When I entered the room, it felt like a whole new world. New faces, new things and a new place. I slowly chipped in to my new place, my bag placed to my left. I kept staring at the students around, each in casuals, and wearing a wide, genuine smile. Each one was a part of an active, hyper, and a wonderful gang, placing arms on each other, warm hugs, and sharing inside jokes. I thought about my sister, who had been my only true friend all these years, my palm placed on my chin, looking down.
“Hi, what’s your name? And where ‘ye from ?”, a shrill voice tempted me to look him in the eye. He was a lean,teeny-weeny guy, but taller than me, having sharp eyebrows, deep brown eyes, a blunt nose, and a thin moustache. Cute. “I-I’m from- LA”, I somehow spoke. “Cool , why are ya nervous ?”, he asked, keeping his hand on my head. “No, I’m not, nothing”, I replied feigning my smile. “Okay, join me when you’re free”, he walked away.
There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall. Until you get comfortable with being alone, you’ll never know if you’re choosing someone out of love or loneliness. It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.
I sat there,still not daring to look up. The classes had begun, and it felt like living in an asylum. The last time I genuinely smiled was a year ago, when Sophie told me that I had won the Creative Writing contest. I didn’t smile because I won, I smiled because my thoughts were valued by the person who had read it. Since then, life’s been a quiet place. I had already found that it was not good to be alone, and so made companionship with what there was around me, sometimes with the universe and sometimes with my own insignificant self; but my books were always my friends, let fail all else.
I feel too much. That’s what’s going on.’ ‘Do you think one can feel too much? Or just feel in the wrong ways?’ ‘My insides don’t match up with my outsides.’ ‘Do anyone’s insides and outsides match up?’ ‘I don’t know. I’m only me.’ ‘Maybe that’s what a person’s personality is: the difference between the inside and outside.’ ‘But it’s worse for me.’ ‘I wonder if everyone thinks it’s worse for him.’ ‘Probably. But it really is worse for me. All I wanted was to live a life where I could be me, and be okay with that. I had no need for material possessions, money or even close friends with me on my journey. I never understood people very well anyway, and they never seemed to understand me very well either. All I wanted was my art and the chance to be the creator of my own world, my own reality. I wanted the open road and new beginnings every day. And finding that sort of life was hard.
I walked home alone, while everyone had their bunch to tag along, laugh out loud and shed their tears, and have a shoulder to lean on. Even at home, I would rush into my room and lock myself up. I would have so many things, sandwiched between the chambers of my heart. I would throw myself on the bed, stuff my head between the pillows and cry. A silent scream.
The next day I went to my class early. I walked around the campus, and took a deeper dive into nature. As I waited alone, the same guy came and sat next to me. “You didn’t tell me your name yesterday. I too forgot to ask ya.” I slowly lifted my chin, and turned, facing him. “My name is Rebecca, some call me Rebe”. Within a few minutes, I felt the comfort. Something made me talk to him, in the most normal way. It was like releasing all the thoughts which had been imprisoned within for years, and a gradual flow of words. “What’s your name ?”, I asked after a solid eight minutes of conversation. “My name’s Ryan, from L.A.”, he said with a wide grin. “Oh. Nice to meet you.” I gave a gentle smile. “Me too. Okay , I gotta go now, my class will start in another ten minutes. Bye. And… we’ll meet tomorrow ?” “Yeah sure. Bye.” And we parted ways to our respective classrooms.
It felt good. Even if you cannot change all the people around you, you can change the people you choose to be around. Life is too short to waste your time on people who don’t respect, appreciate, and value you. Spend your life with people who make you smile, laugh, and feel loved.
Days changed. I would wait for the next day to begin, while earlier I used to wait for the day to end. Things were still bad at home, forget wants, I never got even my needs. New things were a fantasy, and only in my dreams I owned them. I had no one to talk to, so that I could pour my thoughts to empty my mind. Scrolling through feeds became a daily ritual, and though it was frustrating to see others living a happy life, I had nothing to do during breaks. On weekends I wouldn’t speak for all day long, and my lips would get glued to each other. I felt like I was swallowing my own self, had no one on my speed dial, my contacts had only 6 numbers. Now a days no one understands teenage stuff, and it’s worse in case of girls.
Freedom and privacy were two things I wanted on top of the rest. Everyone hates intrusions, and in case of introverts, it becomes worse. The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first. Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.
