Sunday, February 20, 2011

Be an Outcast!

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  This week I chose to focus on one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets: “Be Nobody’s Darling” by Alice Walker.

Author and poet, Alice Walker

Be Nobody’s Darling by Alice Walker   

Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.

Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.

Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
(Uncool)
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous
Fools.

Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
They said.

Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.

I hope you enjoyed the poem and found its message inspiring.  Here is what I think it could teach us:

I would like to begin by asking you a question, and in answering this question, I ask that you be honest.  How many times do you jump on the bandwagon and follow the actions of the crowd?  Never?  Every now and then?  Sometimes?  Remember that you are to be honest.  Are you having a hard time arriving at an honest answer? If so, let me help you.  We jump on the bandwagon and follow the actions of the crowd more often than we realize.  For example, think about how frequently you have purchased clothing according to the latest fashion or have obtained technical gadgets because of their increasing popularity among others.  I know that I am guilty of following the crowd, and if you are honest with yourself, I believe that you will be guilty as well.  The truth is that we are humans, and as a social species, we are more inclined to follow the crowd.  However, is being a follower always beneficial? 

Although being a follower may provide us with the benefit of social acceptance, it prevents us from being outcasts.  You may ask, why should we be outcasts?  Allow me to give you three reasons:

First, being an outcast allows us to define our sense of self and enhances our self-esteem and confidence.  It allows us to channel your inner creativity and pursue our dreams and desires.

Second, being an outcast differentiates us from the bunch and makes us stand out among the masses.  This is helpful when we are applying for jobs or for school admissions, as most employers and admission representatives often consider the candidates who stand out the most within the applicant pool. 

Third, being an outcast allows us to make our mark on the world.  We can’t greatly impact the world by being followers, for in following others, we are drawn into the black pit of oblivion.  We essentially become nonentities.  History has shown that the most successful people on earth were those who dared to be different.   

Now that I have informed you about the benefits of being an outcast, you may have wondered why is it so difficult to be one.

I believe that we have difficulty in being outcasts simply because we are busily trying to live up to others' expectations.  How often have you altered your actions according to what others may have wanted you to do with your life? I know that I have many times.  We try to please those we love and are strongly connected to: our parents, friends, significant others, and anyone else who may be important to us.  Although it may seem like the greatest love we can offer, to sacrifice our desires for the desires of others, we must acknowledge that we are who we are and that we have an obligation to live our lives.  When we live our lives being who we are individually and uniquely, we are happier and freer.    

Walker advises us to be nobody’s darling and to not heed to the wishes of others.  She insists that we become the outcasts that we are naturally.  (We essentially are outcasts because we are all so distinctly different!)  We mustn’t allow people to change us into whom they think we should be. We are way too cool to be pounded and molded into something we are not.    

Now is the time to be the outcasts that we truly are.  From this moment forward, we shall live according to the ways we wish.  We will get that funky hairstyle we always wanted but didn’t get because we were too afraid of what others may think.  We will follow that dream that others discouraged us from pursuing.  We will be those walking contradictions.  If down the road, people are shocked by our actions, so what.  We will tell them that we are not like others.  We are outcasts and do not live according to others’ expectations.  We are who we are, unapologetically.    

3 comments:

  1. Great interpretation there of one of my favourite poems! A poem about self discovery and affirmation.One cant read this poem and be the same again.
    Great blog here-keep it up.

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  2. Replies
    1. Alice Walker wrote this poem for her Revolutionary Petunias collection in 1973.

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