Let’s all bust out of the little versions of ourselves that we reveal to the world. The little versions that answer “okay” every time someone asks how we are, even if what we are is sad, depressed, indignant, disappointed or any other emotion that we all feel.
Let’s all stop being reserved when what we really are is excited, exuberant, joyous or any other emotion that we all feel.
And let's all stop being ashamed of our shyness, boldness, goofiness, seriousness. Let's all stop trying to be an extrovert when we're really an introvert, or the other way around.
Whatever it is that we are, let’s be it. Own it. Take the risk of being fully ourselves.
One of my favourite poems by Tony Hoagland is called Personal. I like to read it out loud every once in a while with all the vigor of a daytime soap actress, with the emotional tendency of an Italian opera singer, with the absolute lunacy of people that yell at the ocean in the hopes that the waves will carry their desperation out to sea, never to return.
Try it. It's a bloody good time.
Don’t take it personal, they said;
but I did, I took it all quite personal--
the breeze and the river and the color of the fields;
the price of grapefruit and stamps,
the wet hair of women in the rain--
And I cursed what hurt me
and I praised what gave me joy,
the most simple-minded of possible responses.
The government reminded me of my father,
with its deafness and its laws,
and the weather reminded me of my mom,
with her tropical squalls.
Enjoy it while you can, they said of Happiness
Think first, they said of Talk
Get over it, they said at the School of Broken Hearts
but I couldn’t and I didn’t and I don’t
believe in the clean break;
I believe in the compound fracture
served with a sauce of dirty regret,
I believe in saying it all
and taking it all back
and saying it again for good measure
while the air fills up with I’m-Sorries
like wheeling birds
and the trees look seasick in the wind.
Oh life! Can you blame me for making a scene?
You were that yellow caboose, the moon
disappearing over a ridge of cloud.
I was the dog, chained in some fool’s backyard;
barking and barking:
trying to convince everything else
to take it personal too.