Who am I?

Naomi Wright - Senegal


September 21, 2010

At 4:46 PM on Monday, September 20th, I sat down with the intent to answer that question.

Lounging in the welcome shade of  Petaluma oak trees, I struggled to find even a reference point for where to begin. Should I look to my past? My circumstances up till now—people I’ve known, things I’ve experienced, places I’ve visited, the innate inclinations I was born with—collectively steered me toward choosing to pursue a Global Citizen Year. But I can’t affect any of that, it’s already happened.

Maybe I should look into the future? I can anticipate what I will encounter, how I will react, and try to establish goals for the next seven months. But, as Dumbledore would say, “Divination is an inexact science,” and one I won’t use to define myself.

Given that neither the past nor the future can tell me who I am, all I have is now. I am here: excited, breathing, wanting to absorb all that I can, as it happens, with what can only be described as voracity.

Because my penchant for prose only goes so far, here’s a bit of poetry that (hopefully!) articulates how I define myself today: by the preciousness of this very instant.

So much depends on
A red wheel barrow,
Bone marrow
Dull with the bloody sunrise,
Eyes on the horizon of today.

But I breathe the crystal terror
Of frozen what’s-been,
And feel my feet seize
With an ease that’s all too comforting.

However, the winds of change
Breeze past too often
My no-relax, solid-glass
Window barrier.

But I want to breathe that air.

Naomi Wright