At times, I’m overcome by a weird feeling that leaves me anxious. My mind gets restless, I can’t focus on anything but the feeling of having to do something, anything, writing creating photographing whatever. Then I’m in a different sphere and even the presence of friends can hardly bring me back. There’s a wedge, and I’m happy about it, because it protects me from this silly feeling of being rejected. Come on, Monika, don’t be stupid, you knew they’d be busy, it’s not that they don’t care about you.
But suddenly I’m in my early teens again, experiencing the feeling that my close friends have better friends than me. I guess it’s always the same issue. I quickly grow fond of people, it’s so easy to fall in love with kind hearts. But often, people mean more to me than vice versa, so I always end up feeling rejected.
My mouth moves to form fake smiles. At the same time, I wish I could stop pretending. I want to talk to a familiar soul and cast out the loneliness in my heart.
What triggers this mess? The lack of sleep, combined with too much caffeine? It’s temporary, but it’s not supposed to be there at all. It’s the harmless first step of self-destruction. I feel like drinking more and more caffeine, just to see how it’ll mess with my mind. Because, at the end, all these emotions can be turned into something creative. I’ve missed them, they used to be so intense and inspiring. I don’t want to be engulfed by them again, but I need a taste, to remember. I don’t make sense, I know.
At the end, I flee, escaping into photography and creating.
after taking my self-portrait
I’ve been trying to keep my mouth shut about it, but I can’t remain silent anymore. I was supposed to go with my sister to her favourite band’s concert this evening. It was my present for her 18th birthday. But I’m not. Instead, I’m staying here at this hackaton (programming event for informatics students; I’m photographing). I decided against it, and the reason is breaking my heart.
After years of fights and silence, we’ve finally been getting along again. I was so damn optimistic, thought we’ve overcome our differences. For months, I had been looking forward to spending this evening with her.
But something happened and we are not going anywhere together.
(At this point, my eyes have started to get watery and I rushed to the bathroom in order to prevent the embarrassment of having a breakdown in a room full of people.)
I can’t believe what I am doing. Here I am, sitting on the floor of a restroom, door locked, crying my eyes out. I’ve only known these scenes from movies and used to think they weren’t only overly dramatic, but ridiculous as well. So what. the. hell.?
Sobs shake my body. Loneliness devours me. I’ve tried to avoid this issue for too long, playing it down, and now I’m getting the bill. I’m not supposed to be here. I’m supposed to be on the way to the concert with her, spending a fun night together, bonding. I don’t regret my decision – with a heavy heart, I told her to ask a friend – but it makes me so damn sad that I felt forced to do that.
While I’m sitting on the toilet floor, all miserable, tears streaming down my face and probably ruining my makeup, I have to think of my flatmate and the amazing bond he shares with his friends, so different from all the other guy-friendships I know. They’re all on the other side of the door separating me from the rest of the world, and I know that if one of them had a breakdown, they’d be there for each other, full of support and understanding. While I’m all alone, having only almost-friends around because our friendship needs more time. I’m craving for a comforting hug, but there is no-one I can ask without being super awkward. I’m alone.
(My best friend Crack, whom I hardly see, stayed at my place last night. I guess the void she’s leaving, knowing we won’t see each other anytime soon, has something to do with this engulfing loneliness as well.)
How the hell am I supposed to get out there again? I’d like to stay in the restroom, locked away. Photographers are supposed to be social, and here I am, weeping in the toilet, wondering what the hell is wrong with me. This is not supposed to happen. I’m good, I’m happy – and yet there is this overwhelming sadness in my heart.
After ten or fifteen minutes, when the worst is over, I force myself out and look into the mirror. The damage is not too bad. My makeup is waterproof, the eyelashes just stick together a bit and my eyes are only reddish. But it’s okay. I leave my sanctuary.
Avoiding eye contact, an arm defensively clutched around my torso, I flee into a deserted corner apart from the rest, pacing aimlessly. C (one of my flatmate’s best friends I’m familiar with, an almost-friend) notices me and approaches. I wonder if he’ll notice that I’ve been crying. “Du siehst auch fertig aus” [you also look done], he says, smiling sympathetically – feeling exhausted himself after days of organizing and hours of programming today.
My smile doesn’t fail me and my ‘social me’ kicks in.
Why am I pretending, I hate wearing masks, there are too many walls preventing us to connect and I want to tear them down, not strengthen them. But this time, I choose the easy way out and fake it. Nothing happened. I’m just tired.
But I don’t have the strength to continue playing this charade for too long. Avoiding eye contact and interactions with my (almost) friends that would force me to pretend, I retreat into an empty room while everyone else is having dinner. I write to process what has happened, chat with my love – and now I’m okay again. It’s time to deal with the long-term issue. But first, I’ll stop being awkward and return to my almost-friends who’ll hopefully turn into real friends in the course of time.
I smile, and this time, it’s real.
(This post is making me feel horribly naked, but well.)