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I live in a world by Mariam Olusunmade

Updated: Nov 5, 2022

Look into my eyes

What do you see?

Do you see what they want you to?

Do you see the truth?

Do you see me?

What do you choose to see?

I live in a world where image is relative

If I don’t look how you want, will you love me?

Will you dislike me? Will you be negative?

If I don’t fit into your box, will you let me fly or clip my wings?

Will you compare me to the girls online or let me be

Will I be able to create my own narrative? What will I bring?

I live in a world where I cannot awaken and choose what to wear

They choose for me

‘She shouldn’t wear that’

They decide for me

‘She shouldn’t dress like that’

They criticise me

Will I be able to create my own narrative? What song will I sing?

I live in a world where I do not belong

The heavens above with the breeze in the trees, the sunlight shining on the clouds,

Surely there’s acceptance that is lifelong

I live in a world where maybe one day I will decide who I want to be

Will I be able to create my own narrative? To freedom I grab and cling

Look into my eyes

What do you see

Do you see what they want you to,

Or the truth of me?

I know what I see

‘I live in a world’, is a poem written to reflect the way society can box and project images onto girls that can be damaging and long-term. We all live in a world highly motivated and influenced by social media. One wrong move or one highly supported opinion can break another down. It is important to reflect, take a minute and decide who You want to be.

The poem follows a cyclical structure. It starts and ends with the speaker directing the reader to look into their eyes. Intrusive. They are put on the spot from the very beginning, forcing the reader to look deep into what their own image is of themselves. This is a powerful move to instantly connect and engage the reader into feeling emotion and pity for the speaker.

The speaker constantly questions themselves and the reader throughout the poem. We see the three middle stanzas repeat the same lines ‘Will I be able to create my own narrative’ and ending with different rhyme clauses at the end of each line. This connects the three stanzas whilst they all pick on different areas of the speaker’s thoughts. It can demonstrate that whilst the speaker is considering different elements of their identity, they do remember that it all links to this constant question of whether they can create their own narrative. This central thought is connected through the consistent rhymes that do not follow a pattern (similar to the speaker’s state of mind), but the repetition does demonstrate it is something the speaker comes back to think about.

It is beautiful to note that by the end of the poem, the speaker has accepted that opinions are out there and intrusive, but it shouldn’t stop the speaker from making their own mind up of who they choose to be. They start the poem worried about the opinion of the reader and end it with clarity that despite what the reader sees, ‘I know what I see’. This speaks to satisfaction and contentment of the speaker, but also to wider readers. It is important to create your own narrative, decide solely who You choose to be. Yes society can influence and encourage, but that shouldn’t be the only voice we listen to. Wear what you want to wear, be who you want to be. Decide for yourself.

‘I live in a world’ is written to question, ask intrusive questions and dig deep into our own mental views of ourselves, but also to motivate and push the reader to be independent in what they decide. Do you see what they want you to see, or do you decide for yourself? Live in the world you choose for you.

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