I grew up with this phrase hammered into me, ‘Children are seen, not heard.’
When i was younger and ‘did not know my place’, i always tried to interrupt adults speaking and even got slapped for it once, it seemed like i never learned; until that slap.
However, i realize my natural speaking pattern was not one that interrupted people talking; it was something developed as a ‘survival’ technique, if you will.
I had always been a quiet kid.
Then i realized somewhere along the line, if i was quiet, i would not get what i wanted (there are 4 of us siblings, and we fought over things like normal kids). i couldn’t just sit there like a doll, i had to talk to get the thing i wanted.
So i began to speak out and up. But i, not having much experience speaking (because i am originally quiet), spoke up at the wrong times. I had such bad timing, and always got reprimanded for it. But that didn’t stop me (oh, boy, i was on a roll), i just kept at it.
Until that slap; cause i interrupted my dad, with only one word: ‘But’.
After that, i became quiet. Even more quiet than i was before. I would only talk freely to my uncle David cause he is the nicest man, and he never once raised his voice at us kids or in any conversations with the adults. So i trusted he would not scold me.
Being quiet taught me many things, e.g.:
i learnt to observe human behavior, especially body language. Nervousness, irritation, annoyance, anger beneath the surface, etc. all the negative emotions were picked up first, because i had to watch out for them, because i would RUN as soon as i saw the tell-tale signs. Or if i couldn’t run, i would stop talking with whoever i was talking to, to not draw attention to myself, excuse myself and observe the person from afar. If it was at a dinner table and i could not get away from the person, i would make sure i was not doing things which annoyed that person.
Disclaimer: I don’t think i’m good at reading people though
i learnt to act. Act like the mask was my real face. Why? Because no one wanted to see my real emotions anyway, all they wanted; rather, all people want is for us to react in the way they expect us to react. And even when we don’t, they’ll still see it as that. Because people believe what they want to believe.
i learnt that everyone has a weakness. And i do admit to using it against them.
Lemme give you an example: i used to favourite my youngest sister among my sisters. And she had this friend who had just met me at the time in high school. My youngest sister would tell me things about her friend, H, about H’s family who, favourited H among her siblings. It was quite obvious that the dad favourited H, through the stories H told my sister, and that H’s eldest sister did not like the favouristism (who would? moving on..) Conclusion: H is very loved by her family and was not on good terms with her sister. So, one day when H was in the car with us on the way home (we gave her a lift) i started to be mean to my youngest sister. Really, really mean, until she almost cried, but she did not, cause H was in the car. I felt so SO bad. But anyway, i could tell H was really uncomfortable in the car and prolly felt bad for my sister. The next day, i saw H and my younger sister holding hands on the way to class after break time. They were smiling and laughing together. H saw me, and she prolly smiled insincerely towards me because of how bad i’d made her friend (my sister) feel the day before.
You see, my sister had told me about a week ago, before the mean incident that she was feeling left out of the clique of friends she had at school. She wasn’t petite like M&M, nor was she slim and sweet like K,H&S, or hot like Rachel. She was tall, for her age, average sized (No, she was not fat), and not mysterious like the other girls. (guys always like the mysterious ones?) Anyway. H & my sister weren’t that close before the mean incident. Honestly, which friend can ignore another friend who has been humiliated by their sibling, in front of them? Unless, of course, that friend isn’t a friend who cares. But, anyway, i totally made sure of that before i initiated H could catch a ride home with us that day.
i manipulate people unconsciously
i tell a lies like its the truth
i piss people off for the fun of it
i react in a way i think people want me to react
but, mostly, i do it in the name of love.
Does that make it right? NO
Do i care? YES..
..But, its hard (i know it sounds like an excuse..); trying to live ‘right’ after doing these things for so long, its like tearing off my own skin. Cause my mask became my skin, that’s why I don’t know if I will ever really find out who i am.
The question you need to ask yourself about me is..
Is the person i thought xxx is, really xxx? Or just someone she (i) wanted me(you) to See?
I know that there is at least one person in this world that i have shown my truest (iiiii think) self to.
You, Jean. ❤
*Edit: Another two are YL and Krys.