The One Mandate
To make it plainly stated and to the point, I will not lie.
I will not lie, period.
As a child, I was raised to be seen but not heard. But in this space, I will not lie about my existence. I exist here. I am flesh and blood, bone and marrow, heart and mind. I have a voice, and should you strain to hear it whisper, or wince at enduring its shouts, so be it. Whenever I pick up a pen or open a new window, I am poised to scatter myself into the atmosphere with the reckless abandon of someone who wants their Truth to be seen, heard, and felt.
As a young adult, I was taught to say only things my elders wanted to hear; to intuitively recognize their needs before they spoke, and to dutifully provide them. But here, I will not lie to make you feel better about yourself, I will not lie to make you feel better about me, and I will not lie to make me feel better about myself. I will breathe my Truth into the lines you read; the good, bad, ugly and even worse, sharpening and distilling to make an even more potent elixir – or if the mood suits me – a more effective poison.
In the corporate world, I was taught to couch unpalatable news behind safe corporate speak; to tell demanding clients that “Yes! We have no bananas!” But here, I will not lie, risking the compromise of my artistic integrity. I will not cower in the corner, shuttering away my very essence in fear that someone may read my Truth, become offended, and deny me the opportunity to give them part of my soul that I’ll never get back – or worse – that they never deserved in the first place.
It is a dirty little secret that everyone must answer to someone. Children to their parents, parents to each other, employees to managers, managers to directors, CEO’s to stockholders, public servants to the people, farmers to the will of the land. But here, I have decided to answer only to myself, and only to this one mandate. I find that this commitment is the highest form of creative liberation, and I am replenished with each renewal.
Maybe my Truth will one day help me earn a comfortable lifestyle, and maybe it won’t earn a single red cent. Perhaps my Truth will evolve, rising to the heavens to mingle with the words of widely regarded laureates, or maybe it is destined to be eternally arrested here like a primate reaching for the moon, but only getting so far as the highest branches. None of this matters because I can look back on each line written and know for a fact that I exist, and that this is my Truth.
And so I say to anyone who will listen; I will not lie.
My friends over at dVerse poets challenged me to write my own personal manifesto. This is what I came up with. Feel free to try it for yourself, or you can go read the wonderful manifestos of other highly talented poets.