A Mere Child


‘Do nothing, say nothing, be nothing’.
Wisdom from Hubbard;* old but true.
Life is deceptive; nothing but bluffing.
What else is a child meant to do?

Don’t open your mouth and speak uninvited.
Never dare question, voice an innocent query.
‘Please don’t interrupt when you’re feeling excited;
No one wishes to hear your opinions or theory’

‘Did I ask for your thoughts? You…a mere child?
You wouldn’t have something to say on the matter;
A child knows better? Don’t get me riled.
Go bore someone else with your irritating chatter’.

‘Why do you need to ask questions like that?
Mind your own business; go play with your toys!
I said ‘go’! And I mean it! Too much backchat!
Close the door firmly and don’t make a noise’.

‘I haven’t the time. Go ask your father’.
‘Go away. You’re a nuisance. I’m busy too.
Stop annoying me now, or maybe you’d rather
I find you something more boring to do’.

And so it went on, throughout a long childhood.
No encouragement to explore beyond my four walls.
All my energy was channelled into being so good.
As an adult this memory just pains and appals.

My constant anger remains one of my downfalls.
Wrapped up, buried deep, it refuses to let go.
It is hardly recognisable, though I hear all it’s calls
from the depths of my depression, my subconscious below.

Hubbard was right. As a child I was silent.
Maturing into adulthood, often too frightened to speak.
By the time that I realised the source of my torment,
the ‘doing’ was impossible and the will was too weak.

So the future was mapped out, and it has to be said.
I was a ‘nobody’, though my potential seemed great.
The restrictions were internal, all in my head;
My life largely dependent on capricious fate.

This ‘nobody’ then, has a decision to make.
Take back control, or leave things as they are.
Changing is risky, a big step to take,
but positive results outweigh negatives by far.

If things are just left – retain status quo,
little will change; it may even get worse.
But change will encourage, give me confidence to grow;
To achieve my potential and banish this curse.

Philip Larkin once wrote that infamous verse –
how parents inadvertently mess your head up inside;
A legacy bequeathed, so difficult to reverse;
Peace of mind thus denied, and nowhere to hide.

I ‘m not alone, many folk are the same.
The trick is to deal with the frustration and pain
before it engulfs you and renders you lame.
The past is the past, so reprogram your brain.

So now I won’t be intimidated – stand,
while some new ogre remonstrates or chides:
Nor turn my cheek, olive branch in hand
when someone my hard work or opinion derides.
Whilst acknowledging others, I will not be ignored,
I’ll say my piece, my confidence restored.
If my challenging life, a fresh chance presents,
I’ll no longer linger on the proverbial fence.
I will grab what’s mine, believing my worth:
Something I should have been doing since birth!


* “To avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” (Elbert Hubbard American author, 1856-1915)

Photograph courtesy of Julie Bender. Please take time to visit her site. Many thanks Julie.


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