Wie is jy/Who are you?

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We all wear masks to a greater or lesser extend.

Some masks are pleasant and kind and loving while we (hopefully) take time to really grow those attributes in ourselves and heal the not so nice or painful parts.

Others wear ugly, angry or rebellious masks because they learned that the world they were in, stomped on love and kindness and vulnerability.

Most of us are a combination of both light and dark inside and outside and we need to bring those wounds into the open to be able to heal it. Whether we show unhealed wounds to the world is up to us, but we at least need to show it to ourselves.

When we do however show our vulnerability to the world or a select few, we risk ridicule and shame, but also helps ourselves and others know it’s safe to be ourselves and not completely 100% whole. Who is anyway?

A word to the wise then, choose those that you open up to wisely. Not everyone is ready to accept vulnerability in themselves or others. Closely listen to your intuition to know who to share your wounds with.

The poem underneath is about those who seem so whole and polished and put together that you can’t see behind the mask, even thought you might usually be able to. You wonder whether this is who they became through a wonderfully perfect and for most of us elusive childhood (can there truly be such a perfect childhood when all parents in the end, are perfectly imperfect at their best?), through learning their lessons well or whether it’s just another elaborate mask.

Sometimes you long to see just a touch of raw, unsophisticated humanness to have something to connect with.

Wie is jy?

Wanneer die koue winterson 
‘n uiltjie gaan knip agter die berge, lê jy jou imposante masker neer?

Of dra jy hom saam 
waar ookal jy gaan?

Het hy deel geword van jou, 
is hy nou jy?

Wie is jy drie uur in die oggend
wanneer slaap jou ontwyk?

Wanneer lewe en liefde en die wêreld in geheel soos ‘n oorlog lyk; glip die masker en word jy weer weerloos, kaalvoet net mens?

It’s difficult for a novice to translate poems from one language to another without losing the feeling and rhythm, so I’ll keep to a more or less direct translation.

Who are you?

When the cold winter sun

lies down its head behind the mountains.

Do you take down your mask?

Or has it become such a part of you, 

that it has become you?

Who are you three o’clock at night,

when sleep doesn’t come?

When life and love and the world as a whole

feels like war?

Does the mask finally slip

and you return to your vulnerable, barefoot human self?

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