Oct 14

“I’m Nobody, Who are You?”

Emily DickinsonI’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

~ Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886

This has always been one of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson. And after reading and researching her life, it makes complete sense that she felt this way. As a gifted woman writer, she lived during a time in history and culture when women were not regarded as having the ability to be great writers, nor was she allowed the opportunity to express herself through her words and be acceptable in her lifetime.

When I read her poetry, I realize that there are still many women who feel as if they are “nobody,” and they wonder if anyone else feels like that. As a mother of young children, many years ago (and still having young teens at home who need their mama once in a while!) I know that the tasks of motherhood frequently feel unnoticed and unappreciated. But since we are all called to our own ministry and mission, whatever we are doing to honor God in our lives is important.

I read an article the other day about how social media is creating a “culture of despair.” That sounded quite philosophical to me, so of course, I was fascinated! I read about the research that has been done that indicates our culture is so engrossed in displaying personal “perfection” through the avenue of social media, that we all tend to see others as having more, being more, and succeeding more in life than is (humanly) possible.

FrogAnd that in turn causes people to feel “less than” all those other glamorous, beautiful, talented, successful, wealthy, “perfect” people we see on our Facebook pages or on our Instagram feed or on our Twitter scrolls. Or whatever they are called!

Of course we are all intelligent enough to know in our head that other people’s lives are not perfect . . . . but when we see those beautiful pictures of the latest Pinterest-worthy creations, or the lavish wedding dresses / cakes / receptions / ceremonies, or when we read about an amazing vacation, or stunning engagement ring, or award-winning kid – well, we become less than satisfied with our own regular, ol’ mundane life.

We could blame it all on our culture, with social media everywhere bombarding us with unrealistic images of bodies, relationships, clothing, houses, children, food, manicures, pedicures, blah, blah, blah –

but Emily Dickinson proves that this is not a cultural problem, it is a human problem. And, although I can’t speak for a man’s perspective, I know that this kind of thinking haunts even the most confident woman you know.

So let us celebrate the successes of others; let us acknowledge the achievements of those who are famous; let us recognize the accomplishments of the geniuses among us; let us applaud those who are great writers, speakers, teachers, leaders, musicians, and athletes . . . . but let us also remember that everyone is somebody’s hero, even if you’ve never heard their name or recognize their face. We all have gifts, we all have strengths, and we all have a story to tell. And every story is important. So tell yours, because someone needs to hear it.

While you are thinking about telling your story, please join us for the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop, sponsored by Katherine’s Corner. Hope I get a chance to connect with you this week!

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  1. Cheryl

    Thank you for the message, very well written and just in time when I was feeling down and out. Thanks again!!

    1. Nina

      Hi Cheryl – thanks for stopping by Vintage Mama’s Cottage. I think many of us feel this way at some time throughout our lives, probably more than a few times actually. I really feel that God has put on my heart a determination to tell other women that they are “enough.” That when we are living our lives to honor God, even if no one else notices or cares, our obedience to Him is enough. Hope you stop back again soon! Nina

  2. Mary Dolan Flaherty

    Just what we were talking about last night, Nina! I love this—sooooo true!

    1. Nina

      Hi Mary – this is something I had been thinking about for quite some time, so I think our conversation prompted me to put my thoughts into writing. Thanks for the inspiration! ;o)

  3. Cecilia Marie Pulliam

    I have been reading many posts lately on this subject. One of the best quotes was from AA: No comparisons. We are neither inferior or superior to anyone. It is their definition of humility. It changed my view of myself and the world. And the moment I start to think about what someone else has that I think I don’t, I remember those two words: no comparisons, and move on with my life. 🙂

  4. Kathryn Ross

    Well, this post I love!

    Emily was a bit of a tortured soul in her time–but she left raw words that echo in every woman’s heart in one way or another. I’m starting a new series on the PWP blog about crossing the threshold of our potential. Much of what you shared here has been in my thoughts of late. Great things to share with you–must talk soon!


  5. Michele

    I loved this post. I am a big fan of Emily Dickinson. It is easy for me to feel like a nobody, I live in a new city an i work from home. I write things and then wonder if anyone ever reads them. I have to work to stay positive, but I usually do.

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