“You want? You want, do you?
Of course you want, you only think of you.
Sit down! Shut up! I’ll tell you what you want!”
Then with a glare the conversation’s done,
The lesson reinforced: I do not count.
What I may want or feel or think I need
Is wrong. There is no “I,” at least no “I”
Now you ask me what I want:
How can I answer that? I just don’t know.
The luxury of wanting for myself
Is one I never could afford; in fact
To even think about myself became
The greatest crime of all, a mortal sin.
That scarlet “S” of selfishness is not
A brand that I could bear to wear and so
My wants, desires, my hopes took second place
To what they tell me I must do, to things
My parents, teachers, bosses, family, friends
Demand, request, or want or wish or need.
Myself? Who’s that? A selfish, greedy child
Who needs to learn his place—
But now I feel
A change. It’s subtle but it’s there. A door
Has opened just a bit, and now a breeze
Has made a stir, not much but yet it’s real.
I never would have dreamt of going there
But maybe somewhere in me, deep within
My mind or heart or soul there is a place
That’s just for me alone. Can that be true?
Beneath the superego and the shrouds
Of obligations, expectations, debts
Perceived and real, of codependency,
The desperate need to be all things to all
(Except of course that lonely nervous child
That answers to my name) there may just be
A self with hopes and dreams deferred, an “I”
That wants what’s best him, unhindered by
What others tell him he should want, a “me”
Instead of all the painted cardboard masks
That too much pain and tears have made him wear.
I don’t know what I’ll find inside that place.
In fact, I’m scared: of change, of the unknown.
But I have lived too long for others, now
I think it’s time to listen, look, and see
To seek out what I want; to live for me.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde