“I had a time when I thought…” she paused, mulling it over in her head. Like her thoughts were a red wine, testing and tasting before going ahead with a full glass.
“I had a time when I thought, I was going to be what everyone else wanted me to be.”
She scrunched up her face as soon as she realised what she had said.
“That was cliche as fuck, wasn’t it?”
“You know when you think that you have to be a certain way, act a certain way… talk, walk, dress, the way people around you need you to be?”
She asked it like a question, but I knew better. It wasn’t a question and she wasn’t done.
“But that’s the thing,” she sighed.
“They need you to be that way for them, so they can continue being the way they are, and treating you the way they do, so then they can blame you for it. And not everyone gets that, you know? Not everyone understands that.”
She put her face in her hands, rubbing all over – as if she were so tired of the world, as if she could be so tired already.
“Because people get this idea in their head. They get this idea of who you should be, and they get so confused when you don’t follow that path. That they paved. In their head.
“They’ll say things like, ‘when did you become this person?’.
They’ll say, ‘Don’t do this,’ and they’ll always give you a reason.
Always give you a reason.”
She says things twice, as if to make a point. As if I don’t hang off every word she says.
“They’ll put it with a ‘because’.
‘You shouldn’t do this, because you never used to do this.’
‘You shouldn’t do this, because so and so wouldn’t be happy with this.’
Or, god forbid,
‘You shouldn’t do this, because I wouldn’t look at you the same if you did.’
“Since when should someone be the same person at 23, that they were at 18? 20? Even 22 and a half? When did I become your puppet? Oh, fuck, that’s right! I didn’t!”
She lets out a giggle. She does that a lot. It’s like her body doesn’t yet know how to deal with all of this angst, so it bubbles up and comes out as a giggle.
“I got better the day I realised that I was not here to please anyone else but myself.”
She sat her head in her hand, and cocked it to the side, a small, satisfied smile playing on her lips.
“I got better the day I realised that I could cover myself in tattoos, shave all of my hair off, be as promiscuous as I want, or not at all promiscuous, laugh as fucking loud as I want and tell you all to get fucked, when I don’t want your presence anymore.
“When I realised I could swear as much as I bloody well want!” She exclaimed, like an over-excited child with the charm of a well-established woman.
“I got better the day I realised that my smile would always be this sweet, my eyes always this colour, my nose always this little, no matter who told me it was their favourite thing about me.
“I got better the day I realised that their favourite thing about me was always all mine, and I had it before, and I still have it after; after they decided that it wasn’t enough.
“Because there’s only one constant in my life, and that’s me. And one day I realised that sometimes people can’t control losing feelings for someone they used to feel the world for.
“That not only lovers will let you down, but friends, family, and even strangers will.
“But I can control the way I feel about myself.” She nodded, as if reassuring herself.
“There’s only one constant in my life.”