We all have fears. Some of our fears may be more superficial, while others have fears that reside deeper down. We fear things like darkness, dogs, monsters, physical pain and there are the deeper fears like the fear of being judged, pointed out, and made fun of and the worst- being left behind.
For a long time, Ayla felt fine. She was a bubbly, cheerful, enthusiastic person. She knew that. She was fine. She also knew that fine isn’t happy. Fine is being able to set everything aside and just being fine. She also had her fears. She was scared of bugs of all kinds! But she wasn’t somebody who was just skin deep. She went beyond what you saw of a person. The first look didn’t matter much to her, its everything after that did matter. Ayla was grateful for everything in her life. She loved being herself, yet part of her couldn’t help but wonder- what if? What if she didn’t get onto that bus that day? What if she said everything she had to him? What if she had told him about herself? What if she stayed? What if he didn’t leave? What if she accepted it? Ayla had a lot of what ifs in her life. Being stupid does that to you.
The next day at school she continued to be herself. She met her friends and everyone and she seemed fine. That’s the word everybody used to describe her fine. “Ayla? Oh that short girl from 10th? Yeah she’s fine!” or “Ayla? Nope sorry, never heard of her.” Fine. That’s all she thought she was ever going to be. The day was pretty uneventful. Her friends were being the goof offs they usually were and she as usual had a good time with them. She wasn’t unpopular. She was quite popular. She was known to be a fierce leader, with a voice. She was a supportive classmate and a frontrunner in all her classes. She was good looking as well, not that she thought so. She was a strong, fierce, iron willed individual. She knew she could be a sweetheart and a complete and utter dog. She chose the latter as a defense mechanism. To ward people of from finding the true girl that lived under. Nobody but her best friends knew this. Nobody knew of the person she hid every single day.
Her routine never changed. She would wake up, do all her stuff, have breakfast, and just before she left for her bus, she’d remind herself of why she had to be what she was. Being cold and stoned and mean to people drives them away without you hurting them. Sure, you may hurt in the process, but well, the only one who ever cares about you, is, well, you. Being alone is a choice she made. She was alone, not lonely. Lonely is when you want people to want you, alone is when you are the only person you need and want to please. Ayla was accepted, not for who she was, but who people thought she was.
Love was another attribute that she failed to understand. She didn’t know how someone could be fearless enough to bare their entire soul to somebody. How someone can accept somebody with all their faults, weaknesses, strengths and past. She didn’t know why somebody would do that for another person. What puzzled her the most was how they all felt centered and stable when the key to their happiness was in somebody else’s pocket. The whole idea just scared her. She wasn’t a prude who had never dated though, but she had never gone past a hug. She was 16 and untouched. She never did feel the fireworks and the amazing feelings of butterflies and all of that with anybody.
She was seen as a bubbly, happy, childlike and untroubled person. Everybody thought that they knew her. They thought she was okay. They thought she was not hurt. They believed she was happy.
What about how she felt? How she saw this? The constant criticism, the constant being told that she wasn’t good enough, even in jest. This got to her. She closed down completely. Ayla was slowly becoming numb. Being numb wasn’t comfortable. She felt things. She felt it so much that finally, she couldn’t feel anymore. She felt like floating away. Floating to a place where she would be accepted. Where her quirks and everything would be welcomed with open arms. Where people would hug her and tell her that she too was beautiful, she also was loved. Where she had people to fall back on. People she could joke with and still have them there the next day. Where she didn’t need to be different to be unique. Where she wasn’t judged for being scared and hurt. Where she didn’t have to hide being hurt, where she could just be hurt and not be fawned and fussed over. All she needed was somebody to be there to tell her she had to get back up when the situation arose. When she was at her worst, to tell her that she was the best for her.
Happiness is what we convince ourselves to believe to give ourselves a break from reality. A break from all the harsh and brutality around us all the time. A lie we all trick ourselves into believing we need to find. Love, acceptance and happiness. Finding one gives you the other two.
In the end, Ayla graduated, still, nobody knew. That was the end of her story. That’s all her classmates and friends ever knew. That’s all they knew. She didn’t hear from any of them after high school.
We often believe we know somebody, even when we know only one side of them. We think that people are always going to be around for us to get to know. We think that people will open up to us no matter what their fears are. We’re all stuck in a reverie that we all believe is reality. A reality where love and happiness exist the way we want them to. We believe we can be perfect. We believe we are strong enough to fall in love. Falling means there is an end and everything that falls, does not bounce back. We believe we can face heartbreak. We can’t. We are all scared of falling. Breaking. Losing.
They say it is all worth it in the end. Sometimes, I just want to forward to the end and see if it really was. If the pain, the sorrow, the tears were worth shedding at all. Whether all the judgment, the criticism, the hate was worth surviving. We all hold on tightly hoping that our miracle is around the corner. That the love of our life is waiting at the next right. That our best friend comes bursting in and hugs you and tells you that she is back. That you aren’t constantly left behind for somebody or something else. That somebody walks in to your life who makes you a priority in theirs. That you finally find somebody who tells you that you, to them, are the reason they smiled. That you find someone finally worth your tears, because he doesn’t make you cry .That you found somebody who was the reason you believed again. Your reason. That you find somebody who finally says that they are scared of losing you.