It was just one of those days for me—an unexpected fall. I struggle against these days more often than I like. It’s frustrating and exhausting. But, mostly I do it alone. I am old enough to know it is Nobody’s problem; it’s just mine. So, the last thing I seek from an emotional dive is attention. It makes it worse, I think. A hug, a kind touch, any gesture of love just feeds that dark beast even more. It gives it a place to wallow and grow and accept its way. The offerings mean well, I know, but I just cannot indulge. If I do, as I have seen, the beast will become too large to ever be slain. So, she must be starved, left alone, and not be noticed. Yesterday, though, she was unhinged and I just wanted to vanish. I wished I was Nobdody. But the reality is that I am really a Somebody that people care about. That’s the paradox. I needed to appear, to show up. That’s how I really am able to tame the beast —by letting myself be Somebody who is loved.
And so today, I ask you all to turn your heads and not look her way or call her name as I welcome, without much celebration, “I’m Nobody” by Emily Dickinson to day 18 of our POETRY Celebration. The contradiction here is that this well known recluse is very famous for wanting to be considered a nobody. I will let her introduce herself to you here: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/im-nobody-who-are-you-260
This poem has always been able to grasp the distance and vulnerability I feel, at times, like no others. And when I was assigned to memorize it in high school as well (see yesterday’s blog: http://www.msread.net/blogging-reviews/doggedly-poetic), I don’t think Sister Mary’s intent was for it to speak to me in this way, but to make me strive to be a somebody; again, here is the paradox. She was using the poem to build character while I used the poem for
permission to sink into solitude.
But over the years, as I have gotten better at asking for the help I need, I have also gotten better at accepting all interpretations of this poem, especially Sister Mary’s.
The speaker in “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” contradicts herself. She identifies another nobody just like her.
“Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!”
Wouldn’t you feel less like a nobody if you could identify with somebody?
I think the truth is that no matter how much we feel we don’t matter or, as in my case yesterday, that we don’t want to matter at the moment, we all do matter. We all strive to be a somebody and should realize we are a somebody to someone. The care to take, though, is to make sure those someones are not like the muddy “public” Dickinson describes but by a public who appreciates who you are.
I am Nobody who can no longer deny that. I appreciate all my Somebodies.
Head over to READ ME and you too can read a poetry from this somebody