The uneven tarmac


Had 15 minutes to make it to the shop. My brothers usually go grocery shopping, but one was working till late and the other had knocked out from a super early shift. Grandma’s milk and bread were missing so I sighed and told my mum who was trying to get my snoring brother to get up, that I would go. I can dress blindfolded, in under 4 minutes flat. 2 minutes if I hurry. I dress how I feel; dull, plain, abaya coming apart at the seams from dragging my feet, old shoes that aren’t even mine, just found them in the house. I don’t want to be seen. I hate going out, especially during the summer. I feel the sun is like a spotlight exposing me to everyone.

I made ducaa that Allaah be with me as I rush to the shop because the thoughts are vicious and the self-hate is intense. I feel like I’m walking through the market naked. I hyperfocus on everything and until I get back home I’m in the clutches of body dysmorphia. I only know how to avoid it, I don’t know how to rebut something that’s technically correct.

I either look at the sky, taking pictures of it, or down at my weathered shoes. I press shuffle on my Spotify list and crank up the volume. It’s been raining so it’s easier to dissociate.

The way I walk. The way the wind reveals what I’m hiding for dear life. My wobbly gait. The way I try not to breathe too hard when others pass me by, so that I don’t seem like the stereotypical fatty. Never mind that I have asthma and fibromyalgia which makes it pertinent that I inhale deeply. Pff, what’s life.

With every person that I pass or passes me I reinforce the self-hate I’ve projected on them. I convince myself that they see what I see. I take breaks pretending to look at my phone so as not to become out of breath. I feel like a spy trying to blend in, throw off anyone hot on my heels.

When I write I can get away from all of that. I get a break from the obsessive thoughts because I know people can’t judge me the same way. Indoors, I shine. I’m creative, kind, resourceful, intelligent. But those are abstract concepts that aren’t visible or valuable to those out there. And I guess I’ve been trying to be an abstract idea. One dimensional. But I can’t and I don’t know how to accept that fact.

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