I`m Nobody! Who Are You?
by Emily Dickinson
I`m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there`s a pair of us–don`t tell!
They`d banish–you know!
How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one`s name the live long day
To an admiring bog!
How well Emily always relates to people by squirreling right down to the nub of what makes us tick: the paradox of being a very private person in public view. I can so relate to the stresses involved in interacting with others when I would much rather seek blessed sanctuary within the confines of my imagination. But we all have to exist within the “real” world, whether it be a computer simulation or one of actual flesh and blood: either way, there are many who would argue for a great architectural director of operations.
To Emily, private life meant just that: doctors would have to peer at her fully clothed figure through a doorway to make a diagnosis of health; her interaction with the public beyond her property was negligible……“How public like a frog/ To tell one`s name the live long day/ To an admiring bog! The last word was her derogatory term for the mass of people beyond her front gate. Her privacy as a virtual nobody in her own lifetime was worn as a prideful badge of honour: what intellectual and egotistical need did she have of fortune and fame?
Yet, there was an urge for public recognition simmering away inside of her: and this is the profound paradox of being Emily; she liked the idea of being widely known and appreciated, but disliked the thought of meeting actual people and pressing the flesh in social engagement. I think she would have revelled in the inviting technological bosom of modern social media: she could reach out and interact with millions of following Twitterati without meeting a single admirer; here she could indulge herself to her heart`s content with complete physical disconnection, while maintaining contact in real time. Ideal for an aggressively obsessive recluse who craves adulation for her talents.
Perhaps secretly she wanted to be that frog sitting upon it`s lily pad and holding court over an admiring bog.