I looked in the mirror last night, and had one of those cliche moments that I mentioned a few days ago, that I loathe because of the cliche nature of the whole thing; I looked at myself, from my thick messy hair to my sunburnt shoulders, to my overly-large feet for my height, and realized whole-heartedly that I’ve turned into somene I never wanted to turn into, ever; I’ve turned into a spineless, gutless person who has forgotten somewhere along the way, how it feels to live for herself, and not by someone else’s actions and words all the time.

I can remember being headstrong in high school even, which is about the WORST time to be headstrong — wearing homemade skirts and a blue wig and knee socks just to prove my independence from “the crowd”; I didn’t care about anyone’s opinions – I cared about my own originality, and that carried on into first year, into second year even. Then something happened, and now I cower in fear, the power of words suddenly looming over me, to the point where I am totally, emphatically afraid of them.

You know when you’re on the playground and someone hurls and insult at you and you reply, “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me”? I’m the opposite; throw all the bricks you want; beat me up, bruise me, cut me to the quick, force blood to drip out of every single oraface. At this point, it will hurt less than other peoples’ words.

I don’t want to live in fear of people’s words anymore; if I keep doing that, I won’t be able to live my life; that crippling fear of words, of name-calling, of the unknown particulars of people – what will they say? What will they think? What will they do to me that will hurt me more than being physically pushed down into the pavement? – is forcing me away from my real life, my job, my relationships, my happiness, from pursuing my dreams, from TRYING.

I’ve become, in recent years, afraid to try. I’m afraid of trying to apply for grad school, afraid to send out works for potential publication, afraid to tell people how I feel, afraid to tell my mother certain truths about myself and my life, afraid to do something evne as simple as telling my roommate and sister to please, for the love of Jesus, squeeze the toothpaste tube from the BOTTOM, instead of from the middle! But… I can’t do that. Instead, I just sit there, afraid of people’s words, people’s reactions…

…afraid of people.

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