Justin Bieber may not be the most followed superstar on Instagram, but he’s definitely one of the most interesting and publicly self-reflective. The latest expression of that is a poignant poem.
On Tuesday, the 22-year-old shared the apparently self-penned text on his Instagram. It seems to shine a light on some of the emotional, mental health, and also spiritual issues he is dealing with.
From Bieber’s previous existential Instagram posts, some of which cited scripture, or mused on vulnerabilities, to canceling his Purpose World Tour meet-and-greets in March, after revealing taking on the “spiritual energy” of his fans “drained” and left him “emotionally and mentally exhausted to the point of depression,” to his recent photo ban after encounters with invasive fans made him feel “like a zoo animal,” to crying at some of his Purpose shows — Bieber is clearly going through something.
The singer’s untitled poem begins, “Are you afraid of a bug / As small as it is / Are you afraid of your dreams / As big as they seem / If the sky is the limit / Why do we limit ourselves.”
For Bieber, who was discovered at the age of 13 and leaped to worldwide fame at 15 when his single “One Time” exploded on to the charts, undoubtedly he has experienced the realization of dreams and — perhaps — the fear of losing those achievements.
Then, the most startling line of the poem. “I’ve spent a lot of time wishing that I was someone else / Who am I at my core / Will I fight for what I love / Do I give in to the world and not give enough / Will I keep true to my morals and what I believe.”
“Will I stand tall like a tree / Or blow like a leaf / It’s up to me,” he concludes.
The Biebs’ poem reads like a Hamletian, soul-searching soliloquy, the kind that many human beings have no doubt mused on at some point. It’s an insight into the singer’s struggles, questioning, feelings, and longing for something better. And, it’s poignant because we, as observers, have seen so much of Bieber’s life played out in public.
Into the mix, last year the Biebs revealed he suffers from depression and anxiety. Since then, most media outlets have downplayed or even ignored his mental health admissions. Instead, sites prefer to label the Grammy winner as “strange,” “odd,” or “bad.” It’s not a stretch to see this omission as a sign that the narrative finds more value in simplistically painting Bieber as a villain, rather than a young human being trying to work out who he is in the full glare of global scrutiny and tabloid distortion.
Earlier this year, Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, spoke about one of the battles the pop singer overcame before his astonishing comeback in 2015. During an interview he alluded to a “wake-up-call” scenario Bieber experienced during the most turbulent period of his life (to date), after which he made drastic ongoing changes.
But it wasn’t all heavy-going on the Biebs’ Instagram on Tuesday. The singer also tantalized fans by unveiling four videos (he subsequently deleted one), all of which revealed different beats-driven R&B backing tracks. The Biebs is partially seen in one of the videos.
The second is a optimistic slow jam with Prince-esque strings.
The third and last clip reveals a somber stepper of a track that could go anywhere — or nowhere. As Justin Bieber fans are well aware, plenty of music has made an appearance on the pop icon’s Instagram and never been heard of again. Time will tell.
[Images via Kevin Mazur / Getty Images]