‘Who am I? Am I the girl caught in between realities playing at being myself?
Am I the girl who wades in vunerability, peeling back the layers of the real me?
Or am I nothing but a dream trapped in a living hell? I am the girl who defied expectations
to get where I am now, I am the woman who carries a mask because she is too scared of letting people in, I am the girl who is vunerable yet tough, a paradox of emotions, I am the girl laying awake at night,
The salted tears of a young lost girl trickle like a waterfall, red wounded eyes like a mask of pain,
Shuddering shoulders convulsing in agony, gaunt hollow cheeks a testament to her suffering,
She is shapeless, she is genderless, she is me.
What does the word identity mean to you? A throwaway term or a security blanket to feel like you belong? For me it is both; I am both owned by my identity but free at the same to be someone else for a day. Sometimes when I lay in bed at night I picture an alternative reality, when I am free from the hardships of my life and enter a new realm to discover what life is like outside of my bubble. Would I be popular, successful or discover something life affirming about who I am as a person? But then I snap back to the present and the anxiety kicks in… what if I am never good enough and no matter how hard I try I will always be second best? Because that is what it feels like, with friends I feel like the odd one out,
with family its the same and as for life? It seems that no matter what life is not determined to give me lemons, even for the purchase of my true identity. You see I have a confession to make, I am not who you think I am, I am not that confident girl laughing and joking that you see revelling in celebrations, I am nothing special without any makeup and I am desperately insecure, scared about the way others see me. I am constantly paranoid that a silence means that you don’t want to talk to me and that I have done something wrong and I am worried that the looks I get in the street are because of the way I look. It hurts.
I am self-destructive and my own worst critic, unable to see this ‘confident’ woman that others see before them because the thing is that is all a lie. I am vunerable, needy, emotional and afraid and as much as I try and masque my bad qualities this is who I am and there is not a lot I can do to change that. I can try and pretend that I am that this glitzy successful woman but im not. I am fatigued beyond repair and most days I don’t even have the energy to put on makeup because frankly I don’t care. Why do I have to pretend to be someone I am not when it is exhausting enough to keep hold of my own identity? I don’t need an alter ego I just need space to flourish and bloom in the awakening of spring. Your depressed they cry? Oh it’s just the weather! Your ill? Oh its just the weather? Stop blaming peoples problems on the weather and sit up and pay attention because one day you will regret ever ignoring them and dismissing their problems with a simple flick of the hand.
I can’t help but think that society pressurizes us into conforming to a certain identity because it fits their agenda to segregate us into niche groups. But what if we don’t want to conform? What if I we want to be free to be who we want and not be scared that we will not fit in? The concept of social pain is nothing new and for me it is a crippling anixiety. As much as I like being different I still want to fit in and I don’t. I don’t fit in because I won’t act the way they want me to act. I wont play dog and be submissive to their every beck and call. I have a mind of my own and I want to cherish that new found independence because for some that is not an option. When there is no free will how can we be free to be ourselves? How can we love who we are if society is judging us on the way we look?
Because who am I? Am I vunerable and afraid? Yes. Am I scared to be myself? Absolutely. But am I willing to give up who I am for the sake of temporary gratification? Not a chance, I am me and despite the bodies we are born into that does not make us vessels.
Photography- Jumanna Khanom
Boots- Lily Lulu