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Now I See

Suddenly I See

Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm



I was flipping channels one late night and landed on a live performance by a woman I’d never heard of. I put down the remote, intending to have her sing background music as I worked. But this song captured me. I Googled it and I've been listening to it over and over. (So much that Little Bitty has started singing it. "She's a beautiful girl, she's a beautiful girl...")

A few weeks later, flipping channels again, I landed on opening sequence of The Devil Wears Prada and realized that this was the theme song for the movie. So it’s old news. Still, the lyrics to K.T. Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See” are fresh and vital for where I am right now. I think it says something about the way I used to feel about myself, the way I always thought I’d feel at this stage of my life—and the way I want to feel now.

Problem is, I’ve been hearing little things about myself lately—and seeing things in myself —that don’t fit that picture. The me I’d like to be is smooth around the edges. She has sea legs; she doesn’t waver or flail when things are in tumult. She does not suffer from procrastination, panic—or PMS.

The me I am has edges and sharp teeth. I do panic, quietly and frequently. I waver. I think one thing—consistently and firmly—until I say it aloud, with all possible didacticism. Then I change my mind. I have brilliant ideas that die of hunger and thirst. I think of the perfect thing to say—three days too late.

And I know I have to accept that. I have to forgive it. I have to mix it in with the fact that I can juggle a million things, think of the perfect gift, write a letter that will always get the interview, fry the best tofu anybody ever tasted, inspire someone to do their best thing, and make a comeback every single time.

I believe in accepting people being people—being human, being flawed, and being okay with that. I believe that in theory—that it’s okay to be messy and complicated and kinda wrong—but it’s damn hard to accept in practice. Not when you want to feel like a beautiful girl in a silver pool of light.

But if you want a face that’s a map of the world, then I believe you have to accept your own humanity—the mountains and valleys, the desert places and the flooding ones. The places where the sun comes up and the ones where all the bones are buried. You have to see all of that in you. And get to know it. And learn to love it.

I'm learning.

Self-knowledge is a nourishment. Self-acceptance is imperative. Self-worth is a treasure. (How’s that for didactic.)

By the way, the chorus of the song goes like this:

Suddenly I see this is what I want to be.
Suddenly I see why the hell it means so much to me.

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