“Michigan Essay” (Excerpt) – Sufjan Stevens

We have been called to participate in the world’s creation from the very beginning.  Making music.  Baking cakes.  Sewing curtains.  These things mean something greater: that we have been known from the very start.  Our eye color, our hairline, our jawline, the shape of our big toe, the tone of our voice.  These things have been designed from the very beginning.  What kind of music we listen to.  The sort of skirt that looks good.  The baseball cap, the tennis shoe, the orange bandana.  We have been made to find these things for ourselves and take them in as ours, like adopted children: habits, hobbies, idiosyncrasies, gestures, moods, tastes, tendencies, worries.  They have been put in us for good measure.

Perhaps we don’t like what we see: our hips, our loss of hair, our shoe size, our dimples, our knuckles too big, our eating habits, our disposition.  We have disclosed these things in secret, likes and dislikes, behind doors with locks, our lonely rooms, our messy desks, our empty hearts, our sudden bursts of energy, our sudden bouts of depression.  Don’t worry.  Put away your mirrors and your beauty magazines and your books on tape.  There is someone right here who knows you more than you do, who is making room on the couch, who is fixing a meal, who is putting on your favorite record, who is listening intently to what you have to say, who is standing there with you, face to face, hand to hand, eye to eye, mouth to mouth.  There is no space left uncovered.  This is where you belong.


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