when you start to say ‘no’

It is difficult.

For far, far too long I have nodded, smiled, replied with a positive hum or obeyed blandly. The list goes on.

I am trapped by my obligement, by my demure and people-pleasing manner. I am fully aware it is ingrained into my nature, to avoid confrontation and to follow the simplest path that would include the least amount of stammering justification, muttered tangents of explanation from a small, unsure voice. I decided this option was superior to any other in the way that I was made ‘easy’ for people, that they would talk kindly of my agreeable and similar personality, that I would laugh at their meaningless humour and that’s why they kept me around or even spoke to me at all.

A bland, giggling creature with no particular opinions other than whatever the person they accompanied at that moment believed.

My life is guided by the stories of others, expelled from the books I read, the films I view, the voices I hear. I soak up their characters and their individual voices, views and opinions. I stare dumbly as they stand up for what they believe in.

They argue and debate and protest and disagree. They say no.

Their personalities burn brightly and they become all the more noticeable, it colours peoples’ perspective upon them and makes them immensely interesting. They converse with strangers and share their views and do not exist to please others. They are entirely their own person. It can make one somewhat bitter when a fictional character has a significantly more complex personality than they (a living person) does.

They don’t laugh to fill the silences that seep in between conversations. They do not smile when they do not have to, they do when they genuinely want to encourage someone or when they are happy.

I smile far too much to stay what I thought to be polite, but I found it to be dumbed down obedience. A 2-D personality plastered on cardboard designed only to keep the other person happy. No controversy, no disagreements, no colour. There is no spark behind my agreeable words.

Last Tuesday I disagreed with my music teacher.

My heart thumped and skipped and went cold as she blanched and turned away, before I smiled at myself in the mirror adjacent. Only because I wanted to.

Eilidh.

 

 

 

warped

To see your body, differently, in the way you experience it is disorientating at the least.

I walk through school hallways, my limbs feeling tangled and my arms absurdly long as I attempt to put one foot in front of the other in a clear, definitive manner. My thin hair feels like string and grease as it slides weightlessly yet heavily over my face despite having washed it the night before. My jaw is clenched and hands firmly remain in the pockets of a long grey coat that falls down to just upwards of the inside of my knees. My skin did not look too bad in the small mirror by my bedside that morning and my eyebrows appeared dark and obedient. My lips pink and my eyes massively circular.

I pass people of all different walks of life. Small and tall, pretty and plain, striking and strange, painted and pure. Ones that smell of cigarettes, deodorant, sweet perfume, sour perfume and chemicals. The thin girls with the good postures and the neatly tucked in shirts pass by, walking without staring at their feet and laughing even and open-mouthed amongst friends. I walk between many of my classes independently, none of my friends possessing an identical timetable of subjects, which gives me time to observe, to think, a paper-thin attempt to justify. I see them and I walk by and I know, they do not feel clumsy.

I am quite thin but I stand funny and feel heavy, with long arms and strangely circular, blue eyes. A small curved nose that is spherical at the end and an awkward walk, a puffed bottom lip and an even grin. Wrists with pointy bones, a fluffy uneven hairline, clumsy fumbling fingers.  I smell of nothing in particular but I feel slightly sweaty and unnerved. This was what I saw in the mirror, what I saw with my eyes and senses.

Through the eyes of my friends, their cameras and double mirrors I was told differently. I am thin and light with long arms and long, long legs. My eyes are blue and somewhat slanted above bruised bags, in the centre fits a small, arced nose. My walk is cautious and consistent of small, careful steps in big, heavy boots and I have pointy bones. Pointy bones in my wrists and collarbones and elbows and shoulder blades. My grin is crooked. I smell of something sweet but they don’t know what.

I do not feel like any of these things.

My mind tricks me and my frustration grows and my slanted eyes narrow and I do not know who I am.

