It all begins with me…

I love myself, demand for everything, selfishly play, eat, sleep, cry, breaking things that displease me, loving those that entertain me, suckling hungrily at my mother’s nipple, sleeping with the freedom of oblivion. My world is all about me and I am in the eyes of my family and, more importantly, in my own eyes – the absolute best.

And then it changes…

Pushed into the world, interacting with others, I learn worry, I learn anxiety and shyness…I learn suppression.

I learn how to let my own thoughts about myself, my ideas, my opinions be influenced by that of others. I become insecure because I allow the pretended security of others to perturb me. What do they have that I don’t? Why am I different? There must be one ‘perfect’, one ‘best’ out of all of us…what is the criteria for being that? I begin to think relatively rather than simply about myself. I am now tied to the comparisons I make with others. I am now too enthralled, too entangled with people, unable to imagine being alone, being only by myself…

Suffocated, surrendering to silent subjugation, I become a product of society. I stop loving myself, demanding what I want, what I need…I stop playing wholeheartedly, I stop eating to my hearts content, I stop sleeping with peaceful carefreeness…I even stop crying openly, and instead resort to controlled concealment.

I live to chase after some unknown goal, unknown hope to become the best…but wasn’t I born the best anyway? What changed in the eyes that used to meet the mirror boldly? Each year the boldness faded a little…filled with doubt and scrutiny, the brown irises pooling with unknown tears.

Each year I became less of me and more of everyone around me, who crafted me, moulded me, trained me to fit a particular notion of beauty, intelligence and perfection. And towards the end of that long battle people call life, I looked back and wondered where I lost myself…in the charade of relationships, in the noise of laughter that dulled the inherent voice of need, masked the pain of my self-inflicted scars, and made me forget each time I tried to remember a distant past of self-love.

At the end of it all I realised that it had begun with me, once upon a time, but had ended with a shell of me, a puppet – representing the sacrifice I had made of myself for the sake of acceptance, when all I really had to do was accept myself.

At the end of it all, that little child perhaps knew how to live life better and more bravely than did the eloquent mature adult…

At the end of it all, I lost to them because I could not hold on to myself, and that is perhaps the biggest tragedy of it all.