I am, a provocative, yet simplistic statement. Within two words, it captures your past, present and future, your darkest demons, most secretive fantasies, and joyous bliss. I am is a declaration of how you hold the essence of what makes you, well you. It is a portrayal of the filter you use when you look at yourself, think about yourself, define yourself, and then share yourself with others. I’ve notice lately that I freely engage in conversations with people where I share my passions, my aspirations, my shortcomings, and my doubts, yet rarely do I make a bold statement starting with I am, aside from the times I finish that sentence with a mood. I struggle with moods, with staying in a consistent temperament, at least internally. Maybe that’s often why I’m told that I’m stoic, or have a gentle strength, or have such a calming presence, and simultaneous to those word, my insides crawl creep prowl with resentment. Inside I make many bold statements: I am angry, I am depressed, I am stoked, I am anxious. Often my declarations of moods are incongruent to my stoicism, but often the moods are so impressionable that I AM that mood. I don’t feel it, I AM it. I fully embody it, attach to it, fear it, crave it, deny it, hate it, love it, and don’t trust in its permanence. And so the moodiness pursues. And so the paradox ensues. Why can’t I be one of my passions? What do I feel passionate about? I love to do yoga, I love to dance, I love to write, I love to workout. BUT I have never been able to say: I AM a yogi, I AM a dancer, I AM an author, I AM a bodybuilder. I live in the verbs, but don’t own the nouns. I feel like a fraud in the nouns. If I do those things I AM those things, and I can be all of those things simultaneously, fluidly, dynamically, and more significantly I can hold and integrate all those parts of myself, while still being capable of completely being only one thing when I am absorb in it in the moment. So why can’t I claim these parts of me as me, instead of only things that I do? I’m feeling it plays into my relationship with my moodiness. When I am happy I want to be that way forever, but don’t trust it to stay with me and last. When I am sad, I resist feeling it, yet don’t trust that it too shall pass. Maybe claiming ownership over my passions scares the hell out of me for its lack of permanence. Maybe if I say I am a yogi I now have a certain pressure to always be that, to always act and do as a yogi does. Maybe if I say I’m a dancer then that means I need to know how to twerk and tap and not have stage fright. Maybe if I say I am an author I won’t give myself the space to draw. And if I say I am a bodybuilder I feel the pressure of having to uphold a certain image and feel guilty if I indulge in anything outside a watered down protein shake. Maybe in this moment I am okay with my passions being verbs as I create myself and integrate all parts of myself, and maybe instead of having to anNOUNt myself, I can instead learn to turn my moods into verbs and not claim I AM MOODY.