I’ve always acted stoic. When I had no friends, when I’d be picked on, when my parents broke my heart. I never let it show. I convinced myself that it didn’t matter. I convinced myself that it was ok to go through life unheard,unseen, misunderstood. I’d look every fear in the eye and charge right at it out of spite, because I didn’t want anything to exert that control over me. I was the quiet nerd with her nose buried in novels during breaks to keep myself occupied whilst the girls congregated in the hallways or bathrooms. I’d be stonewall so much that it was like living behind the Iron Curtain that separated Western Europe from the East during the Cold War.I guess it was technically bullying, but every time they tried to hurt me, I’d stand my ground. I would not flinch, not cry, prepared to fight till the death of me. Or on the days when I was scared and wanted a conflict-free day, I’d keep out of sight so as not to let anyone see my pain. Yet my heart would drown in tears and my soul became so drenched in suppressed tears that I became so mushy inside. On the outside though I was the Sahara desert.
One survival mechanism I developed during my tenure as bullied (LOL) was to never give my bullies the satisfaction of seeing the pain their bullying inflicted on me. If I acted that way, perhaps my wish for them to be a figment of my imagination, a portion of nightmare, would become true.
That survival mechanism turned into a habit, which turned into second nature. You betrayed me? Cool. You’re invalidating me? No probs. You stood me up? Don’t worry about it. You don’t give a shit about me? Ts ok.
And that’d be the last you see of me. Sometimes I forget I hurt. Actually most of the time I’m not aware, like someone who’s been stabbed in the back with a knife yet doesn’t feel anything.
One thing that still gets to me is why I don’t have more girlfriends. Majority of my friends are guys. I’m a people’s person and I know many people, but I’m always shut out of girls’ circles. I pretend it doesn’t bother me. I see how girls comment on each other’s insta, how they dress up for aroosyo and I find myself pining for such a relationship.
I know it’s something I’m doing – or not doing. Is it because I live so much in head? Is it because I’m not a makeup or fashion fan? I try to keep up, watch makeup tutorials to try to recreate the eyebrows on fleek look or contouring or whatnot. But my enthusiasm always fizzles out and the expensive makeup I’ve bought end up expiring. I don’t feel so beautiful on the inside, so it’s only a matter of time before my brain catches on and decides to drop the act.
Is it because I’m so blunt?So obsessively steeped in philosophical musings?My incessant obsession with finding the truth in all matters?
I’m not often visited by the ghosts of my past who bring up these questions, but I’ve learnt that when they do come visit, to let them in. To hear them out, and drain my heart of the well of tears – a little each time. I allow myself to feel my human emotions and I let the bottled up tears rain on my Sahara desert exterior, leaving seeds of hope planted in their wake. And when it’s time for the ghosts to return whence they came from the bottom of my subconscious, my outside is a bit softer, my inside a bit stronger, and I realize that I’ve overlooked the phenomenal friends I do have whilst pining for childhood dreams more rooted in wanting approval than in actual friendships.
I have a codeword that I only use with friends; yo. I don’t know why I do that, but if I use that with you, or randomly check in on you, know that I count you as a friend. And I think the fact that you accepted me inspite of my eccentric randomness and blunt questions, makes me realize that I’ve got the type of friends people daydream of, and write poems about.
It’s when I realize that those ghosts of my subconscious don’t come to torture me by making me revisit stuff, but to allow me to see that my oddity has attracted gems of humans, whilst keeping the scum at bay.