Poem: Note to Self

Sometimes you mustn’t forget who you are.
The self within you. The truest of you.
Not your mother-self.
The harried, headless chicken,
Who multitasks and sometimes crumbles under the pies she bakes,
Or the many crosses checked on her multicoloured organiser,
Organising selves of others except hers,
Hiding in the bathroom,
Sighing in relief,
Brimming with love.

Not the wife-self who is too knackered sometimes
To make conversation, or love,
Or to laugh at the jokes of the man who shares her bed.
It’s sometimes easier to fall asleep
And forget about the passion, magic or bills.
Or the lonely single self.
The tired fearless self.
Because her body is shattered, her mind wracked with overwork,
She seeks solace on her pillow.

Not the working-self: thinking, planning, grafting, doing, slaving.
Quivering. Standing tall amidst the broken-ness.
Not the selves of sisterhood, daughterhood, the go-to self,
The holder of the universe,
The balancer of the sky.
Not the selfless friend she is,
Responding to rants, absorbing angst, illnesses and problems.
No place for selfishness.

Not forgetting the self who writes poetry,
Or plays music
Who just is.
Or who loves to dress her home.
Or the self who reads,
Or who hates to work out but must as mid-life health dictates it.

The self who
Potters about, pauses, and just sits
Or pamper herself,
disappears. But she must sometimes just submerge herself in her own holy water,
Without drowning.
To renew herself.
The self who needs a luxuriant bath all.by.herself.
Cleansed again, by baptismal water’s powers.

The one self you buried under your pile of selves…

Because the self in the selves sometimes disappear
In the humdrum of days.
Until you peel back the layers
Of dancing daughters.
And adoring sons
And doting husbands
And funny fathers and
Funnier friends
Of work, bills, obligations,
Of life and meaning.
And you find your self’s soul again.

Smelling glorious; regenerated.
Because that self
Is the truest of all: bare and unadorned.
Naked, gorgeous and vulnerable.


Renie LengNote: This is a guest blog/poem by Renie Leng. Renie is an educator by day, a poet by night; and always, a nomad of sorts who seeks contemplative spaces wherever she can while raising three beautiful angels, hosting soirees, decorating tables and getting ahead with tech in her classroom. She especially loves turquoise, togas and reading poetry at dusk with light rain falling. She has two poetry manuscripts in the oven and also writes about family life in our increasingly complex world.

Being Afraid Is Human, But Staying Afraid Is A Choice.

  • Carol Balawyder
    May 12, 2015

    What an elegant way of describing all of a woman’s selves. Your poem, Renie, is a much needed reminder in this busy world to take time to reflect on all that we are and not to forget the core of our self. I enjoyed reading it and Shirley thank you for finding and sharing Renie Leng’s poem. <3

    • Renie Leng
      May 19, 2015

      Thank you, Carol for your kind words. I am glad your resonated with my poem, and I look forward to sharing more of my work, as I look forward to reading yours. Indeed the core that is within us is something we mustn’t forget to treasure and uphold as we hurtle through the multiple roles that we play each given day. Thank you. Best wishes, RL

    • shirleymaya
      June 10, 2015

      Renie, like you, is a gem. It is not that difficult to spot a true gem. 🙂