Doubt is my most trusted traveling partner, that “curious questioner” who comes in the night, that voice that says what I’ve done is not what it should be, that I’m not what I should be. And it is then—out of a last-ditch, almost reluctant refusal to betray myself— that everything comes of which I am most proud.
Doubt is my friend and lover. Doubt need not be fear’d, but endured and embraced as a means to an end. I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way I became strong enough. Strong enough…. If I can, you can, too.
I too have—
I too have—felt the curious questioning come upon me.
In the day they came.
In the silence of the night came [they] upon me
It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall,
The dark threw its patches down upon me also,
The best I had done seem’d to me blank and suspicious,
My great thoughts as I supposed them, were they not in reality meagre?
Nor is it you alone ho know what it is to be evil,
I am he who knew what it was to be evil,
I too knitted the old knot of contrariety,
blabb’d, blush’d, resented, lied, stole, grudged,
Had guile, anger, lust, hot wishes I cared not speak,
Was wayward, vain, greedy, shallow, sly, cowardly, malignant,
The world, the snake, the hog not wanting in me,
The cheating look, the frivolous word, the adulterous wish, not wanting,
Refusals, hates, postponements, meanness, laziness, none of these wanting,
Was one with the rest, the days and haps of the rest. …”
—”Leaves of Grass, ‘Crossing Brooklyn Ferry’ briefs, p. 219.