Pallang Mofokeng

Freshman - 616 Points (1995August03 / Sterkspruit Eastern Cape South Africa)

Being You Is Sweeter Than Pride - Poem by Pallang Mofokeng

Growing up, I used to have this image.
An image society placed in my mind,
which grew to consume my entire
perception
of what a man should be.
He was taller,
and he had bigger muscles.
He had bold hair
and big, black eyes.
He was confident that he was
attractive.
He did whatever he wanted with
whomever he wished,
and he didn't give a damn.
Everyone liked him.
And he was loud.
He was not quiet at all.
In fact, he was extremely extroverted.
He walked into a room, and he
laughed and smiled,
and he was funny.
and he wasn't smart-oh no! -
he didn't think about things too much.
He didn't speak his mind or share his
opinion.
He was always silly and fun and
carefree.
And he never had any problems.
And he never shed any tears.
And everyone loved him.

And I liked him,
he, this image of who I should be.
I liked him.
I envied him.
Because in every way he was the
opposite of me.
I, who was often quiet,
and not-very-popular,
I, who froze up in a room of strangers.
I, who wasn't funny at all.
I was awkward and tongue-tied.
And I wasn't extroverted.
I could spend hours alone writing or
drawing or reading,
and a crowd full of people often felt like
hell.
And I was broken.
And I cried sometimes.
And I was hurting.
Because I was not him.
He, the image of who I thought I
should be.
Because no one loves someone like me.

Years passed, and I began to grow up.
So many people told me who I should
be.
So many people told me I should be him.
And they laughed, and they scorned,
And I tried so hard to be what they
wanted of me.
I lost myself,
Time and and time again.
It was like drowning-
only whenever I thought I was really
going under,
I came back to the surface.
Lots of things happened.
Bad things and good things.
Heartbreak and depression and
loneliness.
Death.
But through all the hardness, I began to
live.
And through all the darkness, I began to
see.
I cried and cried,
I felt like I was dying,
But in the tears, I finally found Me.

And one day not so long ago,
I looked at myself in the mirror,
and I thought:
I do not have to be Him,
The image society tells me I should be.
The unattainable wish and
incomparable dream
of a man who doesn't exist.
I will be a real man.
A living, breathing human being.
I, who am slender and small.
I, who've always liked Afro hair better
than bold.
I, who am not loud or funny.
I, who am smart and stubborn and
strong.
I will often be quiet and think,
and I will see things that others don't
see.
I will look at people and love them,
even when they so quickly forget me.
I will write and I will create,
I will run through the mountains,
And sing in the valleys.
Sometimes, I will cry.
And I will always be broken.
But I will be real.
I will live.
I will be strange and wild, win some and
free.
I won't let others tell me who I should
be.
And I won't let the image of Him haunt
me.
I will be strong.
I will be courageous.
I will be Me.
Me, who is so much more than him.

Topic(s) of this poem: life, reality


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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 8, 2016



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