Self-Portrait, Warts and All

MarinaPicSort of a prose poem really, which came out of being asked to do a self-portrait for dVerse Poets Pub. Third person, of course, as befits any bio written for the corporate world… although I doubt I’ll be making use of this one in the near future. 

There was a young lady of Bucharest

Who was searching for a good place to rest

‘A lot I have seen,

I’m betwixt and between,

There’s no single place I like the best.’

Gawd, what a drama queen! No one has known the trouble she’s seen… because she marched in revolutions, was shot at, moved often. Because she was the precious, unique, rare jewel of an only child. Oh, sure, polished all the rough corners out of recognition by parents who had come so far they’d forgotten. Or feared the past would catch up to embarrass them. Suffocation of eyes attached to one’s shoulder, nose to the grindstone. Musty odour of academic success, sharp sniff of disappointment when early stardom turned to suburbia and monotony of housewifedom. Motherhood still warring inside me. Laziness has now enveloped my muscles, sinews, brain. Skin too thin, patched together to cover the gaps with a rough worsted in attempt to be jolly.

Not allowed to keep cats or sit on toilets for hygienic reasons, she nervously does both today. Do I detect a tendency to blame others for falling short? Dreaded word: expectations. Lofty and absurd. The wrong passport, attitude, husband, career path.  Always wiser five steps after the event. Wrong kind of mind, too perpendicular.

She sits in laundry like a queen of discontentment, pontificating about what could have been if she had been … and seen… but never done. Bastard of many cultures, home in all and none. Dreaming in tongues, limber and crafty, mistress in none.



30 thoughts on “Self-Portrait, Warts and All”

  1. What a rich and thoughtful self-portrait, Marina Sofia! I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we all have those strengths and warts in our personalities. They are shaped by our backgrounds, our experiences, our own personalities, our cultures and a lot more. But in my opinion, it’s our imperfections along with our strengths and sources of pride that make us interesting.

  2. ha – that is a nice self-portrait… sounds like you had an interesting childhood… and i can imagine that it’s fascinating and at the same time not so easy to be at home in so many cultures… though i think the open mindset it gives you is priceless

  3. home in all and none, says much doesnt it? what an interesting story you have marina…would love to hear more of it some time…..marching in revolutions and being shot at, wow…i like the rather calling yourself out a bit in the transition from verse to prose…ha

  4. Can’t get the picture out of my mind of this Queen of Discontent, tiara slightly askew, sorting the coloureds from the whites 🙂
    [I’m taking this with a pinch of salt in places]

  5. What an interesting life you hint at. I like your humor and was intregued by the limerick and prose combo. I am also intregued by parts of your life, and feel all-too-familiar with others. “home in many cultures and none” rang true with me, though I don’t think I am as traveled as you.

  6. An honest self portrait, quite a feat to write about almost a lifetime of being a drama queen, dreamer, mistress of cultures and perhaps a gypsy heart ~ I hear you on what could have been, but keep on dreaming, smiles ~

  7. I thought this as fabulous Marina, you explored the portrait so clearly and you know its all those warts which go to make up the person we are and why the ones we love love us as they do.

  8. Expectation is a dreadful word… and yet it clings to us because we expect the most from ourselves…
    A powerful story of perseverance, continuation and keeping on… I admire the way you penned your personality in your words. Great job.

  9. So rich in imagery… and so insightful. I am the opposite, rarely straying from the town I grew up in, and I often wonder what I would be like if I’d done otherwise. So much to relate to in this piece, you painted a rich, poignant picture..

    1. I know a lot of ‘third culture kids’ (who grew up in places outside their home country) crave that stability. I suppose we always wonder what ‘ the road not taken’ would have been like…

  10. and that’s just the first half, there’s much more to come…

    Nothing like writing on the spot and letting it all out.

    It inspires me, if you lived here, I’d say, fancy a drink on the Cours after the kids have had dinner 🙂

  11. “Suffocation of eyes attached to one’s shoulder” … telling, Marina, very telling. “Bastard of many cultures, home in all and none” … Most telling of all. Having roots, or rather having a permanent place you can call home, a place where you can feel your mind and body let go and relax, your soul emerge from its deepest recesses, is a prerequisite condition for me to find peace in my heart; being able to express the real me … and you.

    Gosh, you sound like you have lived a challenging life, Marina.

  12. Sofia, I read a lot of sadness here – enjoyed the variety you blend in, to the depth of self portrait you have to let readers connect to you.

  13. Really like the switch from poetry to prose..the drama queen wishes she weren’t so prone to be that way, but that’s how we see life…and to be a part of it and experience it fully before it’s too late. Very well articulated..a great self portrait…
    I can relate to the embarrassment and suffocation of eyes…wars going on…time to find peace with it all or come to terms with it is what you are doing I think 😉

  14. The flighty limericks did not prepare me for the weighty read following it. I found empathy with the voice of this poem immediately. I identify with the person in this well-written portrait.

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