“I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited.”-Jorge Luis Borges
I’d come across this quote on Pinterest and it has been on my mind ever since.
Maybe it’s the teenage identity crisis or the influence of the ever-enlarging media, while constantly trying to re-invent myself, always trying to be different than everyone else, I have developed this feeling of what if I end up becoming a copy and not an original.
If I start pulling quotes too much from my favourite books and start reciting the poems of my favourite poets too often will all my thoughts just be borrowed and nothing else?
Will I end up being an echo?
As it is our times here are limited, what if I am unable to reinvent myself enough to be an original?
In me, I have this ambition of being new, something novel, I have this ambition of being me.
With all this said, here’s my version of this quote:
Do I exist?
At first I was sure, I exist,
and I am me,
but what was it to be me?
what were the thoughts that I called my own?
Harry1 inspired me to “burn with my natural passions”,
but it became difficult for me to find them.
Thoreau told me to “launch myself on every wave“,
but at the time I didn’t understand what it meant.
Whitman reminded me to “contribute my verse”,
But what was “my” verse?
Jorge Luis then added his share,
I am a mixture of everything that was there!
“I am all the writers that I have read,
all the people that I have met,
all the women that I have loved;
all the cities I have visited,
all my ancestors.”
And then I realised,
that there was also more to me;
I am all the choices I have made,
all the adventures I have taken,
all the lies I have told,
and all the words I have chosen
I am all the calories I gained,
all the tears that I lost,
all the stuff toys beside my bed,
all the clothes in my loft.
There were parts of me everywhere,
afterall I did have my “natural passions”
and I did launch myself on new waves
and I had contributed my verse
I didn’t end up being an echo,
learned my lessons from Dorian2,
realised there was so much more in me,
that only I could give!
1- another name for Lord Henry Wotton in Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture Of Dorian Gray
2- protagonist of Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture Of Dorian Gray
The people I have mentioned in the poem:
1. Thoreau- Henry David Thoreau
2. Whitman- Walt Whitman
3. Jorge Luis- Jorge Luis Borges
To add on, here’s some Lord Henry philosophies/inspirations (which also happens to be one of my favourite quotes ever from a book)
“There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr. Gray. All influence is immoral-immoral from the scientific point of view……
Because to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realise one’s nature perfectly–that is what each one of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one’s self. Of course, they are charitable. They feed the hungry and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve and are naked……………..”
Thanks for reading!