2/21/23: The Cost and Benefit of Non-Conformity #poetry

2/21/23: The Cost and Benefit of Non-Conformity #poetry

Who do you think you are?

They liked you at first.

And you liked them.

But then you had the perceived nerve to be your own person, and do things your own way.

Actually, you were oblivious to the fact that there was a way that you had to follow.

It happens to you again and again.

Because it’s everywhere. 

They insult you and give you orders.

We hired you for a specific job! (They didn’t.)

You are self-indulgent. (You aren’t.)

I went to Stanford. Who are you to think you have an independent method to get things done? (You came there on assurances you could work with your independent method.)

Read the room! (You aren’t in sales or show business.)

Shut up! Who are you to have your own ideas? (You think for yourself as naturally as you breathe. No offense intended.)

They get really mean, not because they feel superior, but because you scare the shit out of them.

They live in self-imposed prisons and you live in a glass house, innocently thinking you throw no stones.

But your very person is perceived as a barrage of stones in their fantasy islands … 

You are too negative they claim when you haven’t even been thinking of them.

You mistake their attacks as rejection, but you are the one who always leaves. They beg you to stay, even demand that you must …

And the whole process involves breaking and tearing and great pain …

And then silence … they are out of your life and mind …

Your real and close connections are free and independent people who do as they please …

And you bloom because you are no longer inhibited by resistances that you didn’t know were there …

Every now and again you hear from them , or rather of them …

They always offer a negative judgement of you.

You are angry or depressed or a failure … and it’s too bad because there was so much they liked about you …

But the fact is you are just living your life 

And your life grew to places that they are afraid to understand…

They mistake their misery for reality when it was actually an illusion 

And you actually were blessedly born seeing the truth …

But you couldn’t see their hallucinatory jails … how could you? The walls are abstractions , nothing concrete … the products of imaginations gone wrong …

No one gets out of this life without suffering … and you would never choose to exit Eden … they had to pull you out of it

They selfishly, greedily forced you to agonize in order to understand them …

They hoped you would work out their problems 

But when you did with your example 

They didn’t have the guts

To accept the prescription 

They wanted the doctor to be perversely cured to their illness 

They brayed that you were a fraud when you spoke the truth 

Called you crazy when you were the one who is sane 

And tried to put you in your imagined place

A tiny cell just like theirs

You didn’t go there of course

And then the dark ending 

Followed by a quiet awakening 

After the foolish war

You slowly rise

Rubbing your dry eyes 


Tentatively at first

Into the sunlight

Patiently hitting your stride. 

All walks of life are the same 

What matters is your stride.

Dedicated to entertainers, marketing executives, salespeople, writers, actors, professional service organizations, lawyers, teachers, improvisers, social clubs, comedians, alumni cohorts, schools, jobs, condo associations and groupings of all kinds — where some people live in Paradise and most people are trapped in hell.

Copyright 2023 Richard Thomas


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