At nights, it is simply me, the darkness and the distant sounds of lives less alone than mine. I look through the window, down at the wedding procession that’s passing through the street below. I can imagine my neighbor grimacing at the sudden onslaught to our ears, and I prepare myself for the shrill cry of her infant, a child that could easily beat most of the world’s marching bands in her capacity to cause headaches. On cue, I hear her wail. Most people detest the disturbance to the peace, but I take my joy anyway I can get it, even if it is vicariously. I do not imagine I will ever be in the position of the bride in the street below, who has probably bought her groom at a very dear price. But it’s nice to see the color, the life, the vivacity of it all.
It starts to rain, and the wedding procession moves on quicker than I thought possible, leaving flower petals and discarded bits of colored paper as the only evidence of their passage. And I am alone again. I have a love-hate relationship with my state of being, my solitude. I wish I could be at peace, but it is too difficult to acknowledge my own friendless life, and it is not a feat I am capable of to bear peoples’ company for any extended period of time.
I check my phone again. It might as well be a wall decoration. No one is interested in me except my service provider. The baby has reduced its frantic cries to occasional whimpers, and I envy the child. It must be bliss to show what you feel, whenever you feel, without repercussions. It gets so much more complicated when you’re an adult. You are expected to hold everything within your own mind and body, from your misery to your hunger.
I cannot break down, because I suspect everyone else will be either too busy to put me back together, or have their hands full with their own lives. My soul is kept intact with sheer will and the childish hope that things will get better. Things do get better, I know that, but then they inevitably get worse too.
I don’t live in a thriving metropolis or a forward-minded haven for creative thinkers. I live in a country where people are hypocrites and sex is a taboo word. The expectations on women surpass the sky. It is expected that women should be able to be both sensual and sedate, both knowledgeable of the world and adherent to culture, both innocent and wise. Do you want a girl your mother approves of, or do you want one that can survive in this decade? I cannot break down in front of the people that will photograph the pieces and immortalize my failure. I cannot show my true self to people that do not know the meaning of self-awareness.
It’s not me that’s made myself this way. I want to jog in the mornings without wondering about what people will say or think. I want to say that I’m pro-choice without being labeled callous, because women are supposed to be nurturing. Yes, I’m female but I’m not soft. I like my hardness, I like that I’m thick-skinned and logical. And when I show weakness it is because I’m a person, not because I’m a girl. When I show strength, I am standing up for myself, not being a cold-hearted witch.
We spend all our lives trying to be complete. It’s harder when people try to take the things away you have worked so hard to call my own. My personality. My courage. My identity. Let me take my journey, uninterrupted.
People say women are complicated. As if belonging to the male gender makes you an open book. Yes, I am complicated and I am proud of that. I’m figuring out what I feel. That is something I can do on my own. I’m incomplete and I’m okay with that, because I’m gaining the pieces that I need to be whole, to be truly happy. People are complicated, all people, and when we bare our souls we’re all the same. Confusing, tangled, colorful messes in our minds that are beautiful none-the-less.