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Jan 2014
I have these scars on my elbows
They're from a long time ago
And I never really appreciated their protrusion until now
Pretending to prefer unblemished skin
But when I was 10 and still believed in Superman
I had a tendency to ride my bike with stuntman speed
Forgetting about the frivolous concerns that consumed me
Hoping my kryptonite never crept up from underneath sidewalk bumps
Flipping my ambition over handlebars
Leaving the pieces of my reflections painted crimson along the asphalt
Scattered like hand-picked petals of an ill-advised ascetic
I am me, I am not, I am me, I am not
So I always wore my helmet as a precautionary measure
It contained my thoughts from running straight through my skull
And becoming neighbors with the pavement
But I never wore my elbow pads
They collected dust beside the waste bin
Replacing security for sincerity
I improved my flexibility while losing some skin
And that was a trade off I was willing to make at the time
I finally felt alive
I was invincible on my bicycle
The sidewalk my only bully
The summer breeze my only friend
And at the time I never realized what it meant to be vulnerable
But those bike rides were the closest I would get
I was fixated on fitting in around my classmates
Accumulating fake friends by
Ripping insincerities out of my esophagus
And stapling them to my forehead
I stole my own identity
Morphing my puzzle piece and jamming it into the jigsaw
Claiming to be the missing link everyone was searching for
But what am I searching for?

I was lost on my own yellow brick road
I had two left feet and no right way to go
I stopped dead in my tracks
Hoping the soles of my feet would soak in the golden stones while
Singing Dorothy's hymn like spoken sin
I just want to fit in
I just want to fit in
I just want to fit in

Wondering if that was loud enough for Oz to hear me
I didn't have any magic slippers
And this situation was twisting towards witchcraft
I'm not even sure Oz can help me
You see these requests were a tall order for a tiny man
Who wore masks just like me
Oz and I were anonymous
Oz and I were synonymous
Using smoke and mirror tactics to terrorize the innocent
When in reality we were only playing tricks on ourselves
Hiding behind perfectly sculpted ****** expressions
And make-believe manuscripts
Doing basic impressions of manufactured mannequins
Out in the real world
I really needed to speak with the Scarecrow
The Tinman, the Lion, and Dorothy too
And investigate their stresses with relentless pursuit

The Scarecrow would tell me
Wisdom is wasteful for those
Without a strong appetite for improvement
But sometimes common sense can lead
The most sensible person astray
The Tinman would tell me
Compassion is constructed for
Tender hands to hold
But sometimes empathy can leave
The most charitable person betrayed
The Lion would tell me
Courage can be critical in
Times of distress
But sometimes vulnerability can make
The most sensitive person brave
And Dorothy would tell me
Home is paradise
Wrapped in picket fences
But sometimes a terrifying trip can bring
The most wary person escape
And suddenly it would occur to me
That strengths are just solid scars
We have confidence to display on our sleeves
And perfection can only permeate the souls willing to recognize
That faults shine golden too
So from here on out I'm placing my masks alongside my elbow pads
Both collecting dust beside the waste bin
Replacing security for sincerity
Finally embracing the scars on my skin
Now that is a trade off I'm willing to make
Because I want to feel alive again
Ian Cairns
Written by
Ian Cairns  Ohio
(Ohio)   
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       YieShawn Scutt, Roshan S Despande, Taru M, r, --- and 13 others
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