Strolling down a country road a bright summers day,
I looked into a pool of water reflective in a pothole.
Trying to see who I was,
To see if it was the image in a faded memory.
As a child I saw only me, no flaws - till someone said I should,
Slowly that reflection turned dark and muddled,
Like my silhouette cast on this dirt road.
Fighting the perfection they said I was falling short of,
My shadow trying to find the light.
A former person filled with life now the dark, nebulous outline of a soul.
Their image felt like an ever changing coat I would never fit in.
I tried contorting to adapt but soon discovered my limitations,
The costume would never fit my skin.
Ceasing to care what others thought seemed a prudent strategy,
And despite following instinct, improving the resolution of myself,
I found I still needed external approval.
I tried to prove myself to myself by proving it to someone else.
If they could recognize what I think I see,
Maybe I could once again believe.
Exhausted, one day I quit looking in reflections,
I closed my eyes for good.
Choosing to live unmolested by external influences,
Following the me I see, when I see no one else.