Why are you here?
Why am I here?
Same question, different perspective. I just finished reading The Why Cafe, an inspirational book that encourages the reader to determine his/her purpose for living so that he/she can lead a more fulfilling life.
A co-worker recommended the book. She received the book from her neighbor who told her to read it, then to pass it on to someone else who might need it. The book is written as a fictional story about one man who gets lost on a dark road, only to end up at this cafe that has menus that suggest three questions customers should ponder as they wait on their food: Why are you here, Do you fear death, and Are you fulfilled?
I don’t know if I’m lost “on a dark road,” but I do know I have many days where I feel unfulfilled. I have an idea of what I should be doing, but I sometimes wonder if there’s more I should be doing. I also wonder if I’m on the right path or just trying to convince myself it’s the right path? Maybe the signs I’m reading are an illusion, a trick of the eye. They probably change when I’m not looking and I don’t even realize it.
As you can see, reading the book has me thinking. Thinking, thinking, and thinking. In the midst of my thinking, I pulled out a sheet of paper and attempted to answer the first question: Why am I here? Sitting on my porch, lulled by the nighttime music of the nocturnal insects, I allowed the pen to guide me to my inner feelings. I composed a poem. It doesn’t have a title and, more than likely, it’s just an outpouring of my feelings as I try to determine how to live a life that is more fulfilled.
Here’s the poem:
Why am I even here?
The answer found in my tears
is to bear the burden of hurt
and shame. Nothing but disgrace
shines in my eyes. I’m so tired
of hurting; just wanna be free
from the hundreds of years of misery—
slave to a homeland that no longer
recognizes me. Oh, Africa, you claim
to see a majestic Queen when you
look at me, but I shudder to have
to admit that though you are my
birthplace, it is in your arms
I learned to feel a shit stained
misery. Smeared all over my face
your bloody feces – Stop! I scream
yet I accepted it with my eyes &
mouth wide open while proclaiming
you are Africa to me. I open
arms wide, accept the motherland
inside, feel it nestled between
my thighs and I sigh – Home.
Home is where the heart is & also
where it’s shattered to pieces.
All you are is inside of me
tryin to convince me you’re a part of me.
Africa you can no longer hear me
and I don’t know if you ever
could. Every day I plot to be free,
to break the chains of bondage
holding me tight, tied to a place
that could never love me.
Rhythmic beats once sang to me
opened a NEW WORLD to me.
You promised me, O Africa, to
always be that space where I
could return, but I look at you
& no longer see a place to call home.
Mama always used to tell me
“I brought you in, I’ll take you out”
You were supposed to be different
Africa. You’re the same, but worse
cause you showed my worth to me
then sent the stocks of me
plummeting. Why Africa!
Don’t you realize I always
loved you Africa? I would have
done anything to return home
but now I just want you gone
so you can stop hurting me,
stop pretending to love me
when you don’t even love yourself.
If you did, how would you be able
to do this to me? I wanna
return home and wanna be free.
So Africa let go of me.
Our history is now diluted
& watered down and I see
that Africa could never be
home to me. Stop, Africa.
Stop trying to break me.
Peace & Love,