To thine self be true – A Poem

I was sixteen years old when I first went out to a pub drinking. I can remember walking up to the door with my chest sticking out like a barrel-chested pigeon. Slowly praying to a God I didn’t believe existed, that the bouncer would let me in. He did. And as a result, I approached every pub in the same stupid fashion for years to come. 

When I walked into the door I was hit with a wall of noise. Chaotic chatter was interspersed with musical beats. The smell of smoke hanging heavy in the air. A toxic environment that made me feel alive. I had arrived in the world of adulthood. Proud to be a man. 

I did these things because my friends did these things. We did these things because we were told that’s what people our age did. We were told that it’s fun. We were told to view people who didn’t drink with suspicion because they weren’t to be trusted. I verbally attacked people who dared deviate from this way of life. I verbally attacked them because I dare not deviate. I was racked with fear. I would write stories and poems in my late teens in solitude. When I had finished I would tear them up and put them in the bin, ashamed of my internal desire to be creative. The words dancing on my fingertips demanding to be written yet I dared not pursue that avenue for fear of ridicule. 
I believed that alcohol would give me the strength to do so. The strength to be me. To be true to myself. 

It took me sixteen years of hard lessons from that moment of walking into the pub, excitedly embracing the world of alcohol, to realise that sobriety was the only pathway to my true self. 

TTSBT a poem

To thine self be true
Do you know how hard that is to do?
When the world expects you to conform
Not be yourself but just perform
A task. A role. An act. An Act.
It’s just an act.
Sell your soul for the latest commodity
That’s the reward for a spiritual lobotomy
Turn off your intuition
To that inner voice, you no longer listen
Just act
Just act
Don’t question 
Just act
Like a puppet in a play
Having doubts?
Have a drink. That takes them away
So we shop and work 
And work and shop
But the misery doesn’t stop
We follow the rhetoric that’s always been preached
That success breeds happiness once a level has been reached
So we shop for an identity
Browsing and browsing for an expression of individuality
We act
Oh we act
Like the person, we wish to be
Create the illusion we want the world to see
Fighting to maintain frame and not let the mask slip
Yet struggling to keep life in a firm grip
More money will give me my true self
Buy better image and impress the world with my wealth
Then maybe once the outer me is complete
The inner me will fit all snug and neat

We shouldn’t act
We shouldn’t act
We should just BE

Trying to be something you’re not will destroy your spirit!
It’ll cost you your role in life and your purpose within it
To thine self be true
Cos no matter how difficult it seems 
It is the right thing to do.

Thanks for reading,


Picture by ANAKBRUNEI –

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