Headphones

I was the angsty teenager in headphones. The black hoodie wearing, tattoo yearning girl with dark eyeliner and an air of moody misery. Sixteen years old and the world was against me.

Loud rock music blaring in my ears, adding fuel to my fragile emotions and intensifying my misery and self pity. I hid away in corners reading books and cycled for hours until my depressed feelings seeped into my aching muscles and I turned my depression into exercise.

Oh, poor, poor me, standing alone in the corridors, reading deeply in the library to avoid being seen with no friends.

One day a glamorous girl I was severely envious of came up to me in the library, in the spot where I always sat, reading a book.

‘Oh my God you’re such a loner!’ she said, her voice high and cheerful and her smile infectious. She nudged me.

‘Come hang out with me and the girls.’

I thought it was a pity ask. Our mums were friends.

‘No, it’s ok, I’m actually really into this book.’

Me with my oversized hoody and deeply emotional rock music. She tried several more times but I always thought it was her mother making her. Her mother knew nothing. I found this out years later.

I had no friends. For lack of trying, honestly. I lacked the try. I did not try. I expected them to come up to me and want to be my friend.

They did, as well. They actually did. They were curious, they asked me questions. I was shy. So I maintained a stony demeanour and answered shortly, avoiding eye contact and being blunt and dismissive.

Once a girl told me she felt I was ‘indifferent’. Like I thought I was above everybody else.

There was a boy in one of my classes who spent the whole lesson, every lesson, talking to me about everything he could think of. I enjoyed his chatter. I got first hand information on all the popular kids because he was down with the cool kids. In fact he was friends with everybody.

I was ‘indifferent’ to him too but he kept badgering me.

‘Why do you always sit alone in the library?’ he’d asked once, in between telling me about this girl he fancied like mad and who always sat next to me in Chemistry.

‘I like to,’ I told him, airily, ‘I don’t like you college lot. So I don’t wanna hang out with anybody.’

He laughed so loud that we both got told off and separated. Next class, he was at it again, asking me to talk to the girl he fancied for him. I didn’t. She didn’t like him, and had made that pretty clear to me many times beforehand, so I kept brushing him off.

We never hung out, despite his numerous invitations.

I never made friends there. Not real ones. I sat alone, and plugged my earphones in, and let the sad music wash me away to my own island of depression and misery, believing the world had given me a really bad deal and feeling dreary and lost because of it. I cried a lot at home, I told my mother I was miserable, and watched her heart ache for me because no mother wants to see their child struggle.

Sometimes those headphone days creep back on me, six years later. Making me feel lonely and depressed again. Reminding me of my sadness and my loss. Peering over my shoulder of a sunny day and stealing my joy, sucking it out of me until I am a melted heap on the floor. Self piteous idiot. Why should I let my own incompetence affect me now? I am not like I was then.

In hindsight, I should have gone with that girl. I should have asked those kids questions back. I should have sat with them when they called me. I should have made my own friends. I let fear rule me, you see.

I learnt something magnanimous from that experience. I learned that the world owes me nothing, it exists as it always has done and always will. It exists and it is up to me to get off my sorry, self piteous backside and explore it and take from it what is mine. The world will give me nothing. It has everything and it leaves it all there for us to take.

So, take! Take those damn headphones out with their manipulative music and clear your head and breath some fresh air and shake some hands. Smile a wide smile and ask people questions, and hell, bake them some cinnamon rolls. Indulge, enjoy, enter into other comfort zones, explore, learn, create! It’s up to you to make something of the world, because, as harsh as this sounds…

The world owes you nothing.

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Image source: Pinterest

On Suspicion and Trust

I don’t trust people because when I do make that mistake I am usually disappointed.

Maybe it is that I don’t know who to trust, and can’t suss out a person well enough before I make the mistake of trusting them. Or maybe it is just that I have not yet met a decent person who I can fully trust yet.

Once a personal secret exits my mouth, I know it is no longer in my hands. I have no control over the dung tornado that might take place and I cannot handle not being in control of my own personal business.

So I am suspicious of everybody and I trust a minuscule amount of people.

I don’t even trust certain young ladies who I have known for nigh on sixteen years now.

Also, side thought, wow. I can say I have known somebody for sixteen years. Can you believe that? It wasn’t so long ago that I myself had only been walking this planet for sixteen years. Where have six years gone!?

I am not sure why this is. I have certainly been betrayed in the past. I have moved around quite a lot and lived in three different countries because of my father’s line of work. Also I find it disconcerting when I have confided in somebody for them to constantly bring up my private business when they have no business doing that. It is ill mannered and downright rude. Also it makes me realise that they are petty people who cannot behave like adults even though they have been for quite some time.

Do you have problems trusting a lot of people?

My issue with trust has meant that I have more acquaintances than friends, because I am afraid of divulging too much information about myself. Also, in this city that I live in, news gets around surprisingly fast. The other day a stranger walked up to me and knew my name and asked me how did it feel to be married so young and was my marriage doing okay?

I didn’t know this busybody of a woman. Nor did I care to. Also I have been married two years now (almost three) and it is getting SO DAMN TIRING hearing people I don’t know very well asking the same old question over and over again.

‘How is married life?’

That question puts my teeth on edge and makes me want to scream. It makes me so irrationally angry!

‘Sorry, do I know you?’ I said to the lady, as politely as I could. Apparently her husband’s cousin works with me, and she used to be my mother in law’s neighbour. Well, I told her it was fine then excused myself and walked on.

You see? People are nosy and not to be trusted. I mean, if she knows me, could she not have introduced herself and spoken about something else? Also, I see her at work now and all she does is ask nosy questions about my marriage and when I am planning on having kids and whether or not I have had any problems yet.

Well. It is not all salt and vinegar. There are some very lovely, loyal, trustworthy people about who I can completely trust and who would never ever betray that trust. And they are certainly worth holding on to.

Oh, hello, stranger.

There is a woman next to me eating a tuna sandwich. Well, I think it is tuna. I can’t be too sure. You never can, with the wide variety of sandwich fillings these days. What happened to good old cheese and tomato? That washes down well with coffee.

This lady is sad, folks. Her face is flushed, and she pulls a tissue out of her coat pocket to wipe her eyes and nose. She also stares vacantly out the window for a while, and her shoulders slump as though the weight of the world is settled on them. She holds herself close to her heart, her knees inwards, her chest bent in on herself, as though she is curling up like a desert leaf to hold herself in and protect herself. Her posture suggests she might be nervous or uncomfortable.

She has a slim notebook in front of her. The cover is black, with green drawings all over it. She is left handed, and writes with her hand bent over her sentences. It is not a way I could envision writing. Her bag is purple, like space, dotted with stars. Her hair is shoulder length and curly, and she wears glasses.

Her eyes are sad, and I want to go and sit next to her and sprinkle some joy upon her day. But I don’t know how to. What would I say?

Hello, I noticed you look sad. Wanna talk about it?

Hi! I’m Lenora. I love your diary.

Oh, hello. Look at these pictures of cute squirrels I found on the internet.

Good afternoon. Do you think you could take a few moments to talk about our Literary Lord and Linguistic saviour John Ronald Reuel Tolkien?

Hi, I really like your hair.

Hello, ….

The possibilities are endless. But none sound remotely right.

Oh. She has put her coat on, and off she goes. Mayhaps she wrote all her sad thoughts in her diary, and now feels relieved to carry on with her day.

Perhaps she wasn’t sad at all, but had hay fever.

I wish I talked to her. I want to know what she has to say.

I don’t know how to talk to strangers though, without seeming like a creep, or uncommonly odd.

Well. Maybe next time.

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