[POEM] Rafiki, These Shells are Made of Plastic

[POEM] Rafiki, These Shells are Made of Plastic

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This happens to be an open poem to anyone that may feel constrained by such human constructs, that we feel illegal to be ourselves. Where we have no bombastic words to define who we are and how we act and why we do so— some sort of Utopian personality.

Many are times that we succumb to societal templates. If a person says that all of us are either A,B,C or D, we get excited and begin to look for where we belong. We contrast and compare and we may either find what exactly describes us, or we find a description that’s close enough. And slowly but surely, whatever it is that was probably not so accurate about ourselves, begins manifesting in us. We embrace it subconsciously and as a result, we became enslaved to the templates. However, that need not be the case.

Therefore this is for you and for Rafiki, the one that inspired this:



These shells are made of plastic.

These shells that they pressed so hard against our skin and the pain mixed with our blood formed a part of us.

That we felt like frauds when we introduce ourselves, because deep down they made us think that we do not belong to us. We do not belong to them either. We were lost children, too timid to even extend our hands to ask for what we deserve.

Dignity. Soul. Us.

These shells that they dipped in the paint that was the same colour as that of your heart, camouflaged so fine that when you tried to scrape off the fake, you still bled.

The guilt we felt when we coloured outside the lines, when our ‘t’s went way too high and our ‘p’s too low, when we used different strokes simultaneously.

And oh so quickly the shells did not cover us anymore, yet we resigned to do the opposite. We religiously applied a fresh coat of paint when any fading or chipping occurred, and we continued living the lie, in front of our hearts and our parents.

All until we opted to conform to the beats of our hearts and the cravings of our souls,

When I prompted you to walk on the sand,

This time, with your bare feet,

When you signalled to me to try it too,

We were so nervous that we felt the throbbing of our hearts on the soles of our feet. Against the sand. The souls of our feet.

And we became cautiously happy, as if we were waiting for the sky to fall down, as if that was the worst thing that could happen in our lives.

And after caution came the last sigh. And then utter relief. And then butterflies. Ah, yes, that must have been happiness, awareness and the pain and the fear. The pain to shed off who we were not and the fear to begin loving ourselves again. The burden of being anew.

These shells are nothing but statistics and research.

Let it only look good on your desk or serve as a memento from your visit to the beach.


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