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Be Yourself

To be nobody but
yourself in a world
which is doing its best day and night to make you like
everybody else means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.

e e cummings

“Whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.”
― e e cummings

Delighting in a blizzard, I forgo the endless news telling you what’s right in front of you and instead read poetry and sip espresso. Were the snow deeper I might slip on the snowshoes and fly. Give it time, I think, and it will catch up to where my dreams are. Who doesn’t become a child again when hunkered down in a snowstorm?

There’s a spirit in a blizzard that calls me outside. Swirling snow globe bliss, shaken again and again until it spins madly about. The landscape is cloaked and the familiar appears foreign. I suppose it’s the adventure of being immersed in a storm that draws me outside, or maybe it’s the thought of doing what most people would tell me not to do. A blizzard is a rebellion against the norm. It turns our expectations upside down and does its own thing, and I find it reassuring and a bit thrilling.

“The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches.” — e e cummings

The ego is the enemy, the Stoics and Ryan Holiday would suggest, and this week my ego experienced a generous portion of highs and a healthy dose of lows. I put it all aside and focus on who I’d like to be instead. There’s no use living your life for the approval of others, for they only see the world through their own filter. You’ve got to be yourself, and find out who you are with every new experience, every new thrill and setback and odd twist of fate.

The wind picks up, and billions of snowflakes surf the breeze to beach themselves where they may, transforming the landscape in their huddled masses. Packed in together in swirling madness, most land where the wind takes them. But the funny part of a blizzard is that where the snow lands isn’t always where it might stay. The wind can easily lift snow up again, to land in an entirely different place.

The world is similarly mad. The masses land where they’re carried by the wind currents of place and expectation and obligation. Yet we might still surf the breeze and find our own landing place. Should we choose to get out there and fly.

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