Thursday, October 15, 2009

In All My Contradictory Glory: A Manifesto of Sorts

"Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater."
~Gail Godwin

"I celebrate myself;
And what I assume you shall assume;
For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you."
~ Walt Whitman

I've always had a secretly flamboyant side. I certainly behave in a more reserved manner most of the time. In fact, childhood shyness kept me from voicing my true self in situation after situation when I was young. But deep down, I'm a ham. I find that talking in silly accents for effect is liberating. My hands (and arms) don't know how not to flail, talking their own language right along with me. And I have never had an issue with not being heard. "Your voice naturally carries," a choir teacher once used tactful euphemism to inform me of my loudness.

Blame it on genetics--I come from a long line of loud, outspoken people. My mother, if her mood is right, will do everything within her power to convince you of just how hilarious she is--usually with complete success.

The more you ease yourself into that place of comfort found best with friends, the more you realize how extremely animated I can get. Alice (the best friend/roommate) knows me best and has, bless her, been driven to shush me in many a public setting.

I celebrate this part of myself. The loud, unfrightened me. The girl all ease in her own skin, unconcerned with the volume of her voice, the space her waving hand-speak takes up. I love the energy that me has, the kinetic vibrancy of her. It is the me that once had the courage to dance and sing and play like she was someone else up on a stage. It is the me that can stand in front of 35 high school freshmen and know she owns the room. She has presence.

Ani DiFranco voiced it perfectly, "I like to take up space just because I can." The animated me lives by that mantra.

For all that is wild and frenetic in me, I have another side too. The side that curls into a book, into her own quietude. The youngest child of the flamboyant family still processing her world, unseen in a corner. The poet that observes from afar, disconnected and imaginative. Head above clouds.

I sometimes wonder if this is my father's genetic code insisting I am his in every way. If it is the shy part of me finding ease in being just what it is.

I celebrate this girl in me also. She is both thoughtful and wise. Her peace and quiet bring a sense of clarity to my existence. This side recharges me, prepares me. This is the self that grounds me, humbles me, ties me to my faith and spirituality with firm and nourishing roots. She is the mellow one and, just as I embrace the boldness, I too must equally grasp tightly to this hushed self.

I am all contradiction and today I celebrate that fact. I celebrate myself today because I have a new goal. It is, quite simply, this: be positive. That is all. No more slanderous gossip or eye rolling. No more dreading of work or dishes or bill paying or unwanted obligations. No more self-deprecation or sarcasm or dark and self-cruel wit. Today is mine. My mind can alter my perspective. So I'm working on celebrating what I do have. No easy task, this one. But this life is mine and I intend to laud every detail. Wish me luck.


Stephanie said...

We are kindred. I applaud your goal, I wish you the best of luck, and I find myself inspired. Thank you!

Jen said...

Love it. I wish my soft-spoken voice matched my inner loud voice, sometimes.

Libby said...

Cheers to you and your two-ness! I'm glad you reviewed Bright Star. Since I don't get to the movies much, I already saved it for my Netflix queue.

Now about Grey Gardens-have you seen the original? I recommend seeing that one first. Then check out the remake. Both are great in my opinion, but it helps to see the real deal first. Both are available on Netflix. See them now!! Then report back.

Eva said...

I'm a pea from the same pod. The simultaneously loud and quiet pod.

Stine said...

What a wonderful post B! And I couldn't agree with you more.

Rie Pie said...

What are you doing this saturday between 6-9?? I'm having a halloween-harry potter party, please come if you can! I have your invite but I keep forgetting to bring it to you. Ugh, I'm a flake.

ps. This is a really great post! I love how creative and talented you are.

Kimmy said...

I love the bit of your flambouyant side that I've seen. (Hangin' Tough rocks!) I am eagerly waiting to join you anytime you wish to carry on a conversation in silly accents.