Monday, 18 April 2011

Let's pretend she wasn't socially awkward and just strange as a kid

"Silence is golden" they tell her. She thought about this as she pounded the treadmill at the gym, and listened to the mechanical noise of the machine. If it's golden, then it's precious; really valuable.

But then they tell her "in this world, those who get the furthest are those who shout the loudest."

She couldn't shout, she didn't know how; it wasn't in her nature. What was she going to do?
She preferred her own company. It may sound strange but she liked to listen to the voice in her head, to day dream, to think things through.

At university, she would read the newspaper to avoid the awkard:
"Hello, how are you?" "good weekend?"
small-talk. These people would always tell her they were tired. Which made her feel tired too. And that wasn't a good thing. Then came the smartphone. She could connect to the wi-fi and tweet and facebook to her heart's content. That way, she wouldn't have to pretend to be texting someone, or ritually read through her folder named "saved texts."

She couldn't stay like this forever. Could she? :
How was she to raise her own children, or manage her own business?
The thing she hated the most was confrontation. If somebody did something that bothered her, she would sweep it under the rug, pretend like it never happened... anything, anything to avoid standing up for herself.

But she didn't like people. They were OK, but whenever they talked, their conversations were not stimulating or interesting. Was it the topic? Was it the people? or was it her? she couldn't figure it out. Whenever they talked she tried so hard to pay attention, to keep up:

"Concentrate, concentrate..!"

But however hard she tried, she inevitably switched off and began thinking of something else. More interesting things. She went where her mind took her, and she loved it.

BANG! "So what do YOU think about that , then?" 

They asked her something. Oh crap, she hadn't been listening, just nod and smile, agree with them..! Quickly! 

They all seemed to offload her problems on her. She didn't mind. She was a good listener, and sometimes gave them solutions. But she'd never divulge her own problems or secrets. It may have been an issue of trust.

"But you're just a private person" her Mother had told her once. Private. Hmm. She'd been used and abused too many times, told her deepest secrets and fears to the wrong people. Now she didn't know who to trust. Kept herself caged in so she wouldn't get hurt for the umpteenth time. Who had the key to her cage? She didn't know. Would she ever get out? That too, she didn't know. 

"Set me free why don't you, babe? Get out my life, why don't you, babe? Cos you don't really love me, no, you just keep me hanging on.."

But everyone had their best friends. Didn't they? Except for her. She didn't believe in best friends. She never did. She was never popular. She was popular however, online. She found solace in written words, since spoken words had failed her. She lacked the enthusiasm and expression in speech, but she found it in written words. The blank pages shared her problems, as she wrote or typed away. And her mind was free to spill the words out, letter by letter. She didn't have to worry about body language, intonation or feelings. Words were words. 

So she preferred online "chatting", since it was quicker and if something was awkward or didn't make sense, you could take your time to reply. Shame it wasn't like that in real life.

Is it something to do with her thyroid? She didn't know. But she was on the right medication... wasn't she? She had always been like this, though. In contrast her elder sister was very chatty, and always felt the need to be surrounded by friends and people. She needed to be the centre of attention. But, her, on the other hand, didn't mind disappearing un-noticed behind the shadows.
Was this to do with self-respect, or self-esteem? If so, she still lacked that. A lot. And she always had; it would depend on her weight. Or was it to do with self-belief? She never really believed in herself. She pushed herself, to her limits, was always very critical and didn't accept anything but the best from herself. Maybe she needed to sort that. But if she never pushed herself, she'd have never got this far in life. Would she?
She was always different, strange, and people didn't understand her. She always stood out, like a sore thumb, but she didn't mind, she learnt to embrace her individuality and accept herself for who she was.

“Islam initiated as something strange, and it will revert to its (old position) of being strange. So, glad tidings to the stranger!” [Muslim] 
But most of all, she felt as if she didn't understand herself. She didn't know herself. She was constantly changing and evolving, in terms of thought process, of states of mind. There was no consistency. She worried: if she couldn't understand herself, how were others supposed to understand her?

"See they can trigger me, but they'll never figure me out."

"I won't be misunderstood; it won't do me any good."

It was, alas, an endless enigma, that may or may not be solved.

But, for now, the struggle continues...


Sy's Prints said...

this is one of the most beautiful and moving posts I've ever read. You have a real talent for writing mashAllah, I can really relate to this too..Really amazing, thank you for sharing

BoogieMonsterMan said...

This post hit home... :)

Nas said...

This is one of my favourite posts. It is just so amazing, masha'Allah, and so human. I think everyone can relate to it in one way or another. People forget that sometimes the struggles within are as big as if not more than the struggles we face on externally.

Jazakallah for sharing such a beautiful piece of writing.


Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone above it is a wonderful post and writen really well, Mashallah. =0
I'm a quiet person as well, sadly. :D

[[[ x Smiley x ]]] said...

This is absolutely beautiful, I love the way you've written it.
There is something so profoundly deep and real about it all. Its like a battle going on in your head.
It can take a while to actually find yourself, be able to understand what you want etc, dont worry about it.
Chin up aye.
stay strong.

hijabi hippie hypo said...

Thanks for all the comments, glad you all liked it and can relate. I felt a bit vulnerable posting this since it exposed me, but you've all reminded me that I'm not the only one :)