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Search For Yourself
Alexander Sapien on Walt Whitman and staying true to one's self.
Sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.
Sometimes I know that I’m not doing the right thing, but I have no idea what the right thing really is. I’m always searching for myself, my goals, my aspirations, and rarely do I ever seem to find them for long.
This very sentiment is found within the poem “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitmam.
Included in the poetry collection Leaves Of Grass, the poem is one that wades through different territories, different emotions, and different people. It discusses the sexual fantasy of a woman who suffers from loneliness and isolation, it discusses how the fears of being looked down upon can shape our actions, control us, and who we present ourselves to be.
In presenting yourself as someone, something, that you are not, aren’t you simply robbing yourself of...yourself? Eventually, the person that you truly are will fade away, replaced by a hollow caricature which concerns itself more with thoughts of others than thoughts of oneself.
“Song of Myself” begins with the word ‘I’ and ends with the word ‘you,’ both signifying individuality. We are not just a collective, bound by the normality of the society around us. We are people, we have goals, we have aspirations, we have lives. I am me, you are you. We are both our own person.
The poem ends as such:
“You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.”
What is the “I” in this ethereal stanza of hope? It could be many things—a new job, a lover, a home. In truth, it does not matter what the “I” is. It will be there, whenever it needs to show itself, it will be there. When, where, and why, all depends on you.
Alexander Sapien is a writer who likes to write and a filmmaker who likes to film.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) is one of the most celebrated of American poets. He was born on Long Island and lived much of his life in Brooklyn, New York.