What’s wrong with me? or What’s wrong with you?
I tried my best to fit in, to be part of the pack, but yet I rushed away. Am I not good enough or I just stand different? When I was getting older, I finally realized that being true of me is that I need. It’s so much funny to saw what you did. When I tried to be the same, you told me that I wasn’t myself, and when I accept myself as me then you said that I full of flaws. Too different, too freak, too oh too.
When the dawn got rid of the darkness, I decide that I would rather be thrown by society than can’t be the authentic me. I tired of this long battle. I let myself being trapped in the darkness when things keep failing. I was tired and forget on my own power. Everybody seems like walk so fast and I was slower than a sloth. People that used to be around and admire me with tons of praises start to leave me behind and build a higher tower than mine. I no longer sure about myself and what am I doing. I start to believe that people judgement about my unrealistic dreams, idealism, and perfectionism was right. I was messed up, shadowed by my high achieving past.
It’s so lonely and dry. Like a long summer in a tropical island. All positivity that I used to have was gone like a cotton candy and every time I have one, it feels so fragile that can be broken any time, and I’ll fell into a well of darkness once again. Dragged by the hand of time to the nostalgia of my old victory. I am not the same person I used to be and that fact was written as clear as crystal on my mind.
That night the rain unexpectedly poured the city like a tale I wish to happen long time ago. A tale that’s inspired by a story of him and his first love. I was so young and insecure when I met him 7 years ago. Ah, It’s been 7 years, seems like yesterday I told myself to become a braver woman if I turn 23, so then I can give him a proper goodbye.
In the middle of May, when the weather was getting warmer, I finally will meet him again. I was imagining that day scenario for a thousand times since I was graduated High school. I wonder, what would my heart feels once I met him again. I never ever feel anxious for anything, not when I was about have an important presentation, not when I was about to lead a huge international event, not even once. But, I wasn’t feeling good that night. A thousand questions came to my mind. Mainly wondering, what would he think when he met me again? Do I still look like a weirdo? Am I look fierce enough?
I spent all day long for asking all of my friends ‘what should I do?’ and most of them answer with ‘just be yourself!’ or ‘just be the usual Emma I always know.’
But, I can’t just be myself. All this situation with additional memories from the past make me can’t predict my own reaction when I meet him again. After all, he’s the one and only person had ever made my heart felt like a tinderbox.
Few hours later, there I was, ready on my best. ‘just be usual Emma!’ I said to myself. Except for extra skin care I did, basically I wore same style of cloth, a black turtleneck and a long denim jacket. It was a cold night and my outfit apparently made me warm and look cool at the same time.
Geo, his name is Geo. We’re supposed to meet at the street food stall area, but he came late. So I decided to buy him a coffee nearby. As I wait for him in the nearest park, the rain started to drops. Heal me with smell of petrichor and forced me to move into less romantic location and saved my-not-so-amazing outfit. An hour later he’s arrived.
A click that I was suspected to feel when I meet him, greet me in a second I recognized his appearance. As he’s walking closer and start to talk with a chill vibe like an old friend, the click disappeared. He’s getting old. The last time I met was when both of us on our 17 and now we’re a young adult who try to survive from reality of the world while kept our dream safe and sound.
We’re started our conversation by talking about ourselves and our daily life. The sky’s getting darker, and Geo was drawn into his own story about Clorox and other chemical substances that I couldn’t remember. Another time he would tell me about the farmers he’s working with and his job. Interesting, I said to myself. I kept my eyes on him while he’s talking, but I feel different. When we both young, I tend to listen and appreciate every single word come from his mouth. It’s so important for me and its powerful enough to give me questions that change my life. But, as I heard him talking that evening, I was lost interest. I felt sleepy but stand to paid attention to him. I was changed, I think.
The night was getting darker, and the conversation was getting deeper.
“I am sorry for obsessed with you when I was younger. I was just so young and didn’t know myself that much. My life was messier than today back then. I felt like I need a way to cope with it. Unluckily, it’s you. I was obsessed with you to save myself.” I said,
“You’re almost like a stalker. It’s creepy, you know” he said while chuckling and try to read me. I wonder, if he’s wondering my reaction or tried to not hurt me.
“Yeah I know, that’s why I feel bad about it. But thanks for always understand me and put up with it.” I do really feel grateful for whatever he did in the past. He was helped me to be me today.
“But, you indeed changed. You’re a bit messy back then. I mean, your appearance looked so dirty and messy, like you didn’t take a good care of yourself. Everybody at school was laughing at you, mocking you, and stuffs. I came today was to make sure that’s you’re fine and sorry if I have ever hurt you before, I always feel bad about it. You know, sometimes my word could be so harsh. It’s good to see you’re fine now.” His word took my attention for the first time, from whatever came out of his mouth that evening, it’s the one shock me out.
“Everybody at school, mocking me? What do you mean?” I asked,
“yeah, I mean, you know lah.” I can sense his confusion. I wonder why he feels confused. Is he doesn’t feel like to hurt me, or he doesn’t really know how to explain it. But, he stared at me, radiating his uncomfortably of the topic.