A body dysphoria of everything from my manner to my walk, from my nose to my talk. I save every photo I infrequently appear in, I stare at them and try to figure out why I do not feel the way I look and I why I do not look the way I feel. The person I am stuck with the most fascinates me and disgusts me in equal measure.

A lock of thin hair slides across my shoulder, the picture shows my parting looking like a zig-zag instead of the neat, straight line I saw. My head is an odd shape. I thought I knew what category I belonged in, what league, what level. My eyes look like they are different sizes, my hands look smaller than I thought.

My warped vision looks away bemusedly after passing the thin girls in the hallway and guides its way through the weaving, chattering walks of life through the veil of circus mirrors. Never knowing, never understanding, never truly seeing.

Eilidh.

 

holidays

The occasional holidays throughout the school year are simultaneously a gift and a curse.

A break is always very much required, to be removed from the repetitive and somewhat pressurised environment and be left to one’s own devices. It reassures my introverted mind into a sense of temporary safety from the constant up-playing of personality; you see, a quiet demeanour, I was taught from a very young age, was a negative thing. If you were not confidant and sociable, extroverted and loud then you were not a successfully well-rounded person. As I have grown older, I have now seen this not to be the case however I am unable to break free from this fake mannerism, the flipped switch stuck. I am envious of those who have been able to maintain the solitary quietness, the kind where they look so sure and gently confidant in their silence.

However, aside from the positive effect a break brings, a brief period of isolation rings true.

I am not good at arranging things with friends, the first issue being my brain constantly second-guessing itself and whether my friends actually like me or not. The motivation to leave the house, a solid comfort-zone of mine, is not within reach. I barely possess said motivation for extremely important things such as revising for exams. The majority of my holidays have been spent inside the safety of my room, through no one’s fault but my own being and rubbish brain. Other than that, it has been walking through fields such as the one above with my earless dog and unknown music.

This sudden blog post arrives on the last day, the Sunday before the Monday. I am aware I am terrible with consistency in posting and I will try to improve, however the build-up towards prelims (mock exams) may prove challenging within my endeavour.

My work for school piles up rapidly through procrastination : I have art pieces that are disgustingly unrefined and of a bad quality that I wish to burn into ashes before my teacher even catches sight of them, unedited English portfolio pieces, unrevised  Philosophy and Biology notes and I haven’t touched a single History sheet since the Friday two weeks ago. I despise myself intensely. My violin is severely under-practised and I am dropping out a music group I was forced to be a part of which will only end in lecturing.

At the end of it all, I am taking control back over my life, in terms of interest and happiness, enjoyment and living.

Ever so slightly,

little by little,

Eilidh.

the room

A baby pink shell of crusted texture

surrounds thick, bobbed hair and a lilac shirt.

Books shelved misunderstood

in a loving manner.

A rustic bed post decorated with sticker,

the smell gently sweet and mild

from an encyclopedia within starfish hands

curiosity unquenched.

Sand. Paint. Clay.

They watch her laugh,

she does well at school and she doesn’t notice.

Childish laughter. A nosebleed on the carpet.

Lost teeth and dinosaurs.

The three wooden doors that she confused together.

 

The books make her smile again

from when the ignorance of people ushers tears.

She is liked, joyful and tolerant

between the baby pink walls, curtains and sheet.

Her hair strings the uniform

amongst the smell of her school.

Mythology and Morpurgo spurs her soul,

they take her away.

She writes often, to herself, to others, to the world.

To anyone willing to listen,

her eyes water and her heart pulls

when her brain works faster than her small hand.

The pencil rubs her pink fingers,

back turned to three tall doors.

 

The four walls are sexually pink,

offering black daisies

and a cold grandmother’s bed.

Lines of graves reside in the wind,

her mind watches them from the warmth

as her cries become scarce.

Her novels are desperate, sparser

she glimpses the mirror

and she reads faster.

Frustrated violin calls and numb fingertips.

Cheap perfumes linger,

sickly and discomforting

in a darkening air as her eyes redden.

