I really don’t like confrontation or tension. I know some people live for it, they live for the drama, they live for the buzz, they relish in the discomfort of others. I am a big ball of nerves; everything and anything will unsettle me. I was knitting my way to nostalgia one evening and I just remembered all the times I could have royally turned all the way up but the little chicken that I was just wouldn’t rise to it. Here are two of those times.
It was Valentine’s Day season and I was around 14/15. That year, we had this secret admirer post box where everyone could write little love notes to someone they liked and on Valentine’s Day, the messages would be distributed accordingly. I wrote a note and thought nothing of it. However, the day before the letters were going to be handed out, there was a lot of murmuring whenever I was in a vicinity until finally, someone several school years below me came to tell me this girl in my class had gone into the box, found my letter and read it out to everyone who would lend an ear to hear. I remember feeling wonderment initially. I found it completely bizzare and somehow endearing but then humiliation took hold, I don’t know why. I shouldn’t have felt ashamed, he was going to find out eventually but maybe it was because the crucial element of secrecy had been totally violated and stomped on.
Well, I confronted the girl in question and she vehemently denied all the allegations, expectedly. She was the only one who could have done it because she was the only one who was around at the time of the crime who knew my handwriting, see? I left the situation but it still haunted me, I couldn’t be in the same room as her at the same time, I avoided eye contact with her, it was so hard for me to just ignore all the tension. It was thick and sticky, just hanging over our heads like a pail of honey. The boy in question didn’t even see the whole mess as a big deal, he just found it cute. It got to a point where I had a dream about it and it was such a messed up yet visually stunning dream and I remember it vividly: my tormentor and I were in this fenced-off patch of land surrounded by oak trees, the sky was clear and beautiful, it was dark, the leaves rustled, the stars were bright and there was a breeze in the air, it was just us. We started shouting at each other, incoherently at first then Jacob from Twilight style, we literally morphed into white horses. I’m not even shitting you, we literally transformed into stallions and we were neighing our asses off, hot air streaming, tails flaying, everything. She was about to charge at me and I galloped away into the distance. I woke up at that point and I just stared at the wall in my bedroom, telling myself that enough was enough. The next day, I walked up to her, looked her right in the eye and said, “look, it’s all trivial, can we just get over this and move on?” and we hugged it out.
My heart isn’t built to hold a grudge. Even if I haven’t done something wrong, the issue will still weigh down on me until I solve it. I’m becoming more resilient with age but back then, I couldn’t hack it as you will definitely be able to tell by this next occurrence.
Assembly time in boarding school was a mess. It was prayer chant after prayer chant, national anthems and pledges, some guy with the most awful moustache screaming at over 500 of us, all lined up just accepting our fate. This particular balls-less moment of mine happened days after my 12th birthday and menstruation was mother nature’s gift to me. I hadn’t worked out the kinks yet but I was in pain and there was no way I was going to stand all the way through the useless morning rituals whilst my uterus conspired against me. There was a policy, you see: if you were ill, you could sit down during assembly and the health prefect would come round to interrogate you. If your reason seemed legit, you could sit and be the envy of all the other poor souls who hopped from one foot to the other in agony. The health prefect that year was evil incarnate. She was like 6’3”; she carried around a bust that would have been so magical to lay my head on. She permanently scowled. She frightened me to no end. She made people cry; she spoke pidgin when she was lecturing the hell out of us juniors; she demanded to be called Senior *her name* and if you dared to omit the prefix, you were doomed. God, I have suffered in this life.
Anyway, my ass was firmly planted and I waited. She got to me, towering over me, peering down at me over her goliath chest and growled “what’s wrong with you?” I remember shrinking underneath her glare; I don’t think I could ever forget just how small I felt in that moment. I managed to say “I have period pains.” She leaned in even closer, turned her ear towards me and said “Eh?” and I repeated myself, a decibel louder. She gave me a cold look, eyed me up and down and asked how old I was. My brain to mouth pathway was well and truly frozen because before my body clock had time to reboot itself and consult my memory, I blurted out “11.” Without a second’s hesitation, she snapped her fingers, casually told me to “get up” and walked to the next victim. I was dumbfounded. I was utterly stupefied. I couldn’t believe I had just said that, I couldn’t believe I had forgotten my own age. With retrospect, I realise it wasn’t just I who had massively cocked up that whole moment, it was the godforsaken prefect too. How is she deciding girls who are below a certain age cannot have periods? What if I was genuinely 11, genuinely having a battle of worlds inside me? Every time I’ve replayed that moment in my head, I’ve always had myself tell the prefect to do one. I’ve always told her to get her facts straight and her life sorted out as she clearly doesn’t know shit. I’ve always had myself remain seated and dared her to move me. But alas, in that moment, 7 years ago, I just stared at the back of her mammoth-like body until she turned back to face me, screaming “are you deaf? I said get up.” And I walked to the back of the line, on the verge of tears, shame overwhelming me.
I’m really not here to be anyone’s enemy; I’m not here to make anyone’s life miserable. If I could make everyone happy, I would. I just want to sprinkle my fairy dust of love and life on us all. But let a bitch try me. I joke, please don’t try me.
Song of the Week
I can rap this whole thing, honestly. #Throwbackkk