The uneven tarmac

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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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