Me and I

me and i image

I am I .   (Barbara Blackman from book, ‘Glass After Glass’)

I am I and no other.  Not other has or ever can be this I.    It came into me as a baby.    Is the same I as in me now, a little girl, the same I that will be in me as I grow, as a grown-up, as an old old lady, and on beyond that.   What happens to this I is the ME that other people can see, acting out all this life.    So it will be all right whatever happens to ME because the inner secret I can never be changed or lost.     (Art by Charles Blackman , ‘Christabel and Her Image’ (1966).  Original in colour.)

Footnote:  I found this piece only recently when I finally began reading a book  given to me 16 years ago.   The piece could simply be helpful in understanding the complex nature of identity, how others perceive who we are, and how we need to hold on to our own sense of self despite this and other influences.  Personally, I also put this in the context of abuse, as I still struggle with my own experience of it and know many others do too.

Abuse can leave you feeling stripped of your ‘I’ – alone and displaced.    Part of the process of dealing with abuse is the reclaiming of the self.  And the pain and shame can turn you against yourself – drive you to cause yourself harm.  So it’s a comforting thought to think ‘whatever happens to ME’ ….I’ll always have an ‘inner secret I’ that can never be changed or lost.   I guess the challenge is to hold on to the ‘I’ and look after it no matter what happens to the ‘ME’. Pass this post on …..and may we all try to do more good things for ourselves to strengthen our individual and collective ‘I’s’…. and be more mindful of the ‘I’ in others and how fragile that can be.   (There’s a hotel in St Kilda, Melbourne full of Charles Blackman’s art .)