Storytelling

“You can’t make homes out of human beings”

Understanding the Poetry of Warsan Shire

I saw this image on Pinterest and was about to pin it to my Poetry & Lyrics board, but I wanted to comment on it here instead. I do not know the original source of the creator of this text and image because the link only sends me straight to the Tumblr homepage rather than someone’s Tumblr post.

However, these words struck me as interesting with regards to the notion of love and romance. The concept of a “home” transferring meaning from a place to a person juxtaposes a lesson that the narrator learns in a piece called Poem eleven – for women who are ‘difficult’ to love. The poem’s narrator recounts her relationship following a heart-shattering separation from her lover/significant other. (Poem eleven – for women who are ‘difficult’ to love was originally written by the poet Warsan Shire, whose own blog may be found here: warsan in wonderland).

The narrator of Shire’s poem says the following quote towards the end:

“you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.”

So what does it mean? Does this mean you should invest in the other person or not?

You should invest in the other person. However, you should be wise enough to remember that the key to truly knowing the answer to that question lies in the extent you are willing to sacrifice your own self-identity because of your love for someone. If you happen to think to yourself, “Yes, I would do anything for this person,” then you should proceed to ask yourself if your relationship has a healthy dynamic between you and your significant other. If you’re not happy, then it may be that you’re spending more of your time and effort in giving of yourself to the other person, rather than having an equilibrium of give-and-take between you and your beloved.

There is a way to maintain your own self-identity within a relationship without “making homes out of human beings” and losing yourself in the process.

You just have to learn how to be your own whole complete person, as does your beloved, in order to fully understand how to be someone’s other (perhaps even better) half.

 

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