Let me be me!

Why is it,

That when I tell them,

I can’t be,

Somebody else,

I am me,

They stare at me,

Those deprecating eyes,

Like I’m some leper,

To be despised?

__________

I’m the same as they,

Maybe just a bit deranged,

But does that make me strange?

I think not!

Just sometimes,

Unlike the lot.

But blotted I am,

Just the same.

Shut out from their worlds,

Like I’m contraband.

__________

But this is me!

Why can’t you see?

I won’t change,

So quit with your refrain.

Let me be me,

And be gone,

With your restraints,

Coz I’m not one,

For being chained.


This poem was among the many, many I had written in my college years. I think the teenage angst carried well into my early adulthood. Now when I look back at those pieces I don’t understand why they were so angry, emo and gothic. Was I feeling so left out and lonesome all the time? I do have good memories of college, but a lot of it was a struggle – to get better grades, to keep friends, to pay for tuition. These worries seem little now but at the time, I guess they occupied my mind a lot. Hence the angst in the poems.

But this one had been a favorite because to a large  extent, it’s what I, and even we, face in our day to day lives. The constant pressure to change, ostensibly ‘improve’ to either fit into a role or because we’re expected to for other reasons. Here in India especially, women (don’t kill me yet for making this about women, it’s not) are supposed to change their habits, the way they eat, speak, dress, mingle with people and what not almost overnight after they get married. It’s stupid, deprecating and unfair! Changing just because of traditions that have long lost their meaning. Changing because your predecessors did too. Or changing just because your behaviour doesn’t ‘fit’ with their sense of conformity.

I have never understood this inane need in us human beings to see change in others even when we are not willing to change ourselves. Isn’t that a dichotomy? And isn’t it hypocritical?

One of my college professors, in the middle of the term, was giving his impressions of all the students in the class. When he came to me he said,

“Your biggest problem is that you want to please everyone. You bend yourself backwards doing that, often forgetting that you can’t do that for all the people, all the time”.

That made a profound impact. No, I didn’t become belligerent right after, but I started to make conscious efforts towards saying ‘no’ and ‘I don’t care what you think’.

I’ve faced the derision and disregard from people who thought I was different. I face it now as well. The difference is back then it used to dwell on my mind a lot. Now, I couldn’t care less about their derision. And if that makes me lonely, I don’t care anymore, because life’s much more than that – getting the approval of everyone.

I’ve learnt that,

Universal approval is as elusive a thing as El Dorado, and not worth your time. 

I’m sharing this infantile work of mine with you today because this is an appeal to everyone.

If you want change, change yourself first. Don’t preach what you won’t practice.

You aren’t the final authority on everything. You aren’t perfect yourself. You are not the boss of anyone, not even your children.  Let it be and let people be.

We aren’t meant to be clones of another. Celebrate the uniqueness of each individual. It’s what makes us diverse and fun!

 

Munch on it and let me know what you think of this. Share your stories of facing painful conformism. I’m the one who’ll never judge.

 

With Love,

Pradita Kapahi

 

Copyright ©2017 by Pradita Kapahi.

All rights reserved.

 

Image Credits: Greyerbaby at http://www.pixabay.com

 

48 thoughts on “Let me be me!

  1. What change do we see in you
    now that you want us to change?
    Do you practice what you preach
    now that you want us to follow?

    Why do you brandish to be, know all
    that we suppose, you are not?
    What process did you follow to
    perfect as you want us to believe?

    How come children run shy of you
    while you want to boss on, poor us?
    Let us be, what we think, we will be
    not what you think, you want us to be?

    Don’t you see the glitter that gleams in us
    every change in us, a life worth living for?

    My tribute to your post, Pradita.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a lovely poem displaying your true self.

    ” I am often misunderstood, so I stay silent, I stay coy. Because I know it won’t matter when my mind will follow better and I’m not made to be another manufactured toy.”

    Just a little part from a poem I had written when I felt this way about this topic too. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s very beautiful! Then I wasn’t wrong in assuming that everyone feels presumed into being someone they aren’t. How sad it is that we are given traits by God that we have to change because man wants us to 😐

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s because of something they simply think is either unacceptable, following the norm or just dislike something thst is considered weird. I’ve lost a lot of friends along the way due to this, I tried hardmto ‘fit in’, being afraid that I needed to feel accepted but i was feeling so low about myself in doing so and realised I’d rather be on my own with my personality than change for someone and feel sad about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I can relate to relate your post.My feelings exactly. Why the hell you expect me to change when I accept your faults. But it has also made me the person who I’m. I thank them for that. But as you said expecting too much annoys me to the core. Being a woman is always a challenge. Aww that line I wrote it for an article. I forgot to tell you,I wrote my first article for a magazine.please don’t ask me how it happened and you would definitely know how I’m feeling now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes pradita.I can’t thank you enough for making it happen. But that’s all I have for you, so a big thank you. This is unbelievable,right? My dad was shocked to hear it. He had never me writing or reading. I will send the link of the article to your mail later. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have always been this soft person who tolerated things to the point of breaking down internally. Every time something mean was done to me, I was angry inside, but I wouldn’t let the other person know for fear they would start treating me badly. Over the years, I have learnt to speak up for myself (I still struggle), but now I try and live by the principle that I cannot do everything for other people’s convenience and I can’t take the crap all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well done! I’m really really glad you did. Eventually, we all learn that pleasing others is not worth our time. We aren’t the ones who need to chnage. It’s those bullies and prides who need to. Thanks for dropping by 😊

      Liked by 1 person

        • Oh you went home! Great. Believe me, it’s the best feeling ever, especially when you’re married and going home isn’t possible whenever you feel like it. I’ve been great. Thank you. How’s your book promotion going?

          Liked by 1 person

          • I have not worked on the promotion since publication as I went home. I returned last Sunday and it was a crazy week at work, so today I was mostly winding down. I will get started on the promotion, especially, reviews soon. 🙂 And yeah, going home is the best feeling ever. Not only it feels great to meet the people who think of nothing but your own good, but every time I go back as a grown woman to the house I was a child in, I discover a little more about myself. It’s like meeting my old self, if you know what I mean 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved this post! I struggle with a fear of change, and find myself stuck in my life quite often. And I’m always applauding others for making changes, and I rarely do. It is definitely time for some changes in my own life! ❤ ❤ ❤ xoxo Ash

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, must say you never fail to come up with posts that spark discussions here. This poem of yours does have angst, but isn’t that one of the trademarks of teenage/ early adult age? We always feel as if we are in a siege.
    Regarding the need to conform, I guess being what I am, I have always been a person comfortable with speaking my mind. i know diplomacy is important but far too often, I find it hard to let people’s BS be. And more’s the trouble. But I guess peace with our minds is more important, eh? If one doesn’t like it, they can be on their way, and I on mine. This is not to say that I have never felt the pressures of fitting in. After all, I’m only human, aren’t I?
    Excellent post, again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My teenage angst carried well into my adulthood. My friends and family can attest to it. A lot of my early adult years were a constant tussle between trying to confirm and trying to be me till I finally gave up when I got married. My friend, I can tell you’re not married. Freedom of speech and expression as you have explained comes only when a person is not fettered by these things. As one grows up and the relationships begun to matter far more than mere names, one begins to hold their tongue. I don’t mean to be a feminist here or be depressing, but women more often than not have to change far more post marriage. It still is the norm, though it may have been diluted, but to someone like me who was fearless, unabashed and who stood by her words, it killed something inside me to change. The charge was noticed by those around me too. I have only now found my voice and my angst again,but it feels good to be back 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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