'You will love again the stranger who was your self’ - Derek Walcott
When I was young I learnt that to be experimental and expressive is to open yourself up to embarrassment and self-induced humiliation.
So I learnt to hide that part of myself from others,
and instead I focused on what I knew and what was safe.
I worked on getting good grades in academic subjects, with clearly defined rules and prizes.
I quietly shelved the creative risk taker that caused me hassle.
And I kept her hidden, until I couldn’t.
Because hiding a part of yourself and keeping it locked in the basement without sunlight or nourishment is a sure-fire way to make yourself deeply miserable.
I felt such shame for making my self this way; for making her a stranger
For shunning someone whom I should have loved and treasured and nurtured with all my love and attention.
Whom I instead abandoned
Because I was afraid
Of her quirks and eccentricities
And unknown habits and passions
And the reactions she elicited from others.
I chose social acceptance over her
And in doing so, committed an act of self mutilation,
And deprived myself of my own identity.
There are so many things to re-learn about your self.
All these years later, I am slowly re-discovering what creativity means for me.
Day by day,
from a place of self compassion,
I learn to love the part of myself I kept hidden.
No better or worse
I am who I am - and I don’t need to feel ashamed.