January 31, 2012

I'm a nobody who are you?

As only my sister can attest (compliments of her repeatedly betraying my trust by reading my red diary I hid beneath my bed), I was a morbid child. Though seemingly upbeat in my Lion King dance renditions, my diary shared darker thoughts.

By the age of ten, I had already written three different versions of my obituary, composed a song about our dead rabbit Sam ("Sam oh Sam, I'm dressed in black; Sam oh Sam, when are you coming back?"), and wrote down the name of every person who I heard had died (RIP Mr. Bihr who worked at the corner store.) Shannon may also cite to my morbitity by mentioning the game that I invented called "Hostage," which entailed me capturing her and her friends and then tying their necks to lamps and making them drink "poisonous" drinks replete with toothpaste, ranch dressing, pepper, and milk. (Don't worry, Shannon and I have spent years working through this, and she has since admitted loving the game). But that's beside the point.

At age eleven, I was obsessed with Emily Dickinson, memorizing her poems at night (which was quite a feat considering I couldn't remember--and still can't--all the words to the Pledge of Allegiance).  My favorite poem of hers was "I'm a Nobody Who Are You" and I'd scrawl the lines in a Black Meade Composition Notebook, asking rhetorically "are you a nobody a too?" I didn't fully understand the second stanza (what was that whole reference to a frog thing?), but that didn't stop me from loving the poem.

I hadn't thought about that poem for years, but thanks to my existential life crisis which I'll discuss next time, I've begun thinking about it.

I really want to be Somebody.

And this has caused me a lot of anxiety.

In the land of public display of somebodyness, where I constantly read about everyone's accomplishments and chronicle people's self-promotional successes, my increasing desire for validation  patheticizes me (verb: to make one feel pathetic).

Of course I seek validation. I mean, hello, I have a blog. Nothing screams a desperate attempt for attention than writing about one's inner most thoughts, posting it on facebook, and then squealing in delight to see a "like." And it's not just that I write because I need it as an outlet (which, I admit, I do). I write because I want people to read my writing, if only to affirm the fact that, why yes, they too had similar thoughts and can affirm that they are just as delusional as me.

I want to be a freaking somebody. I want people to read my blog and like my statuses; I want to be seen and recognized; I want to be a famous writer and then a speaker and then have millions of dollars and then be a philanthropist who gives away my money while still living a perfectly comfortable life in a gray-shingled house on the water that won't be that big but will probably still cost a lot of money with that sunset view and all. I want to be a person that people say is She's a Somebody, She's Good (whatever the heck that means).

But all this trying to be Somebody stuff--God, it's exhausting. And I'm kinda sick of it. How liberating would it be to just be a nobody? To live life without the need for the crowd's response? To screw all that seeking, wanting, its-never-enough-validation stuff. Ah, to be a Nobody . . . to want to be a nobody. How much freer would I feel?

So, Emily Dickinson, there's a pair of us now. But don't tell, they'd banish us you know. . . . (read the fricking poem for clarity on that last line--it's only 2 stanzas for goodness sake!)


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  2. This post reminds me of this bob dylan quote:

    "I think a poet is anybody who wouldn't call himself a poet."
    I'm not sure what he meant.I think of it as artists are seeking validation, whearas people who don't consider themselves artists are more content to just live which is less pretentious and more artistic.

    also thought of this tegan and sara song:

  3. Love this RS-perhaps when an artist surrenders fully to his/her creativity, it becomes less about the maker and more about what is created. Also-love that song-I hadn't heard it before, but love some of their other songs (i.e. where does the good go?). Hope you and Mol are having a great weekend!