the whole world fooled into thinking that I'm a person like them, but alas, I know the truth: I'm a mess. I'm barely figuring out how to act like other people. I can't possibly be one of them.

Over time I fear I've trained myself to take pride in my supposed outsider-ness - this is really just as easy as turning it into an insecurity. It feels as though I'm watching everyone turn into the same thing as everyone else - like they're all identical robots, and I'm glad I can't fit in. I get the impression that this same pride was at the root of Dickinson's following stanza which details the dreariness of somebody-ness. How public, like a frog to tell your name the livelong day to an admiring bog! I couldn't agree more with her.

However... The more I open up about this sensation, the more I'm discovering how not-so-special I am. Indeed, even merely the popularity of this poem reveals something about humanity. Do you think Dickinson would have been surprised? A lot of us are faking it. A lot of us are afraid of the shame that might come along with making known our struggles: they'd banish us, after all.

If you're a nobody, go tell someone. Take comfort and be humbled by the number of us out there. Let's tell the world who we are until there are too many to banish - maybe someday we will bring about a true definition of what it is to be somebody. 

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