“Africa’s Plea”

By Roland Tombekai Dempster

I am not you –
but you will not
give me a chance
will not let me be me

‘If I were you’ –
but you know
I am not you,
yet you will not
let me be me.

You meddle, interfere
in my affairs
as if they were yours
and you were me.

You are unfair, unwise,
foolish to think
that I can be you,
talk, act
and think like you.

God made me me.
He made you you.
For God’s sake
Let me be me.

                                 So, our English teacher made us read this poem the other week. I must say, it struck me. I realized how much I’ve been letting people rule my life. I realized how sick and tired I am with people judging me. I could say that I can absolutely relate to this poem.

                                 Actually, we can all relate to this poem in a way — whether we are the people being judged, or the people who judge. The people who control lives, or who are being controlled. The people who meddle too much, or the people who have others meddling in their lives. It’s annoying. It’s annoying, and it’s not right.

                                 Personally, I don’t like the feeling of being compared to someone. Who does? Who likes that feeling they get when someone tells them to be like their ‘smarter, prettier and kinder’ cousin? Who likes it when people tell you how to act, dress, and think? No one. It makes us feel unsure about ourselves — something we shouldn’t be.

                                 No one in this world is exactly alike. Proof? Not even identical twins look exactly the same. There’s always that one thing that helps you tell them apart. It could be the sound of their voices, a mole on one of their foreheads, or even the way they smile. Do you see what I’m getting at? I just saying that if even super-duper-outrageously-extremely-identical identical twins have their differences, why should we let people ruin our self-confidence?

                                 Why are we letting them control us, use us and make us into a Xerox copy of them? Do you really wanna know why? It’s because we let them. And you know why we let them? Because we think that lowly of ourselves. Because we can’t trust ourselves when it comes to… you know, us. We often get stepped on by other people, making us think we aren’t good enough. That’s where we get the strong need to be perfect.

                                 But let me tell you, they only try to pull us down because we’re a threat to them. They’re insecure. They feel like you have something that they don’t. Even they shouldn’t feel that way in my opinion. We are our own person. We need to get that through our annoyingly thick skulls. And maybe, just maybe… the world would be a much nicer place to live in.

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