Behind Me But Not Me
The poem was inspired by what I didn’t say in my Monday night reflection, which was the realisation over the weekend that I had become a completely different person. Not so much in my essential nature and qualities, but in my appearance and what I had become about as someone you would meet.
Looking back, it’s clear that I was for much of my life at war with myself. My core characteristics were being over-ridden by trying to conform and be someone that I felt I was expected to be, while at the same time existing in a situation of control and coercion. The fact remains that I was trying to conform and be someone who I was nothing like.
Today, I look and act very differently. Who you would meet is consistent with the person inside. This change is because of the massive changes in my life, moving from an abusive situation to a supportive situation, and being in a new place where I can build up my identity as I choose. I chose to be consistent and not try to fit in, conform, and have people “hate” me for who I am, rather than not liking me for someone I wasn’t. Accepting that I am not going to be everyone’s cup of and that no one is liked by everyone gives a freedom of expression and conduct.
The irony, perhaps, is that I never wanted to be anyone outrageous. Physically I was never likely to fit in anyway, so trying to conform was doomed to failure. Behaviour wise I was trying to be a middle-class guy, something my mother would have called respectable. Which meets head on with me not being a 9-5 person, not having regular interests and hobbies, and not being very much like the stereotype of a middle-class man.
I love to make people laugh and smile, I love to help and support people and I love to create. I am into quite times, and being with family (which includes my close friends), reading books and course writing and being creative. Not a really outrageous list, not even when I include liking secluded log cabins in the forest, open fires and cooking. That is the person that had to be hidden and squirrelled away, and instead,
I tried to be a pastiche figure of all the things I thought I was supposed to be.