If You Were Me
You’ll be born into a Southern working-class military family.
You’ll be born in Germany,
and emigrate to a nation of immigrants who don’t like immigrants.
You’ll get picked on for that and because you had a bad haircut.
Kids won’t know if you’re male or female,
and to make matters worse,
you’ll be a tomboy,
but it will teach you open-mindedness about sexuality,
because you won’t want to treat anyone the way you were treated.
You’ll grow up watching spy shows on the television.
You’ll try to be a spy as a kid,
but you’ll get in trouble.
They’ll suggest you be a writer.
You’ll dream of being a poet,
but you’ll dabble in every other art form first,
forgetting about that dream.
Your earliest heroes will be Jewish
folk musicians and comedians,
and you’ll grow up watching westerns
and listening to country.
You’ll completely forget those last two lines of facts.
You’ll rebel against your parents
by listening to rock music,
and against your peer’s angsty culture
by listening to only older music.
Then for many years, you’ll try to fit in,
but you still find you only like new bands with an old sound.
You’ll have a strong sense of morality
and lean left politically in a conservative place,
mainly because you’ll discover you’re a pacifist,
and you like protest songs.
This last thing will get you in trouble,
so you’ll try to pretend the opposite.
You’ll pretend so long
that you’ll forget your real feelings.
You will search high and low to find people
who like what you like, but they’re rare.
You’ll meet your husband and convert to his religion,
because you won’t believe in Jesus due to Santa Claus,
but you’ll still believe in following biblical laws.
You’ll move to California chasing a dream and escaping bigots who were chasing your husband for being Jewish,
and later you’ll try to become a rabbi,
only to find out he isn’t considered Jewish.
You’ll completely refuse to fight the system
because it otherwise largely accepted you.
They’ll tell you your whole childhood how creative you are,
except that you can’t do it as a career.
You’ll try anyway.
You’ll win awards,
but not make enough money,
and end up doing what your parents told you.
You’ll forget you were a good artist in the first place.
You won’t be able to find any sort of permanent job.
You’ll get depressed because you’re lonely,
and join a synagogue to find some friends.
You’ll get injured at work.
You’ll try to be an artist again
just to distract yourself from pain,
not really caring about monetary gain.
You’ll start listening to country, folk, and oldies again.
You’ll have time off
where you finally get to know your friends,
and you’ll realize they were who
you were looking for your whole life.