What Do You Believe?

It’s one thing to say you believe
and another to truly believe.

Most of my life I’ve uttered the words taught to me by my parents,
absorbed the messages broadcast by society
and believed the assertions of my inner critic.
What is it about now that has me questioning everything,
and wanting to unlearn a lifetime’s worth of beliefs?
Surely, not everything I learned was untrue.
After all, my parents introduced me to the concept of You.
But now, you’re no longer just a concept,
rather, a feeling, a presence by my side.
Society told me my worth was in my monetary value –
how much do I earn? how much do i own? –
but that just never felt right.
I don’t want to own anything,
I want to experience everything.
And I’m no fool. I know that money matters.
It’s just not what I want to strive for.
My inner critic always told me
I was unworthy of love.
So I shaped a life around that belief,
and lived in a dark place called Denial.
It was dark, but familiar,
part of my limited comfort zone.
So what is it about now that has me questioning everything?
I really can’t say,
other than to venture
that You have something to do with it.

This place, this precipice,
is terrifying.
But the longer I stand here,
the more chances I’ll lose my nerve.
The more I extend this limbo,
the less likely I’ll be able to take the leap
and see if, indeed, I will fall
or flail my under-used wings
and eventually learn how to fly.

There’s a difference between saying the words
and believing them.
The world says everyone is beautiful,
but still bows down to a singular body type.
The world says all people are equal,
but still takes pains to put up walls
and increase gaps.
The world says our planet is precious
but denies the fact that she is dying
without the love and care of her people.
There’s a difference between saying the words
and believing them.
The time has come to figure out what we truly want,
what we truly believe,
and to shatter all the fragile masks and dishonest tropes
that have taken over our lives.

What do I truly believe?
I believe in You
and the power of love.
I believe in the value of helping others,
the importance of feeling connected
and respecting everyone.
The extraordinary wonder of children.
The necessity of pain,
but not of prolonging it to punish ourselves,
rather of holding it in like a wounded child
and then letting it go,
comforted by the knowledge that it will surely
lead to something better.
I believe
that I am worthy
and can handle
anything You throw my way,
including this,
this most difficult of steps,
over the edge
and into the unknown.

I believe that one day,
I’ll look back and think,
“Thank God, I took that step.”

Nida Elley is a New Yorker/Lahori/Austinite/Londoner travelling circus of wonders who runs a blog – Lovelorn (https://lovelorn.me) – that explores the disconnection we all feel sometimes. Her work has been published in the short story anthology, “Austenistan”(Bloomsbury, 2018) and the poetry anthology, “Words By_”(Suitcase Media, 2019).


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2 thoughts on “What Do You Believe?

  1. Amazing poem and totally agreeable. i loved reading it! Cheers from a fellow Pakistani 😊

  2. Thank you so much!☺️

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