Achievement’s a cloak like the emperor’s new clothes
that eventually show their nude.
My success has been my calling card, through
a life of critique and rude.
My cloak was stitched with A-grades, degrees,
a career of mastering challenge.
I wore my cloak with scholarly pride, to dinner
and breakfast and lunch.
My achievement cloak hid all of my sins,
and a body that could not connect,
because feeling something might propel me back
to the blows around my neck.
My cloak brought me work, and sometimes awards
to frame and prove I was good.
Titles, money, power and glory – isn’t that how
success is understood?
Work became my pride and joy, stressy badges
to sew to my cloak.
Not knowing that what I fed myself, others,
would eventually make me choke.
‘Cos when success was robbed from me, and
I lost my believed esteem,
the cloak that fell from my puny self
exposed my bare-bodied screams.
Without my cloak I was shrivelled, a slug
on a rainy path at night,
without form or spine, or plausible goal,
I writhed with shame and spite.
My success had always defined me, gave me
light in a room of dark.
Without external validation, where the hell
would I find my spark.
I’ve been searching my soul for the answer to that
for the last six or so years.
In a cycle, I’m temped by the lure of success, and
a salary to stamp out my fears.
When that eludes, I seek something else
to fill the void of the cloak,
but without its defending, hiding role
I find I’m emotionally broke.
Yet once the cloak is exposed as fake
it’s hard to believe it was once real.
My journey now is to create a new life
out of fabric with a softer feel.
I’m facing each day with authentic intent,
Yet the urge is still there, I reckon.
Is my cloak hung up on the hook of beyond,
or does its shield have an unbearable beckon?