Gods and Goddesses spit sparks,

she is unsure of her friends.

She curls up, alone,

inside the third wooden door.

 

Strands of hair soften her underfoot and clothing,

her skin is textured and raw.

She cannot look at herself,

she is scared of friends and does not read.

The system distracts her failing mind

and she cries,

the noise and blood falling from metallic lips.

A sickening confusion mists her every action.

The walls are white and suffocating

in a room she does not leave.

A tapestry hangs over envy,

she wants to write but chokes.

Dust over books,

smoke over mind.

Furniture is taller,

the people around her fall to pieces.

There is power in being alone

yet her tangled limbs are weak

and her thoughts are dead.

She is ignorant of her strength

and spits her feelings into two of the wooden doors.

 

Thin hair is pulled loosely to her head,

she hasn’t cried for a long time.

Art is stuck on every wall

and the shelves are stacked with books.

She writes words upon words,

natural,

beautiful.

A woven rug constellated with

red and freckles

rainbows and flecks.

Teeth of metal,

mind of steel.

She is wanted, she is invited

to places where people want her to be.

Doubt still remains

as a feeling not a control.

Lights adorn every surface,

the room glows and the air is warm.

A heavy, colourful duvet.

A cork board of memories to her right.

A trio of doors to her left.

class

The class is quiet.

I like quiet but I do not like these people, and I do not like the quiet of the people I dislike.

They’re sitting in front of me, three people bowed in irritating silence as their breath gasps quietly onto the faux wood, their pencils grazing the paper beneath them and the material of cheap hoodies scratching. In some ways I wish to become more tolerant of people, I become irritated at some very slight things and it greys my view of their character.

I see them in the hallway and I grimace.

I pretend to type up Art Critical notes as they complete what appears to be Maths. They keep looking up but they do not look at me. I am thankful for that. I am not an angry or easily unsettled person by any means, I act generally very civil and use my quiet nature I have possessed ever since primary school, to my advantage. One of them is writing viciously across her paper and she keeps looking up, I want her to stop. I am polite and I work moderately hard, I am not a noticeable personality. When I leave this school, no one will remember me. Half of my teachers barely know my name. I think I am ok with that.

I am unsure of the paintings I am studying for Art, they are abstract and messy, half-finished and scratchy. If I was to turn my portfolio containing such pieces to the exam board, it would most likely be batted back into my face, scratchiness and all. My teacher repeatedly knocks her jewellery against her desk, it jumps and chimes upon the surface. She shuffles paper now and asks someone at my table if they are alright. No one answers.

I have just come from a music lesson, in which I played my violin to a tedious piece in a tedious book. Repetition of bars, the clumsy movement of fingers, the rubbing of my pale hand up and down the fingerboard as I shift position. It is always the same. The constant anxiety of doing something wrong poisoning my chest, the same. My music lesson interrupted a quite uninteresting Human Biology lesson, a course I can see myself receiving a very unimpressive grade. However, it was revision, and I need as much revision as I can get.

The girl in front of me laughs into her breath in the quiet and whispers to someone else at my table, she is doing geography. She bites her nails, the sound of her mouth unpleasant and combs her fingers through her hair. I think she likes noise. As for me, you can barely hear my breath, silently inhaling and exhaling through my nose. My figure is straight and unmoved – the boy in front drums his fingers – and the only noise I let ring into the open air is the clicking of my keys as I type. I like quiet.

The grinding of chairs in the classroom below can be heard, the distant male voices travelling through the halls. The undefined thumping of feet everywhere, the class is finishing. I pretend to do work in the next tab one last time.

I save this post,

and I publish.

Eilidh.

 

Imperfect

Teen coming-of-age films are far too powerful in shaping how I feel my teenage years are supposed to be.

I have yet to feel completely carefree and happy around anybody at all, people in general make me uncomfortable. I do prefer my own company but to desire that all the time, would result only in loneliness and depression. Groups of teens together are never perfect as some films say them to be, no one gets on with everyone. In the midst of everybody laughing and drinking around me, I copy, yet I cannot shake the feeling of being completely and utterly out of place. I suppose that is how I always will be.

