“I Am Large, I Contain Multitudes”
It’s easy to feel boxed in at your job or in your personal life, so today, in honor of Walt Whitman’s 192nd birthday, remember: Occasionally contradicting yourself isn’t the worst thing in the world.
“Song of Myself” from Whitman’s Leaves of Grass is a celebration of both the unique and the universal. One of his most poignant verses reminds us that we are never just one thing, and all the quirks, imperfections, and contradictions are par for the course.
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself;
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Next time you find yourself doing something unusual or contradictory that surprises other people or yourself, remember that you contain multitudes. Sometimes that contradiction is a sign of progress. See the whole epic poem on the Walt Whitman Archive below. Photo remixed from one by Dave Heuts.
Song of Myself – Leaves of Grass (1892-92) | The Walt Whitman Archive