The Part Of Me I Didn’t Like

I wasn’t who you made me,

I turned myself into that girl

who threaded her fingers

into the gaps between yours.


Lingered longer than should have

outside of cafes, and pocket shops,

between cobbles and walkways

where we strolled away afternoons

until the bus table declared enough

was enough.


She who returned whenever she could

because you made her feel wanted,

told her she could be

and would be if you weren’t

already taken.


Like I said,

she wasn’t her because of you.

I managed to make her all by myself.

Unmaking her was the part

I’m still learning how to do.


This is a poem I’ve written out a few times in various forms and never been quite happy with but tonight’s poetics prompt seemed like the perfect time to have another go at it. Still not sure I’ve got it right but I can always try again another day. Feedback as always is greatly appreciated if you have the time to spare.


  1. A true confession! This is a poem I can identify with, Carol. I’ve done it more than once, and wondered why I kept on doing it. I still don’t understand. I think I’ve learnt to love myself and won’t be doing it again. I think the lines that very effectively describe the way we change to suit the ones we want to be with are:
    ‘I turned myself into that girl
    who threaded her fingers
    into the gaps between yours’
    ‘she wasn’t her because of you.
    I managed to make her all by myself.
    Unmaking her was the part
    I’m still learning how to do’.

    1. Thank you Kim. Yes, someone else has picked out those two part as well. They seem to have hit home to most for people. It still worries me how easily I used to loose myself chasing after fantasies as a teenager.

  2. I like that. The taking of responsibility. The opposite to a lot of confessional poetry where the poet has no control over the ‘dark destiny’. This is understated and quietly sad, but strong too.

    1. Thank you Jane. I tend to be of the mindset that if you screw up you need to own it. I’ve known too many people who blame everyone else for the messes they make and it’s infuriating.

      1. It seems to be general—the blame culture— an awful lot of people who look for someone to blame when they fall off the pavement or get on the wrong bus, get too fat to fit into aircraft seats etc etc As for taking responsibility for their love lives!

  3. I think the first and last stanzas are the strongest. I recognise that girl (of course) – not sure you’ll ever get rid of her! – I think it’s a good piece, over all.

  4. This describes my first two marriages. I woman I courted disappeared after the nuptials; kind of a 20th century construct taught to young girls by their misguided mothers and society.

  5. Very much connected with your poem. You made her with blood, sweat, and tears, for love with her/him. You will unmake her for love for yourself. It’s important to know what materials were used in construction.

  6. Beautiful descriptions of your personality… I find the end sad in that you are changing from that carefree person into something someone wants you to be!??

    1. Opposite way around sort of. I was turning into someone I didn’t want to be the more time I spent with this guy. It was a few years ago now and I’m still unpicking the pieces that in the end, weren’t me and weren’t the sort of person I was happy being.

  7. “Unmaking her is the part I’m still learning how to do”. Sometimes we end up spending a lot of time undoing the habits/actions/thoughts that we have created about ourselves. There’s also a certain power that comes with admitting “I managed to make her all by myself.” Well worded, Carol.

  8. Ah, this is such a good confessional verse — it reminds me of the Kamala Das poem I shared for the prompt.
    It can be liberating to acknowledge all that we make of ourselves for others. It’s the “unmaking” which takes time. I found this bit very effective:
    “into that girl/who threaded her fingers/into the gaps between yours.”

    1. Thank you. I’ll admit I was a bit spooked by the prompt. I’d spent the previous evening trying to write this out and not hitting the notes I wanted to so it was very odd to then be given the challenge of writing confessional poetry, It was a fantastic prompt however.

  9. There’s a sense of shrinking yourself down and abdicating your power here, to fit into someone else’s requirements. Perhaps you are not unmaking, but re-building.

    ‘who threaded her fingers
    into the gaps between yours’
    is a powerful image of the contortions we may do in search of the would be’s.

  10. Hi there, Carol, you mention you have tried this poem a few times and would welcome feed back. I think the first two stanzas and the last are strong, you might try leaving out the third stanza and see how the poem looks without it. Just my humble opinion, I have a lot of poems lying around that I just can’t get right!

  11. Being drawn to the forbidden fruit is certainly human! I really really liked the way you wrote this in the third person, as to be more objective in your telling, and in that, an honest level revealing. Very potent writing Carol!

  12. I like the last stanza especially. I have tried also to make myself to match someone’s expectations–not only doesn’t it work, but undoing it is so difficult. Hard to find the person underneath the disguise again. (K)

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