I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. —Walt Whitman “Song of Myself”
It feels almost too easy — at least for me, a woman of words and literature — to quote Walt Whitman for myself on my birthday, but it feels so right.
Inspired by this poem, and the simple magic of its title, I offer up—to myself and the universe, to my friends and readers—a quick list of what I can sing to the heavens in celebration and appreciation of the person I am.
I feel I am a brave person; this makes me proud (though no less afraid)
I am so happy I feel compassion and empathy so deeply
I am vain in a totally appropriate way about my long, blonde hair; it brings me simple, daily joy
I love my long, slender fingers. I’m always amazed to see them in pictures. And my son has them, too.
I am lucky that words have always been my currency and coin, jangling around in my pocket. I am so satisfied that I have found ways to use my voice that bring me joy, peace and a sense of rightness
I am a good friend.
I am a good-enough and great mother.
I have an unbelievable memory, not for names but for moments, and clothing (what you were wearing when I met you), and the exact time I had any realization about life that made me go “oh!”
I do everything in a big way. Which used to worry me that I was artificially inflated. But in the last few years, I’ve become life size, and now know this is my simple, gestural truth: my drama is genuine. I think life deserves a sense of being eventful!
I am a poor loser when it comes to board games. Good thing I don’t lose that often. (And I really have to force myself to let my son win a game. And yes, I know how ridiculous that is.)
I love poetry, and I still hope to become a poet
I am at peace when I am in the middle of a grand landscape of nature—most especially mountaintops, forests. It is where I know I am home.
I am lucky. So lucky. Luckier than most. And today, I can really feel that.
And so today, I sing the song of myself, and I celebrate myself, and I am ever so very glad to have this space I can tell the truth of me and know it is always welcome.