On January 8, 1790 in
The State of the Self is many things. It is a brief glimpse, a poetic celebration. I pay tribute to all the blessings and tragedies that have smoothed me into the person who stands before you, 28 years young.
Contrary to what I say tonight, this being a very special night, my State, how I am, will change. It will change as surely tomorrow as it did today. And so, my friends, I begin by telling you to not hold on to what I say. Believe it, acknowledge it, and know these words are my truth, but only for a little while. Life, as charismatic as it is unpredictable, will surely continue to smooth me and chisel me even further on February 28th, just as it did today.
I am pleased to report, in a word, in this first State of the Self address: I am strong. I am strong for many reasons. I am strong because I am resilient, because I am a woman. I am strong because I am loved, and because I am me. I am simply myself with a growing knowledge that this is all I am and all I have and thank God for it.
My intention is not to run down a long list of milestones that give personal measurement to my encounters with resilience, fortune, misfortune, or grace. My intention is to stand before the world, on my birthday and say, I am here. I am here still. I am here with more. I expect more from life, more from myself and am ecstatic to let go of past calamities to make room for further lessons and growth. I am here to say I am head over feet in love, so in love that my state of self cannot be honestly given without my heart taking a deep bow to my love, Adonis, with whom building a life has been more profoundly sweet than any dream I could have dreamed.
On February 27, 1979, I was born cesarean to a mother and father who belonged to a country I have still yet to see, a generation I may never fully understand, and unbendable values. On February 27, 2007, I have battled transitions from Republican to something else; pro-life to something else; a little girl to Someone Else. This Someone Else has plans to visit the
In my lifetime, I have battled tumors found benign, been delivered news of friends in fatal accidents, wept over bitter heartbreak, held dying children in my arms, and have wondered lost in spiritual and mental deserts of confusion and depression. In my lifetime, I’ve also photographed pictures that cannot be adequately captured and laughed so hard my mouth stretched into a new elasticity. In other words, I have lived.
I have a future that I am building for myself, for my life partner, for my future children, and for the world. I dream that I can give something in this lifetime that benefits another soul. As I age, I notice that I am becoming more certain of what I do NOT want than what I do. I know that I do not, cannot have a regular driving commute, work a 40+ hour work week, run errands on a time table with the rest of
I thought I was called to be a nun, then an actress, then a priest, then a writer, then a political activist, then a psychologist, then an educator, then a professional programmer, then a photographer…. Who would have thought: I am none of those things and all of those things at the same time.
When I lived in
I offer the same to you. I didn’t get here (“here” loosely and humbly defined) alone. I am here because of you and because of people like her whose names I cannot remember, but whose words changed me for the good. I am here because I have a thousand handprints on my skin and some of them were passing acquaintances, strangers, and forgotten individuals who shared a portion of their life with me and mine with them. Time has erased their names, but I remember what they said and how they changed me. If you are here, it is because you have changed me, significantly. You have changed me to be 28 and full of life, hope, and expectation. You have smoothed me to be less rough, less angry, and more human. It is because of you I have learned to love and live and I am forever indebted to you in friendship.
Thank you and good evening.