“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
—Walt Whitman, poet
The acknowledgement is certainly true; when you dive into the core of what makes me who I am, you will find more facets than an expertly cut gemstone, each one vast and expansive, so it is no wonder that contradictions arise. “I contain multitudes.” The potentially understated truth rings out again as I repeat the phrase over and over, speaking the words out loud, in a strained attempt to understand myself.
“I contain multitudes.” My pieces abound, filling me with various morals and behaviors and interests, fitting together like a puzzle (albeit a fluid one) to create the human being that I am. The whole of me is divided into parts, too many to keep track of so don’t insult me by trying. I cannot be boiled down into a single substance; I am more complex than that.
“I contain multitudes,” but two opposing personalities prevail:
1. I am a badass bitch from hell and I take no shit. I am at times overly aggressive, but I blame you because you provoked me. I hold myself tall in spite of my stature, and intensity flies from my hands as I gesticulate wildly in unison with my words. I stare daggers at you —they pierce your very soul. You may not be intimidated, but FUCK does it feel good to assume you are. My confidence is natural. I am a force to be reckoned with. Even with the world out to get me, my shields are impenetrable.
2. I am sweet, gentle, innocent. The world is harsh and I need to be defended from it. I want to be defended from it. Cruelty, which exists in amounts too high, hurts my heart already weary from taking on the pain of everyone around me. I absorb energy like some sort of empathetic sponge, may God damn the portion of my brain in charge of that shit. I am molded around ideals of what you want me to be, the struggle to define myself too much to handle. My eyes leap to the ground at the first sign of disappointment and only flick up to meet yours when it feels safe enough to do so. I crave comfort. I seek calm.
“Do I contradict myself?” How silly to ask. I do, and frequently, vacillating between two distinct versions of myself every other minute, all in the matter of a single conversation. The juxtaposition is obvious and confusing. It begs the question: how is such a phenomenon possible?
“Unity is plural, and at minimum, two.”
—Buckminster Fuller, author and inventor
I am and always have been of two distinct poles. It’s a simple truth that pervades all aspects of my life. I am highs and lows in rapid succession, incredible joy next to impossible sadness, light and darkness wrapped up and folded within themselves.
But if not for my parts how would I exist as a whole? I am all of my facets, and isn’t the assembly necessary? After all, “unity is plural.” Addition may combine two or more numbers, but the sum is its own entity regardless.
How is such a phenomenon possible? I am a sweet, gentle, innocent badass bitch from hell. I am overly aggressive, but the world is harsh and I need to defend myself from it. I hold myself tall but don’t always look you in your eyes. I gesticulate wildly while absorbing your anxiety and her stress and his energy. My confidence is natural, my need for comfort real and persistent and intense.
It is obvious I’m confusing. But…
I am the embodiment of yin and yang, I am the promise of a rainbow after the storm, I am reminder of differences coexisting. I am who I am.
I am proof that it doesn’t need to make sense.