Complete comfort is not something I feel around others. I have yet to feel, within a friend group, pure happiness and a feeling of fitting in. And I am not even that strange, or awkward. I have grown quite successful at laughing encouragingly and being sure to crinkle my eyes when I do so, over half of the times when I laugh is to laugh alongside others or to fill an awkward silence. If I was not to laugh, people would think me rude or think I am merely a sullen, boring character. You have to keep laughing at their jokes, otherwise they realise what your face looks like.

I like laughing, it’s just difficult to find things that make it true.

I like comedians and their stand-up, comedy films, inside jokes with friends etc. I am going to see a comedian tonight in fact. Joe Lycett, I find similarities between him and I. A lingering awkward stance adorned with a curious flare, a staunch fear of confrontation in person and general struggler of life. I have followed his work for a while, I appreciate him for being there. Him in all his ‘painted nail, mad granny, eccentric artist’ glory. Maybe tonight will be a teen ‘coming-of-age’ moment, time will slow as an audience laughs in the empire theatre. A collection of people, different shapes and ages and lifes laughing in unison. A snapshot frame of momentary bliss. I will most likely write about this soon.

Maybe I will up to where he stands upon the stage, and smile, and garner an unknown confidence to live my life like a normal person. Without fear of people and the public and shops and restaurants and strangers and parties and living. I am aware that I am better than I was before, but it’s still not enough

Maybe one day I will be,

Eilidh.

Consistently Inconsistant

Well, it’s been a short while. I have a cold, one of those ones many get in between the transition between Summer and Autumn. The ones that are a nuisance and a depressing notion. Burning incense may or may not be wiping ash up my window, it smells of roses and smoke from what I can smell through my limited airways.

The new school year has properly started and I am anxious. Anxious because I have to start new things, that I have to ask new questions, that I have to take hold and guide my life down the correct pathway with my meagre knowledge. My anxiety is very much centred within my struggle to socialise: Social Anxiety. I attempted to pull all my courage together to attend a book club in a Waterstone’s in a close-by city; I had read the book thoroughly, I watched the newly released film and prepared. However, my effort was rendered unrequired as a friends’ birthday meal interrupted my plans, I decided I had better strengthen my friendships in my school in order to improve my fifth and sixth years there. I had an Italian meal and saw a film about a prehistoric shark, full of jumpscares. I did not jump nor scare once but laughed.

A Facebook notification, two weeks after, told me the book club would no longer run.

I hope to study English at University and in order to make up for requirement grades that I will most likely not receive, I have to show how much I like English to convince them. Merely reading books and writing short stories that I never show anyone apparently will not suffice. Thus resulting in my attempts to join a book club. And to start a blog, well, I’m here now aren’t I? I have still much to go, there are ‘to-be-confirmed’ writing classes on in the city theatre that I am still to look into, and a Creative Writing Group in my school that I will have to venture into alone as my friends are nowhere near interesting in writing through their lunchtime. I am scared, not of the group, but in general. In a very general way.

These things are new, these are things that I don’t know anyone else doing. It is as if I am paving a very extremely mundane path, hindered by insecurity and doubt. My specialities. I feel as though normal, everyday things effect me more than things that really should make me sob into my pillow, like friends with cancer and family members dying and suicide. I feel selfish but I am unsure how to stop. I recently submitted my creative piece for my English portfolio for fifth year, I love writing but I have no friends who are as equally enthused.

I suppose that is why I so willingly turned to blogging.

Maybe someone who reads this may reach out, may talk, discuss, debate. I have long since been yearning for someone with similar interest in the art of words and writing to reply. To respond. As well as someone who blogs similar content, I do often struggle with blogs and computers etc.

I also struggle with not talking like a robot online,

but please, talk to me,

Eilidh.