Marc Latham’s new Folding Mirror poem questions how much we own of ourselves, and how much is owned by others. We can control our self-perceptions and actions to a certain extent, but we cannot control how we are perceived and acted against.
Therefore, do we only own half ourselves, and the other half is owned by those we meet and are known by? And does the more you keep yourself to yourself retain more of your self, and that is why retreats and self-isolation can be good for growing your self, while being in somewhere like the Big Brother house on reality television can make you lose track of yourself?
And can a period of isolated retreat grow your self to the point of epiphany? Where you keep all yourself to yourself; a respite for rebuilding that strengthens your self enough that you feel you are whole again. Somewhere that you don’t have to give half your self to anybody else, and you don’t have to receive their perceptions of you.
If you give yourself to the world: through writing, art, music or just your personality; it can be cathartic and rewarding or draining and depressing? Sometimes it is both, and sometimes these twists in mood affect the same people at different times.
Here’s the poem:
Do we see the world, as the world sees us
Do we own ourselves, or are we dependent on others
Do we think freely, or are our thoughts governed
Do we create identity, or is it instilled
Do we live for ourselves, or for others
Inside is ours? Outside is theirs?
We live for others, but also ourselves
We are born, and create social image
We think thoughts, from what we have learned
We are ourselves, but we also exist within society
We see the world, and we are seen by it
I also wrote an article inspired by this poem for Suite 101