Ideal self

The ideal person you wish to be,
That perfect image you’re aiming for,
What if part of you is already free
And you are that deep in your core?
We’re afraid to do what we want,
Or idle in front of the change,
And it remains merely a taunt,
There, but still out of range.
But if we know we’re already that,
We’re less scared of losing the way.
We know where we want to get at,
And the path on which we should stay.
So think of things that better you
Instead of unexpected evolutions,
As things that bring out your true
And keep looking for solutions.

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Cherry cake

Did you like this or did I?
Do I do it because of you or myself?
I’m desperately craving our cherry cake
But I know better than to trust the craving.
It’s been a while now. I’ve done fine.
Haven’t thought of you so much.
I’m starting to find myself again,
But it’s a complicated, painful process.
You know when two people are together
And the sense of ‘me’ and ‘you’ blurs,
There are things you do together,
And things that you both like
But you never would have on your own?
I’m trying to reclaim my parts,
But it’s like sifting through sand –
You can’t distinguish a single grain
But even if you do, you can’t pick it
Or else the whole mound would come down.
I know why it happens. It makes sense.
You should share things with your beloved.
It promotes empathy. You fight less.
But the aftermath is a disaster,
Because I loved you so completely,
My brain and heart opened wide
And swallowed your tastes, your opinions
And made them so seamlessly my own
That I lost my own voice to them.
I don’t know who I am anymore.
And I knew it would happen.
I was so, so very careful. That’s why
I dyed my hair blonde when you said black,
That’s why I had to remind myself
That I actually hate that tea of yours
And only drink it to keep you company
Whenever my tastebuds kept quiet,
Lulled into that semblance of pleasure
That only came from long exposure.
You were foolhardy. Some things I did,
You took them up so whole-heartedly
You can’t stop doing them even now,
Even though they always bring you
That painful reminder of me and what was.
I couldn’t afford that.
I did everything I could.
I kept things separate.
Threw out everything that
Didn’t come intrinsically from me
The second we broke apart.
I’m becoming me again.
But damn, I just can’t remember
Who liked the freaking cherry cake.

Because you’re special

We come up with a thousand reasons

To explain to people why they are special.

We like talking about their beauty,

Both inside and out, those luminous eyes

And kind smiles. We talk about

The things that they do, the achievements,

And the troubles they’ve stayed out of.

We talk about things that

They hold no merit for, that just happened,

Like the family they were born into.

And it helps. For a while.

But rarely do we realize the conditions

That we imply to exist. Our talking

Implies that their uniqueness disappears

Over years when their beauty fades,

When their abilities fail, or in places

In which their background is irrelevant.

Everybody thinks it at the back of their mind.

That’s why we hang onto things,

Onto easy, comfortable, known stuff,

That’s why we identify ourselves with things

That should be just a passing stage.

We don’t allow ourselves to become more.

But we can change that. You can change it.

Instead of thinking of the things

Because of which you’re special,

Try to consider, just once, the things

That you can do. Because you’re special.

Above and beyond any happy, misguided reason.

Glass Walls

I might have driven my mind crazy.
A lifetime of insecurities
Is screaming in my ear to panic,
It’s screaming that I’m lost, alone,
That I am not good enough.
And for the first time in my life,
It’s probably right, I’m probably not;
And for the first time in my life,
I’m tuning it out and minding my way,
because this is non-negociable.
This is what I want my life to be,
And I’ll be damned if I cower.
But I’ve skipped a couple hundred steps –
I’m someone who learns to persevere
In the very first situation
In which things don’t magically appear.
I’ve never had to work at all,
And now I have to work hard.
And my mind is desperately telling me
That I can’t, that I won’t,
And I see her lips moving
Through the glass walls
Of the prison I put it behind.
It’s a strange disconnection,
But it’s relieving, buoying…
It’s just a shame the feeling escapes me,
Since the thing that was supposed
To relay it to me in the first place
Is stuck behind glass walls
And otherwise preoccupied.

 

(image: Simon Heijdens exhibit)

Unfortunately rephrased

People have a morbid kind of passion
For all the negativity in the world.
They especially seem to adore putting
An ‘unfortunate’ label to everything.
But how often is it really the correct one?

I may have quite a few quirks.
Unfortunately, this makes friends hard to come by.
But maybe it is fortunate instead,
Because every one of my friends
Are people who I can truly count on,
Not having to worry that I should seed out
Those who would disappear when the going gets tough.

I am quite shy and quiet.
Unfortunately, this makes my ideas hard to hear.
But maybe it is fortunate instead,
Because all those who listen
Are genuinely interested
In what I have to say.

I’ve been called childish and naive.
Unfortunately, this makes me easy to take advantage of.
But maybe it is fortunate instead,
Because with every person
Who steps over me for their success
I get a little wiser, a little tougher,
A little less likely to fall for the same trap.

Unfortunately, I didn’t always get the things I wanted.
Fortunately, this lead me to the things I needed.
Unfortunately, I often lost my way.
Fortunately, this made me keep rediscovering myself.
Unfortunately, I was not too good at the things I did.
Fortunately, this allowed me to commit to them,
And know that I truly deserved it when I succeeded.

‘Unfortunately’ and ‘fortunately’
Are just two sides of the same coin,
A coin so small it can flip over
With a single harder exhale from you.
It’s just a little bit of rephrasing
That all writers should be
Intimately familiar with.
So how about, every once in a while,
We all choose to listen instead
To the fortune withing the ‘unfortunately’,
And the possibilities of an ‘impossible’?

Self-ful

You are not selfish.
It is not selfish to know what you think,
What you want and how to achieve it
And then act accordingly.
It is not selfish to choose yourself
Over what people want from you, of you,
Not selfish to respect yourself enough
To use the only life you’ll ever be given
To make peace for yourself.

You are not selfless.
It is not selfless to know what you think,
What you believe and how to stand by it
And then act accordingly.
It is not selfless to help others
If that is the standard you hold yourself to,
Not selfless to respect yourself enough
To use the only life you’ll ever be given
To turn your life meaningful.

You are self-ful.
You are your self and aware of it
Irrespective of the world around you.
You are the colours you paint yourself,
Choose the pigments that go into you
And the lines that are drawn out of you,
Not mindlessly soak whatever comes your way.
You are a calm eye looking inward,
Around which rages a chaotic storm.
You are an unchanged transition,
Self-determined, self-defined.
It’s an impossible concept for weaker people
So they try to label you in pitiful confusion,
Not comprehending how you can be
Both and neither, everything and nothing.
Not that you care.
You are too full of self
To need anyone else’s opinion.