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Friday, June 1, 2012

Venting

All day today I've been feeling pretty frustrated about how people who are different have to suffer. Not that I usually don't feel like this, but today somehow I was especially angry about the sidelining, and in many cases even abuse, faced by people who refuse to go by convention. It happens everywhere: in homes, schools and colleges, workplaces, public places like markets, public transport -- and even within establishments dealing with social work or religion. Some bigger issues of this kind permeate every mind and are usually discussed, but I was worried today about the small things, like someone not obeying the tenets of their religion or political party, or deciding to care about things they're not supposed to care about, or vice-versa. I can understand people of a religious/social/political circle having problems with accepting rebels as one of their own: after all every group has rules for its members. But no, people in general will point fingers, because they didn't fit the society's expected image. And in most cases these people are too greatly outnumbered to fight back. If one has to survive undisturbed, with their feelings (and sometimes more) unhurt, one has to conform. To be very direct, they have to be someone else and put up a fake personality that everyone will like to see.
As it happens when I think too deeply about something, I got all worked up about this, and needed to vent. And as usual, I turned a teeny bit poetic. I thought of a phrase 'known by another name', and started writing, which resulted in this piece that took up six pages of my thoughts diary. (More about that later, it was actually the next post planned). I don't know if I can really call it a poem, however since I sort of broke it up into lines, that's how I'm presenting it, and also labelling this post 'Poems'.
=====================================
Alias

No one knows my true name.
How could they? I never told them.
Every time they ask I give them that other name
That they like to hear:
A name that is pleasing to their ears,
Sweet in sound and meaning;
A name that embodies every bit
Of the grace, the cheer and the unassuming sweetness
That makes them love me --
And they cannot tell.

Yes, it is a precarious deception,
Yet an act necessary in order to be loved;
Not just loved, but to be given a sterling reputation
As one possessing every expected value;
To be respected
As honourable and morally upright;
To be conferred those titles -- titles t
hat I hate.
They reek of passive conformity.
They disgust me.

Must one behave thus?
Yes, they say, for that is 'right'.
Will you have me believe that we all show our true colours
And yet remain so similar when
We submit without protest
To every imposed ritual and convention?
I disagree. Perhaps some more than the other,
But we all are a different person inside
Whom we try hard, everyday,
To stifle and suppress
For that is the only way to have peace.
Those who do not try to please and to conform
Must fight. And I don't have the strength.

Not quite yet, at least.
Everyday the will to fight rages inside me,
Spurting at times from my raw wounds
As words of rebellion -- words that surprise the people:
And they ask if I'm alright.
I apologize, I smile, I draw back however I can --
I know I'm unprepared.
There is much I must see from beneath my veil
Before I can bring it all crashing down.

No, I am not lost. I am not defeated.
I only seek to protect what I love:
To cloak my tenderness with a will strong enough
To withstand whatever the heck they throw at me.
In the meantime, the act must continue.
Under my pretentious cover
I can safely grow and learn,
until the day  
I feel ready to reclaim the reins of my life
And define myself the way I want to;
And make it known to the world.

That day I'll be fearless of what they might do
To stop me; uncaring
Of what they might think.
Meanwhile, I enjoy the little bursts of freedom
That I can harmlessly allow myself.
They remind me that I am but asleep, dormant: waiting
For the opportune moment to strike;
And although I do not complain now
Inside, I am still the same --
I'm just known
By another name.

===================================== 

I feel better. Phew.

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