i’ve never been comfortable talking about myself. on the occasion that i do, my friends tell me it sounds like i were speaking of a distant relative instead, who’s died of substance overdose just yesterday.
i am shy. my professor once told me that if we stripped shyness off its sheepskin, we’d be left with a wolf with pride for claws. but she was wrong. because pride’s supposed to be a five-year old’s balloon tied tightly around your neck to keep your head held high, it’s not supposed to be a brick on your head and carried on your back, on your shoulders and definitely not on your heart. i think fear wears shyness like a bulletproof vest in a crowded hall. and you get shot in the chest anyway.
i use way too much contraction. most of the time i feel like i occupy too much space in the world that i feel the need to make myself smaller, make myself less of a hindrance. so that no one would notice me or look at me, force me to speak.
there was a time when i couldn’t even look at my reflection, whether it be in the bathroom or if i pass by quaint little shops uptown with the one-way mirror for walls, even in the puddles after the rain falls. because i believed there was something too hideous lurking there and i thought ignoring it would make it go away. i was wrong. and don’t you think there’s nothing better than admitting you were?
i worry a lot. i’ve read too many books growing up. i overthink. if i were meeting a friend at four in the afternoon and they’d not arrived yet, i’d imagine they’d been hit by a car. i could hear their bones crunching, feel the heat of their blood seeping into the concrete and one day a wildflower just might grow there, right in the middle of the street. or maybe they’d never meant to show up. maybe they’re being kidnapped right at that moment, and when no one hears their scream in the alleys, were they never really raped?
i am selfish. when a friend was ill and had to leave school to be treated, i worried more about being alone in a room full of strangers while we studied trigonometric functions as i tried to sink deeper into my seat so the teacher would have less of a chance of calling me, than her being alone in an air-conditioned room full of tubes while white coats studied her as she tried to keep her body from trembling. goosebumps tattoo her limbs. i need to feel safe. i have an irrational need to feel secure, otherwise i’d lose myself.
for some reason, my brain works best at night. it’s the time i feel most productive and willing to try anything at all. it’s when i write. it’s when i most feel like walking outside and i’d not mind the people looking at me because it’d be dark anyway. we’re all faceless. but i don’t, because i’m a girl. and they tell me it’s scary out there. i wait for the sun to rise.
the first time i wrote poetry for myself was in the form of a suicide note. and thank god for writing, because here i am still.