stifling the true self

the world around me stares
not quite knowing what to say
young ones and old, all have spoken
strange words, words of unawares
words that speak deeply to me
revealing the heart of their soul.

such moments i do recall
from my earlier years
stifling the true self,
but i have come to understand
how those awkward words
brought a new strength,
burning a desire to lay bare
what is behind my blue eyes
and under this red hair
is just another person
with much to share.

poem from 2012