I have a favorite poem I want to share with you. I discovered it in high school, and it has always meant something to me (though the meaning changes to me as I grow and change):
I Am Cherry Alive
By Delmore Schwartz
“I am cherry alive,” the little girl sang,
“Each morning I am something new:
I am apple, I am plum, I am just as excited
As the boys who made the Hallowe’en bang:
I am tree, I am cat, I am blossom too:
When I like, if I like, I can be someone new,
Someone very old, a witch in a zoo:
I can be someone else whenever I think who,
And I want to be everything sometimes too:
And the peach has a pit and I know that too,
And I put it in along with everything
To make the grown-ups laugh whenever I sing:
And I sing it is true; it is untrue;
I know, I know, the true is untrue,
The peach has a pit, and the pit has a peach:
And both may be wrong when I sing my song,
But I don’t tell the grown-ups: because it is sad,
And I want them to laugh just like I do
Because they grew up and forgot what they knew
And they are sure I will forget it some day too.
They are wrong. They are wrong. When I sang my song, I knew, I knew!
I am red, I am gold, I am green, I am blue,
I will always be me, I will always be new!”
I usually make it a personal policy not to comment or respond to anonymous comments. I also make it a policy not to delete them. Anonymous is always entitled to their opinion. Anonymous can sometimes be kind, thoughtful, and flattering, but sometimes Anonymous is just doing a drive by shooting. Spitting out their own mean spirited thoughts that are meant to do nothing more than attempt to break you down. That said, I am going to respond to this anonymous comment, because it actually got me noodling a little. I wish that I could thank Anonymous by name, but Anonymous did not leave me their name… oh well…
This was the comment: Are you often overcome with such silly delusions of adequacy?
This was my response: Anonymous, I know you were trying to be mean spirited, but actually, the answer is, yes. So, there.
The truth is, I am very often overcome with silly delusions of adequacy. I suspect I’m not alone in this. My default position is to feel like I can’t be everything I need to be. I cannot be the mom I want to be because I am busy trying to be the wife I want to be, I cannot be the wife I want to be because I am busy trying to be the friend I want to be, I cannot be the friend I want to be because I am busy trying to be the ____ I want to be, and I cannot be the ____ I want to be because I am busy trying to be the mom I want to be. Lather, rinse, repeat. That is my neutral. So, in the rare moment that I feel like I am good enough… yes, it feels like a silly delusion. Are you with me, so far?
Here’s the secret: I don’t have to be adequate in the eyes of “Anonymous.” You don’t have to be adequate in the eyes of “Anonymous.” (It bears noting, that “Anonymous” is not by any means “adequate” in my eyes, because an adequate person would not hurl mean spirited comments behind the veil of anonymity.) Anonymous doesn’t care, and frankly, neither do I, because what matters is that we are adequate to ourselves, and to those that we care the most about. That is what unconditional love is all about. The tricky thing is being conscious about loving yourself unconditionally, and making THAT your default position, and believing that, yes indeed, you are adequate (and in fact amazing) even (and especially) when you are having one of those times when you want to be everything. And even if “Anonymous” thinks is a “silly delusion,” you can be sure that it is not. So, there. Thank you, “Anonymous.”