Song of Myself

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Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

—Walt Whitman

Truth: if we listen to anyone long enough, they will say something contradictory.

Truth: if we listen to someone to the degree of fault-finding, we probably need more constructive hobbies.

Or in the very least, it can be an opportunity to shine the light back on ourselves. If we wonder how a person can live with all of their seeming contradictions, we’ve probably felt that same cruel scrutiny cast in our own directions. I’m sorry for that. If we are taught to love, then it’s true that we are also taught to hate. To be intolerable. Because someone was intolerant of us. We learn, somehow, that it is right to hold people accountable for their inconsistencies. But it takes a lot of energy. And what if we redirected it instead?

I did something seemingly contradictory this week. In my mind, even as it was happening, I knew what people would think. And I said to myself, “They aren’t me. They don’t pay my rent. Let them judge.”

Of course, I say “seemingly contradictory” because I knew how it would look.

Recently, I gave myself a pass, but not entirely—I gave myself permission to pretend at work.

This is true: “Esther Chase is a marketing professional and water activist who channels her passions into online projects that model her values.”

This is also true: There are projects born of my own imagination and creative spirit with which I struggle to make money. Some never turn a penny. And then, there are other people’s projects which are always more mainstream, where I lend a hand and they flourish.

Why the hell is that? I ask in jest, of course.

If you could be so kind as to explain the reasons why, I’m here to listen. You have my full attention.

Until then, maybe we shouldn’t judge.

Instead, I implore us to transform energy we formerly channeled into judgment into anything else, as long as it’s positive.

I’m happy to have some security for the next couple of months, even though I know liquidating the smaller of my retirement accounts is not a mainstream kind of thing to do. I know I can’t be the only one doing it right now, though.

I’m grateful to have imperfect people in my life, and all the baggage and contradictions that come with it.

If we get out of this pandemic still clinging to any sort of narcissisms, I believe it will have been a waste of our vast human potential and fortitude.

We are better than that.