This poem is dedicated to anyone who has been judged and belittled by people who do not even know the first thing about you.
I am a target in the distance,
Withstanding the westward winds of change.
My existence welcomes bullets of scorn,
Daggers of endless criticism,
Accusations of being ‘too full of myself’,
By people who cannot see how empty I am.
Take a step closer.
When I speak, you will notice,
How my words shake.
How my knees shake, how not a single element of my being is not
I am a hurricane.
And you are not my enemy, for my enemy lies within me-
In my thoughts, in my past, in my appearance
On familiar terrain,
A no man’s land smothered with footprints
A dry drought land that finds itself drowning in rain.
You see, my opposition is on the same side as me,
And you are just a cinematic technique-
You are an actor, giving a face to the cacophonies within my mind,
A special effect, giving a voice to the monster that breaks me from the inside.
I do not need you, or your words, or your approval.
You are a mere supporting character,
And yet the only support you offer is made of brittle strings
Which falter and snap as soon as my head is turned
And as I run my hands through them, they asphyxiate me.
In my presence, you say you love me, and then the irony fades
And we return back to reality:
Where I am a target in the distance,
And you are my attacker.
But the next time you accuse me of being “too serious” or “arrogant” or “a bitch”,
I’ll turn around, and with a glint of gratitude in my eye, I will say,
“Thank you very much”.
Sadia Ahmed, 2017