"You can be anything you want,"

They sang to me on my eighth birthday.

You can be a doctor, a musician

Or a happy astronaut.

And I believed all that they said,

And that night in my bed

I thought of the talents in my possession.


And today, I remembered

The song from that day.

I remembered it after

A long conversation

In the car on the way

To an SAT test that’s designed to survey

All high-schoolers’ minds’ slow progression.


“But you can’t be like her,

That’s just an advertisement

So that every girl buys

Her exercise tapes

Thinking that she’ll look like those fit teens

If she does the model’s workout routines.

She’s a model – that’s her profession.”


Maybe I can’t be like her

Or like anyone else

Or perhaps I just can’t be at all.

They don’t like what I can, or maybe I can’t?

And so I try not to be,

Not to do, not to see

That my consciousness sinks in recession.


And so I do not do,

And I try not to think

That I never can be like I should.

But still I don’t know –

I do not understand

What it is that’s wrong with what I had planned

And why I can’t state my expression.


“Can’t you be more like her?

She can study and dance

She can also have friends, and play piano.”

“I’m not saying you’re bad – it’s just: isn’t it true?

You are not like her – you’re like… you.”

And so it goes on, and then it repeats,

Until it becomes an obsession.

Poetry Slam: 
This poem is about: 
Our world



I hope this poem can inspire people to listen less to what other people say about them. They should be encouraged by compliments, but indifferent to negative or discouraging remarks. You are the one who decides who you want to be, and you can be anything!

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