Slowly the bond between Ryan and me became stronger. We had become the best of friends, and I started telling him anything and everything. Sometimes people appear in your life unexpectedly like a gift from the Universe. You didn’t even know you needed them, or that you had called out silently to them. They appear when you needed them most, to lift you, educate you, wake you up, or shine a light on your path. They sprout the seed that was in you, and patiently watch that seed emerge from the soil. Sometimes it wears them out to water and fertilize you every single day as you grow. This is a delicate time, you as the plant, and they as the nurturer. You as the plant need them for your growth, and they as your nurturer, have to have the energy to believe in your growth. Then, one day you blossom, and awaken to the beauty around you and rejoice. The only thing you ask from them anymore, is to celebrate the flower they have brought to life, and to accept the riches you now will give to them. I was grateful that I could find someone like Ryan.
At home, I was not treated like a teenager. No phone calls, no social media and no hanging out with friends. I would often wonder, why ? I was scared someone would look into my chats anytime even if I talked to none. It felt like I was battling a phobia of building trust and speaking to people. You know what teenage life is like, right ? And while others found friendship in their parents, I didn’t. They’d often ask me to share stuff and open up, but I was hesitant and felt uncomfortable, because all these years, I’ve never felt like doing so. Certain things should be instilled before adolescence, so that it becomes a common thing later. My heart would feel heavy very often. Sometimes people don’t understand that you’re trying to be normal. They ask for change, but complain that you’re being different. My introvert nature stopped me from dates. When you enter teenage, friends become more important. But I had none.
One evening, “Mom, I’m going out.” It took me two hours to rehearse that one line and speak. “With whom, Rebe ?”, she asked in a firm voice. “Alone.” As if I socialise a lot and hang out often. “Be back in 30 minutes.” I expected this. In my sixteen years of existence, not once have I gone for a movie with friends, had a night call or chat or gone to a party. Atleast she didn’t ask where to. When I watch videos on YouTube, I’d hear, “Rebe, what are you watching ?”, as if I’m a kid who doesn’t know to differentiate between the good and the bad. Ninety seconds into a call with Ryan and they’d shout, “Speaking for a long time, Rebe, disconnect.” No other option. I’m fed up.
When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.-John Green
Most parents try really hard to give their kids the best possible life. They give them the best food and clothes they can afford, take their own kind of take on training kids to be honest and polite. But what they don’t realize is no matter how much they try, their kids will get out there. Out to this complicated little world. If they are lucky they will survive, through backstabbers, broken hearts, failures and all the kinds of invisible insane pressures out there. But most kids get lost in them. They will get caught up in all kinds of bubbles. Trouble bubbles. Bubbles that continuously tell them that they are not good enough. Bubbles that get them carried away with what they think is love, give them broken hearts. Bubbles that will blur the rest of the world to them, make them feel like that is it, that they’ve reached the end. Sometimes, even the really smart kids, make stupid decisions. They lose control.
Parents need to realize that the world is getting complicated every second of every day. With new problems, new diseases, new habits. They have to realize the vast probability of their kids being victims of this age, this complicated era. Your kids could be exposed to problems that no kind of therapy can help. Your kids could be brainwashed by themselves to believe in insane theories that drive them crazy. Most kids will go through this stage. The lucky ones will understand. They will grow out of them. The unlucky ones will live in these problems. Grow in them and never move forward. They will cut themselves, overdose on drugs, take up excessive drinking and smoking, for the slightest problems in their lives.You can’t blame these kids for not being thankful or satisfied with what they have. Their mentality eludes them from the reality.
Do you know that feeling? When everything you do seems like a struggle. Where you dont wanna leave the house because you know everyone is judging you. Where you cant even ask for directions in fear that they criticise you. Where everyone always seems to be picking out your flaws. That feeling where you feel so damn sick for no reason.
Do you know that feeling where you look in the mirror and completely hate what you see ?. When you grab handfuls and handfuls of fat and just want to cut it all off ? That feeling when you see other beautiful girls and just wish you looked like them ? When you compare yourself to everyone you meet? When you realise why no one ever showed interest in you? That feeling where you become so self conscious you dont even turn up at school? That feeling when you feel so disappointed in who you are and everything you have become. That feeling when every bite makes you wanna be sick. When hunger is more satisfying that food. The feeling of failure when you eat a meal.
Do you know that feeling when you cant run as far as your class. Fear knowing that everyone thinks of you as the”Unfit FAT BITCH” That feeling when you just wanna let it all out but you dont wanna look weak. The fear you have in class when you dont understand something but your too afraid to ask for help. The feeling of being to ashamed to stand up for yourself.
Do you know the feeling when your deepest fear becomes a reality. Fear that you will NEVER be good enough. When you feel as if you deserve all the pain you give yourself. When you finally understand why everyone hates you. FINALLY realising the harsh truth. Understanding that every cut, every burn, every bruise you have even given yourself, you deserved. In fact you deserved worse. That feeling when you believe you deserve constant and brutal pain.
Do you know what it feels like to just want to give up. When you just want all the pain to end but you want it to continue? Or am I just insane?