We’re just past the halfway point of our ‘change of identity’ poems, selected by guest editor Degna Stone. Here’s her take on That’s Not Me – The defiance of not letting circumstance or the expectations of others define you comes through loud and clear in this poem. And who can resist a poem that references Queen Bey?
That’s not me
I don’t want to be that woman, the one that people feel sorry for, the one people tip their heads to one side and say, ‘how ARE you?’,
The widow, the one struggling, coping, ‘doing so well’,
The one who wakes in the night, who has nightmares,
The one people worry about, think she is putting a brave face on.
The one who feels asking a man for kindness and fidelity is more than she can ask,
The one who has to say she is okay when really she is brimming with love, promise and happiness,
So I am bit by bit casting her off, giving people time to get used to it,
to show my true colours and to rise like fucking Beyoncé riding a unicorn and ride into the sunset cramming all of life into my hungry, happy mouth.
Just watch out, she’s almost here.
Suzy says this about herself – I have been a very occasional writer for many years but was driven to write poems and much more by the unexpected death of my husband in December 2016 under deeply unpleasant circumstances. The experience needed a huge amount of unpicking and many, many sleepless nights. Writing proved to be cathartic in the extreme and enabled me to vent many frustrations. One of the biggest frustrations was that people couldn’t understand how much this experience changed me and that I had to change and grow. They put their expectations on me which was extremely wearing. This poem was written after about four months and it was my way of saying to the world ‘I will keep the new me under wraps for a bit to give you a chance to get used to it – then watch out!’ Much about me has changed since then including my name.
I am a 47 year old Adult Educator with an almost grown up daughter, I live in Northumberland where I love to experience the beautiful outdoors with my 2 year old German Shepherd girl.