I Was Proud, Once

I was proud, once

so proud to be

soaking in slogans like

‘freedom isn’t free’

and pledging my allegiance

blindly

and the pledging began before

I realized that Santa Claus

and the Easter bunny

and the tooth fairy

didn’t exist

it began at a time

when most kids

will believe anything

 

but even after that,

I went on pretending

that I believed in the tooth fairy

because a dollar a tooth

seemed better than the truth,

better than reality.

 

I went on pretending

that I believed in the Easter bunny

because, though I made a lot of money

from the tooth fairy

I never traded my sweet tooth for a dollar

and it was a little white lie

worth the prize

of a basket filled with fake grass,

chocolate eggs,

and peepz.

 

I went on pretending

that I believed in Santa Claus

because I didn’t understand

that all those presents wrapped under the tree

for my brother, sister, and me

were bought with a credit card

because no matter how many hours my parents worked,

or how hard,

the middle class was always out of reach

so, I always acted grateful for what Santa brought

and I never thought about the consequences.

 

I went on pretending

that I believed in America

because I thought I needed the dollars

thought I needed the chocolate

thought I needed the presents,

and I thought it felt good,

thought, ‘this is what freedom tastes like’

as I washed down a burger with a super-sized cola

thought, “all these dollars,

and chocolates,

and presents,

and burgers,

and super-sized colas,

and American flags,

this is what freedom is.”

But I didn’t believe it.

I didn’t believe any of it.

I stopped believing in the god of Catholicism

before my confirmation.

I stopped believing in America

before swearing an oath

to support and defend the constitution.

I stopped believing, but I wanted to believe

felt I needed to believe

so I pretended to believe.

But deep down, it felt just as wrong

as it did to collect those dollar bills

and those chocolate eggs

and those Christmas presents.

 

By the time that I realized

that trading my conscience

for a dollar bill

or a chocolate Easter egg

or a present from Santa Claus

or the illusion of freedom,

was spiritual suicide,

it was too late.

I was in Iraq,

 

I wanted to believe in God

I wanted to believe in America…

but I was ashamed that,

long after I had stopped believing

I kept on pretending.

 

Pretending in things that aren’t real

can be deadly.

So, never again will I pretend

not for money

not for chocolate

not for presents,

or anything,

material or otherwise.

I was proud, once

but never again…

and never again will I pretend.

 

 

 

 

 

About soitgoes1984

I was born and raised on land stolen from the Pocumtuc. I now live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, on land that was stolen more recently, from the Hawaiians. I am addict, struggling to kick the habit of fossil fuel. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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