Like many Jewish folks, I tend to toast with the Hebrew conjunction l’chaim which means to life. To me, it’s a beautiful sentiment because it’s not qualified by anything. It’s not to a fantastic life or to a lucrative life or to a peril-free life. It’s just to life, whatever that might include in that moment. If it’s beautiful and joyful, hey – to that life! If it’s daunting and treacherous, well, then let’s acknowledge that, too.
In my early twenties, though, I somehow discovered that one of my friends, who didn’t know the word l’chaim, experienced the kind of automatic translation our brains so often make when song lyrics are opaque. It’s tiny dancer, not Tony Danza. In this case, it was l’chaim and what he heard, for years, was “Look who I am!”
We got a good laugh when we realized the misunderstanding but, dang, that’s a pretty great affirmation, too. Imagine sitting with a group of friends, beverage of whatever sort raised, eyes searching each other’s out, with a rousing pronouncement of, “Look who I am!”
Pretty great, right?
I was thinking about that this morning as I listened to a Pandora playlist I’ve been massaging to offer the ultimate at-home hip-hop club experience. You know how it goes training Pandora stations, and it’s getting there… So, this morning, an Iggy Azalia track came up. Of the maybe four tracks I’ve heard her on, at least two of them include a line that cracks me up every time. She says, “Iggy is!”
I can’t help it – I love it! It’s jam packed with bluster, for sure. An almost hyper-confidence seems to be a part of mainstream hip-hop culture but why not? The other side of that coin is our fetish for denying our skills and talents and, I’ve got to ask you, is it serving us?
Truly, how often have you squelched your own ability and individuality beneath the crushing fear of getting too big for your britches or appearing narcissistic? Good golly, how often we mistake self-acknowledgement for hubris.
Look who I am!
These emphatic exclamations are all embracing the same thing: what is.
It’s so easy to live in a world of if/thens. If I had this, did that, was lighter, smarter, wealthier, better… then life would be worth celebrating. Then I would be valuable.
Look who you are, my friend. Exactly as you are right now, flawed, as are all humans, filled with talent and uniqueness and potential, as are all humans.
I’m raising a glass to your life exactly as it is right now, as flawed and filled with potential as you.