I still tried to ask more questions. I want a clarity. In the end, I feel empty. I didn’t know, how to described my feeling. I was feeling nothing. It’s like an emptiness inside me. I wonder, if my love to him was completely gone and he was no longer important for me or because I was completely numb inside. I was supposed to feel something at least. I dreamed this moment for very long time.
“I was wondering, if something would be different if the one I met when I was young is today you?” I smiled upon hearing his question,
“yes!” I said, I breath heavily and turned my head to him. Confidently I look deep into his eyes and said,
“if you met today me back to the day, you won’t able to attract me. I’ll see you just like other guy in class. Your presence won’t be so meaningful for me. You won’t able to witness the deep of my personality. Most importantly, there won’t be today me. what makes me today is my past.” We both are chuckling like a chick and their stupidity.
I look deep into his eyes as I soon release a word that haunted me for years.
“Alright, Goodbye then.” I shook his hand confidently and smile at him, wishing that he would remember the best of me from our last meeting. I felt like, there wouldn’t be a chance for us to meet again. I have no plan to attend any reunion or his wedding. And I will leave this city soon, I will let all old histories rest here.
After giving a farewell and “Goodbye” to him, also refused his offer to send me back home, I walked with no dare to look back. It’s his turn to look at my back. I was always and consistently stared at his back as he walked away in our young days. Now, it’s my turn to walk away.
The night was getting colder. I can feel the breeze of the wind were forced to run faster, burn my cheek mercilessly. The far I walk from him, the more it started to hit me, an uncomfortable feeling. I didn’t know what feeling is it, or how to describe it, it just hurt inside. That night I realized something, I was more bullied than I thought I was.
I was finally come back to my cozy room and soon as I place my butt off, I take my phone and updating my friends. “I was finally did it!” I said,
“As a usual Emma, I was able to feel as comfortable as always.” I added,
And all congratulations start to flows like a river of sin for the sinner. I end the conservation.
And I start the other one, a conversation with myself.
I put my head down to the floor and start to flood it with tears. It finally hits me.
His words before, my memories about the past, all bullies face and how did they bully me. All difficulties I never shared with anyone, most importantly his word about me that had been more bullied than I expected. At least all these years, I think it’s only my class that bully me, but tonight I just realized that I was bullied by whole school, and everybody knows that, except for me.
I feel so angry and pity with my old self.
‘Why do I let myself feel that?’
‘Why do I let myself face that?’
‘Why am I so powerless that time and just put it up in silence?’
I was so angry and devastated. My heart was burned to ashes. I was there, laying on the floor again, crying and messed. The ceiling looks so blurry as I asked those ‘Why’ to myself.
‘I should have protected myself faster” I said to myself,
At that point of time, after I feel better I start to organized my feeling. I asked all question to make it clearer. And I wrote it on my diary,
23 years old maybe a year, where I learn to see my life from different perspective. I see a fact that I never saw before.
Fact number One, ‘I was more bullied than I think I was. I met Geo again, and through our conversation I realized even Geo knew that I was bullied. And even worst! After met him and learned this fact, I am angry to myself. Why??? Why did I let myself pass through that alone?’
Fact number Two, ‘I was loved than I think I was. I always think that no one had ever loved that insecure girl, I feel lonely and lost, but I was wrong. Few days ago I saw my high school photo album and found my ex, which became my boyfriend back then because of my impulsivity. I never count him as someone that influenced me, I ever realized his existence until few days ago. I cried a lot when I saw his photo. I finally realized that he was the one crush on that insecure girl.
Life seems so different now, at some point indeed it still the same. I just feel braver, bolder, and crazier. Met Geo again, talked with him and listen to the story of my youth from his perspective really hits me differently.
All these years I always think that, it’s a love story, about me and my first love. But, it’s actually a story of myself. About my youth and me, a part of very long journey to find myself and be the authentic me. I was wrong, I am sorry.”
In a blink of eyes, my youth was dried. I was tired of getting old and forgotten that young girl in me. She must be waiting for such a long time, for me to wake up and realized that, ‘it’s all about us since the very beginning’. All the tales about young romance, hardships, pain, loneliness, thirst, and memories, it’s all for finding my authentic self and the brave to live with it.
My story with Geo and other stories stored as memories in a tomb of time I called past was designed to give me a clarity of my authentic self. I have no intention to be the same or different. I just tried my best to life as Emma.
I am not brave!
I am not strong!
I am not outstanding!
I am human with all flaws and emotions possible to experience.
I think I was lost myself, my reason, but as I keep walking, I found that, it’s me the one I’m looking for. And if society doesn’t feel I’m good enough, then I rather be unaccepted. Today and tomorrow will be like another day. I’ll face it with excitement. Because I have myself. I’ll be a best friend for myself, I’ll love myself, and I’ll protect myself. So, she won’t face the same pain she felt when she was 16.