There are people who genuinely, truly like other people.
Me? I have grown to dislike most of them.
I have grown to detest the way their minds work, they way they judge people, rapidly, baselessly.
A bright blaze, sparks flying, smoke, and the burning sear of the brand. The brand, the label, that you are classified as , quick as a wink.
If your mind works in a different way from what is expected, you are labelled “dumb”.
If you are fatter than what society considers beautiful, you are labelled “obese”, have to endure nicknames like “elephant.”
It goes on. No matter what, no matter how hard you work, it is always those niggling flaws that are brought into sharp focus, dragged into the limelight to be ridiculed and booed until all you want to do in melt into the shadows that have crept into your soul.
The positive facets of your personality are never considered as much as the negative parts of you are. It is always the imperfections that are thrashed over, again and again, until you are ready to scream in frustration, tearing at your hair with wild, restless fingers. The rose crushed beyond recognition, bruised, trodden over until all that is left is blackened, tattered petals.
Criticism comes so easy, doesn’t it? Always at the tip of your tongue, ready to roll off at the slightest instance, the smallest provocation. We, as people, love to gloat over other people’s failings; letting barbed words fly, releasing them like bullets in the chinks in a person’s armour. Enjoy some twisted, warped satisfaction as the words lodge themselves firmly in a person’s insecurities, notice the pain bleeding into their eyes even as they try to laugh it off. Those insecurities. Those niggling doubts, never far from the surface. Needling away, slowly chipping away at the last vestiges of your confidence.
At times, it’s bearable, in the sense that it’s become part and parcel of your existence. The perennial questioning if you’ll ever be good enough. The countless times you realize you never, never ever will. The ceaseless, constant pain that brings; it becomes part of the daily routine.
At other times, it just swamps everything else, coming as a tidal wave of despair. The neverending poke, jab, needle, stab that the insecurities bring. And no matter how hard you try, you can never get out of that vicious cycle.
We don’t stop to think what effect our words could have on a person; for we do not know of sleepless nights spent writhing, agonizing over how we fall short, over all the insecurities that have been poked and prodded so much that they are raw, infected wounds, sickening your entire soul. We do not know of damp pillows and red eyes washed hastily so that no one notices. Of the constant feeling of not being enough, never being enough. Because even if you conquer one flaw, there’s always another one, a new one, that will be dragged out.